The Landscape of Gap Built Upon Environmental Subjects: A Case Study of Stuttgart 21, Germany

University essay from Lunds universitet/Humanekologi

Abstract: This research explores the project Stuttgart 21, which is going to reconstruct the main station of Stuttgart city and build new tunnels to connect the node with the high-speed line. This project has been triggering controversies over issues such as cost, risk, ecology, and public participation, and thus raised intense conflicts between supporters and opponents. Thus, this research aims to explore how both sides manage to claim their own legitimacy that can potentially stop or progress Stuttgart 21, and aims to outline how those actions of legitimacy claiming shape the landscape of gap. With materials from online news / forum / articles and the interviews conducted in field work, this research found that both sides – as environmental subjects – had their own interpretations of what proper actions should be, which were shaped and controlled under specific governmentality. In other words, governmentality served as the basis of legitimacy claiming. Without constructive discussions among the affected, all the actions of both sides seemed not to research the settlement but made the landscape of gap formidable. Moreover, the landscape of gap also exists within the cons side, which means the nature of decision making is complicated beyond the dichotomy based on pros and cons. With the findings and discussions, the research hopes that Stuttgart 21 can serve as the exemplification that will contribute to reaching legitimate and accountable decision making in the future.

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