Author:Ivana Suboticki (Norwegian Uni. for Science and Technology)
Paper short abstract:
This paper explores the contributions of STS, in particular an ANT approach with emphasis on acts of assembling, to the study of transportation systems in the Post-Socialist context based on findings from Belgrade.
Paper long abstract:
Reform processes facing former socialist regimes are often described as all-encompassing transitions, touching all spheres of political, economic and social life. Post-Socialist cities and their urban landscapes are no exception. They are viewed as sites of transition, where large-scale reforms are influencing both the materiality and organization of the city. Yet, the question of how these changes are enacted and accounted for through daily practices are often on the margins of inquiry. Structuralist approaches have dominated studies of reform, overlooking the heterogeneous hybrid of actors (human and non-human) and the ways in which they are co-produced in the shaping of cities. Therefore, this paper asks: What can an STS-inspired focus on actors and agency in governance and planning urban environments contribute of valuable insights for grasping post-socialist challenges of cities?
In order to open up the black box of the ¨Post-Socialist city', I study urban transportation systems by focusing on them as socio-technical assemblages, inquiring into assembling and re-assembling processes. My data consists of interviews with transport planners from different transport units in Belgrade, Serbia. Here, I explore who the main transitions actors are, and how they negotiate and account for changing priorities, knowledges and relations in their work. The paper concludes with some critical reflections on both the theoretical approach and the method used to study the post-socialist context of the city.
Urban STS and Post-Socialist Cities