Dismantling Extractivism in Smart Living : Radical approaches to sustainability transitions
Abstract: This thesis is an undisciplinary exploration of the expanding concept of extractivism that has shaped the social structures running in visible and invisible ways through our daily lives. This research work starts with a broad understanding of the histories of extractivism as an embedded practice that articulates modes of being in the world. To address extractivism is to navigate the colonial histories embedded in this concept, thus revealing untapped connections between colonial legacies and current social behaviors present in today’s society. As sustainability transitions studies advance on reframing methods to socio-technical systems, the significance of these ideas of extractivism becomes more urgent to examine at the city level. The appearance of programs that promise a higher quality of life, Smart Living use of ICT technologies and data as a resource, therefore raising questions on for who are these initiatives and for what purposes. The research reads, applies, and interacts with the apparatus that conforms sustainability transitions through a set of intersectional theories across a variety of points of design to demonstrate the complex interactions impacting the development of transitions. To answer these questions the study centers on the Smart City initiative in the city of Vienna, Austria, and explores the possibility of “radical” approaches that prioritize collaboration as a socializing experience challenging the current status quo and unveiling extractive practices embedded in them.
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