Mobility for traineeships: Susanne Hirschman from TUM (Germany) is doing research on the remunicipalisation of water in Barcelona

Susanne Hirschmann

Master Student

Technische Universität München (TUM)


Proyecto: The remunicipalisation of water in the metropolitan area of Barcelona

Inicio estancia: 1/10/2018

Fin estancia: 31/1/2019

Susanne conducts a research project on the remunicipalisation process of water supply in the metropolitan area of Barcelona. Her focus lies on how different actors frame responsibilities for water and it’s infrastructure, and the public participation process that goes along with the remunicipalisation. Social movements like Aigua es Vida and political parties such as the CUP or Barcelona En Comú, among others, campaign in order to remunicipalise Barcelona’s water management. This service has been in hands of the private company Aigües de Barcelona (AGBAR) for over 150 years. Their main claim is that water is a human right and a common good. For this reason, it has to be managed by public entities, reinforcing democracy and public participation. These movements do not only question the very technical issue of water supply, infrastructure and quality management, they strive for democracy and public ownership. By looking at the case of Barcelona with the perspective of STS, the deep relation between water and humans gets visible and underlines the need for taking into account the way of how water is governed. Susanne Hirschmann uses the case study of Barcelona in order to uncover how the materiality of water and its infrastructure shape ideas of participation, democratization and common goods in Barcelona.

Susanne Hirschmann studies at the masters programme RESET (Responsibility in Science, Engineering and Technology) at the Technical University of Munich. This master’s programme is located at the MCTS (Munich Center for Science and Technology Studies) one of the most prominent centers of Science and Technology Studies (STS) in Germany. The focus of the interdisciplinary master’s programme lies on the interplay of society and technology as well as on aspects of responsibility and public participation regarding (emerging) technologies. She did her bachelors programme in Energy, Building Services and Environmental Engineering at the University for Applied Sciences in Leipzig where she focused on renewable energies and infrastructures. Her bachelor’s thesis is about different models for self-consumption of solar energy. She also takes into account the decentralized generation of energy as a mean of democratizing the energy sector.