Following the Swiss Railway. Politics of Land, Spatial Logics of Capital and State-driven Financialization Processes

Suter, Aline. Following the Swiss Railway. Politics of Land, Spatial Logics of Capital and State-driven Financialization Processes. 2021, Master Thesis, University of Basel, Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences.

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Official URL: https://edoc.unibas.ch/82946/

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This work “follows the Swiss Railway” through time and space to uncover relationships between infrastructure development, the politics of land, and processes of financial capitalism. Using postcolonial perspectives to understand the social effects of the railway expansion in nineteenth and twentieth century Switzerland creates the basis for analyzing the contemporary complicity of the SBB (company of the Swiss Federal Railway) in the financialization of real estate.
In understanding and disrupting processes of spatially constructed identities in relation to land and property, I question the approach of reusing land, expropriated initially for a governmental framework supporting the private railway companies, in a way to maximize the profit. Based on a general approach of questioning common discursive logics, I aim to highlight the connection between symbolic and material practices.
I combine conventional qualitative methods such as archival and interview work with more experimental methods such as ‘conceptual walks’ and critical mapping. I demonstrate how land is used as a financialized asset in the case of the Swiss railway and envision alternative modes of dealing with land. While I study the built environment across spatial and temporal scales, from the security designs of Europaallee and the iconography of SBB real estate visions to the railway network across Switzerland as a whole, themes such as the relationship between infrastructure development and new forms of financing or SBB’s land-banking practices over the centuries in and outside of Switzerland emerge.
Advisors:Cupers, Kenny
Committee Members:Nkula Wenz, Laura
Faculties and Departments:04 Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences > Departement Gesellschaftswissenschaften > Fachbereich Urban Studies > History and Theory of Architecture and Urbanism (Cupers)
UniBasel Contributors:Nkula Wenz, Laura
Item Type:Thesis
Thesis Subtype:Master Thesis
Thesis status:Complete
Last Modified:04 May 2021 04:31
Deposited On:03 May 2021 15:24

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