My abstract got accepted to the 9th STS Italia Conference

My abstract, titled Assessment of the geostrategic position and use of the TEN_T and branch railway lines in Slovenia and its border regions, got accepted to the 9th STS Italia Conference. The theme of the conference is Interesting Worlds to come. Science & Technology Studies facing more-than-human challenges. The abstract I proposed is part the Panel 28: The politicization of infrastructures. European transformations in the name of geopolitics, security, and crisis; organised by Benedict Lang; Jan-Hendrik Passoth; Silvan Pollozek from the European University Frankfurt (Oder), Germany.

The conference is organised by the Italian Society of Science and Technology Studies, in collaboration with the Department of Philosophy and Communication and the Department of Political and Social Sciences of the University of Bologna. It will be held in Bologna on June 28th-30th 2023.

My abstract proposal:

Many transport policy experts would probably still argue that Slovenia has an excellent geostrategic position and that international transport—freight and passenger flows— in Central Europe and beyond cannot bypass Slovenia. But, as I wish to argue in this paper, new railway lines construction and their upgrades in previous decades and their current roll-out in Slovenia’s border regions more than enable the transport flows to bypass Slovenia.

To fully understand this current development, it is necessary to map not only all TEN_T railway corridors—core, extended core, and comprehensive—but also all branch and other functional and non-functional, possibly critical, railway lines in Slovenia and its cross-border regions in Italy, Austria, Hungary, and Croatia. Reflecting on the mapping of the use of the current railway lines, including the railway throughput capacity, railway electrification system or its absence, its inside-border, and cross-border passenger timetables, and the description of the formed actor-network associations, I will show how the geostrategic position of Slovenia has changed in recent decades and what the possible development in the next few years—taking into account new constructions and existing railway lines upgrade—are.

Slovenia and other EU countries are formally committed to the Paris Agreement that demands transport emissions—actant in the formed actor-network associations—to be reduced by 55 per cent by 2030 and by 90 per cent by 2050. I will show in the proposed paper that the planned roll-out of the railway construction and existing railway lines upgrade in Slovenia not only does not stand a chance to achieve the transport emissions reduction goals but also significantly reduces the much acclaimed geostrategic (transport) position of Slovenia and with it its carbon lock-in. Simultaneously, I will reflect on my own activist mission to re-construct the cross-border branch railway lines and how these railway lines are systematically silenced by state- and EU-sponsored studies.
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