Governing the future of a shrinking city: Hoyerswerda, East Germany

GRIBAT, Nina (2010). Governing the future of a shrinking city: Hoyerswerda, East Germany. Doctoral, Sheffield Hallam University.

PDF (Author supplied)
GRIBAT.pdf - Accepted Version
All rights reserved.

Download (6MB) | Preview
PDF (Version of Record)
10697030.pdf - Accepted Version
All rights reserved.

Download (14MB) | Preview


The notion of ‘shrinking cities’ emerged in the context of population loss and economic decline in East Germany around the turn of the 21st century. Different practices, policies, academic research and public debates developed, which were mainly concerned with how to deal with this problem. However, the emergence of shrinkage as an urban problem in Germany and what it entails have so far rarely been examined. This includes the starting points and assumptions on which different approaches to shrinkage are based. In employing Foucault’s notion of problematisation in a research perspective of governmentality, this thesis argues that taken-for-granted practices and rationalities of governing shrinkage can be decentred and attention can be drawn to the contingencies of practices, rationalities and techniques which emerged in relation to shrinking cities. A particular focus on conflicts and contestations shows the extent to which practices and assumptions are contested or not. Fieldwork was undertaken in the city of Hoyerswerda in Saxony, once the booming Second Socialist City of the GDR, which has lost almost half its inhabitants since German Unity in 1990. The empirical material gathered comprises semi-structured interviews and a diverse set of documents. The main analytical focus was on how spaces, times, subjectivities and subjects were problematised in the future discourses and practices in Hoyerswerda and on the issues around which conflicts, contestations and counter-conducts emerged. The research found a unanimous agreement in the examined shrinkage discourses that a difference can be made locally if shrinkage is governed properly. The differences of opinion and the conflicts over policies centre around rationalities, practices and techniques of how to govern shrinkage and which spaces, times and subjectivities are considered beneficial or detrimental to the future. The main conflict in the government of shrinkage in Hoyerswerda concerns the question of how to deal with the city’s GDR past: which historical and spatial continuities to avoid or to foster and the subjectivities associated with these spaces and times.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Thesis advisor - Patterson, Alan [0000-0002-9302-5789]
Thesis advisor - Huxley, Margo
Research Institute, Centre or Group - Does NOT include content added after October 2018: Sheffield Hallam Doctoral Theses
Depositing User: Helen Garner
Date Deposited: 09 May 2013 14:37
Last Modified: 03 May 2023 02:03

Actions (login required)

View Item View Item


Downloads per month over past year

View more statistics