Universität Wien FIND

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233041 SE Cities - Planning - Infrastructure (2019W)

An STS Perspective

5.00 ECTS (2.00 SWS), SPL 23 - Soziologie
Continuous assessment of course work


Note: The time of your registration within the registration period has no effect on the allocation of places (no first come, first serve).


max. 25 participants
Language: English


Classes (iCal) - next class is marked with N

The course features two excursions:
Tuesday 08. October 10-12h: Invisible Infrastructures: The Metro Control Center Erdberg
Friday 11. October 10-12h: Urban Nature: Vienna Water ("Wasserturm")
Attendance is compulsory.

Tuesday 01.10. 12:30 - 13:30 Seminarraum STS, NIG Universitätsstraße 7/Stg. II/6. Stock, 1010 Wien (Kickoff Class)
Thursday 03.10. 12:00 - 14:00 Seminarraum STS, NIG Universitätsstraße 7/Stg. II/6. Stock, 1010 Wien
Friday 04.10. 12:00 - 14:00 Seminarraum STS, NIG Universitätsstraße 7/Stg. II/6. Stock, 1010 Wien
Monday 07.10. 16:45 - 18:45 Seminarraum STS, NIG Universitätsstraße 7/Stg. II/6. Stock, 1010 Wien
Thursday 10.10. 12:00 - 14:00 Seminarraum STS, NIG Universitätsstraße 7/Stg. II/6. Stock, 1010 Wien
Monday 14.10. 16:30 - 18:30 Seminarraum STS, NIG Universitätsstraße 7/Stg. II/6. Stock, 1010 Wien
Wednesday 16.10. 14:45 - 16:45 Seminarraum STS, NIG Universitätsstraße 7/Stg. II/6. Stock, 1010 Wien
Friday 18.10. 09:45 - 13:45 Seminarraum STS, NIG Universitätsstraße 7/Stg. II/6. Stock, 1010 Wien


Aims, contents and method of the course

STS scholars have shown an increased interest in fields outside their original focus of knowledge cultures in science and technology and their implications. These fields consist of aspects as diverse as care, disasters, financial markets, buildings and arts studios as well as it will be the focus of this seminar; cities, urban planning and infrastructures. From a social scientific perspective, particularly geographers and sociologists have studied cities and their making, mainly in relation to power structures and social phenomena in the city, like capitalism, colonialism, poverty, gentrification, social segregation and social environments.

The focus of an STS - or as we call it here - a relational perspective, is more related to the question: ‘How is a city understood, made and enacted within specific socio-material environments?’ ‘How is urban planning performed and which artefacts, agency and practices are involved? How is infrastructure made and what does it mean in ontological terms?’ ’For such analyses, STS-approaches, like SCOT, co-production and particularly ANT have gained an increased meaning. Or, in other words, this relational or socio-material understanding of a city and its infrastructure as an artefact, a network or as urban assemblages, has led to an interest in the ways, associations between actors, artefacts, space, practices and agency in its making are formed, negotiated and stabilised through diverse and situated practices.

This course aims at providing students with insights into the multifaceted aspects that make a city. Students will learn to use an STS perspective on studying urbanity, urban infrastructures and planning. They will apply approaches, such as SCOT, co-production and ANT to specific urban questions. In particular, we will discuss key concepts in urban STS, like the social construction of urban territories, obduracy, ontology of infrastructures, as well as such that interpret cities through networks, spaces, practices and assemblages. We will have a particular look such novel concepts, like splintering urbanism, urban assemblages, cosmopolitics and relational planning as well as at debates that have emerged around them.

Methods of the course consist of class discussions, individual reading responses and two excursions to specific sites in the city of Vienna. Students will also write and document blog posts on the excursions and present them in the last session.

Assessment and permitted materials

o pass the seminar, students are expected to complete the following tasks:
- Read the required literature and hand in reading responses: For each session, every student has to hand in a reading response of 1-2 pages that engages with the required reading(s) and the posed questions. These contributions should compare and critically reflect the readings and consist of an own position of the student towards the author’s main arguments. These reading responses should facilitate discussion during the sessions. Reading responses are to be uploaded on Moodle no later than noon, the day before each session.
- Give a presentation of literature summaries: Each session, 3-5 students will be required to start the class discussion by briefly (5-8 minutes) summarizing the main arguments of the required readings.
- Write blog posts on excursions: Each student will be required to write and document a blog post on each excursion by briefly relating the insights from the excursion with the discussed literature. The blog posts consist of 1-2 pages including pictures and need to be uploaded by xx (first excursion) and xx (second excursion).
- Individual presentation of your blog posts on the excursion in the last session: The presentations last a maximum of 10 minutes per student and need to be uploaded by xx noon.
- Participate actively in the discussions of all sessions.
- Adhere to the general standards of good academic practice.

This course uses the plagiarism-detection service Turnitin for larger assignments.

Minimum requirements and assessment criteria

The grading of the course is based on the separate assessment of different tasks on a scale of 1-5.

Reading responses: 30%, assessed individually, feedback on request;
Presentations of literature summary: 20%, assessed as group work,
feedback by lecturer in class;
Blog posts and presentation: 30%, assessed individually, feedback on request;
Active participation: 20%, assessed individually, feedback on request;

Minimum requirements
To successfully complete the course, a weighted average of at least 4,5 is required. Failure to meet the
attendance regulations, to deliver course assignments on time or to adhere to standards of academic
work may also be considered in the course assessment.

Excellent (1)
Good (2)
Satisfactory (3)
Sufficient (4)
Unsatisfactory (5) (fail)

Examination topics

Reading list

Association in the course directory

Last modified: Mo 07.09.2020 15:21