Last trams of post-Soviet cities: How narratives of trams closures shape activists’ political engagement

Freitag (22. September 2023), 16:30–18:00
HZ 11
Wladimir Sgibnev (Leibniz-Institut für Länderkunde (IfL))
Lela Rekhviashvili (Leibniz-Institut für Länderkunde (IfL))
Accounts of closure, decline and abandonment are shaped by powerful narratives about progress and modernity. They are key to understanding policies and positionalities in mobility futures debates and sector reforms.
Mobilität, Stilllegungen, Zukunft, Positionalität


In this lightning talk we discuss how activists’ and enthusiasts’ commemoration of past public transport closures in former Soviet cities has shaped discourses of mobility futures. Accounts of closure, decline and abandonment are intertwined with actors’ positioning and propositions about public transport politics. Drawing from literature on the coloniality of infrastructures, we suggest that narratives about transport infrastructures are shaped by powerful narratives about progress and modernity: such narratives have the potential to blind actors to mobility justice-related considerations. Contributing further to this literature, we argue that the hands-on engagement of transport enthusiasts and activists with public transport reforms opens up space to critically re-evaluate meta-narratives on modernity and development, leading actors to elaborate own socio-spatially sensitive and critical approaches to mobility justice and the governance of mobility futures.