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The European Capital of Culture (ECOC) is one of the longest running cultural initiatives of the EU. Annually, the EU designates one or more cities with this competed-for city brand for one year at a time. In various recent ECOCs, the management and organisation of the cultural events have caused tensions among the citizens on the decision-making processes, financing of the events, and the power over the use of the urban space. These tensions have also caused urban activism which manifests itself in various forums: in public discussions in the local media, in the Internet sites and blogs, and in the alternative events and activities organised by the citizens within the city space. This chapter investigates the tensions and contentions related to the ECOC designation of Turku (Finland) in 2011. These tensions and contentions are explored as a counter-discourse, which produced alternative meanings and representations of the urban space. Particularly important in the creation of the counter-discourse in Turku was the Internet and social media, which enabled creating and sharing alternative representations of the city and the formation of critical communalities. The chapter focuses on a local group of urban activists and their project ‘Turku - European Capital of Subculture 2011,’ in which the opposition towards the official ECOC designation was manifested both in occupying the city space and representing and interpreting it through texts, images, and videos online. With the methods of traditional and virtual ethnography, it aims to answer the following questions: How and why was the counter-discourse created in Turku; how was the city and its urban space represented in the counter-discourse; and what kinds of practices, ideologies, and power relations were related to the activists’ aims of creating space for the ‘free’ and ‘open’ culture?

In: Space and Place: Exploring Critical Issues

One of the main aims of the European Union has been to strengthen the unity of its member states in the areas of economics, trade and labour market. However, similar aims can also be found in the rhetoric of the EU cultural policy. The fundamental aim in the cultural policy of the EU is to emphasize the obvious cultural diversity of Europe, while looking for some underlying common elements which unify the various cultures in Europe. Through these common elements, the EU policy produces an imagined cultural community of Europe, which is ‘united in diversity’ as one of the slogans of the union states. This discourse characterizes various documents which are essential in the European cultural policy, such as the Treaty of Lisbon, the European Agenda for Culture and the EU’s decision on the European Capital of Culture program. On all levels of the EU’s cultural policy, the rhetoric of European cultural identity and its ‘unitedness in diversity’ is related with the ideas and practices of fostering common cultural heritage.

In: Multiculturalism: Critical and Inter-Disciplinary Perspectives

Mini-Europe – a theme park in Brussels morally supported by the European Commission and the European Parliament – consists of around 350 models of different buildings and heritage sites from all the member states of the EU. In addition the park includes an exhibition named the Spirit of Europe. This chapter explores how the European cultural identity is constructed and ‘sold’ in Mini- Europe, and how history, geography, and local and regional traditions are intertwined into a politics of cultural marking, an ideology of European integration and a creation of shared symbols. European cultural identity has often been generated through appeals to an ancient or classical past, which is produced by stressing certain themes or ‘parts’ of Europe. Representing these ‘parts’ as common European culture is a profoundly exclusive strategy; heritage of a particular temporal or spatial unit is narrated as shared by contemporary citizens in Europe. Mini-Europe can be interpreted as an indication of this kind of pan- Europeanist ideology. In addition, in Mini-Europe the European culture and identity is represented through signs, which do not refer to Europeanness as such, but function as signifiers of famous tourist attractions of particular member-states in the EU.

In: Identities in Transition

Recent ideas in urban planning, conceptualized e.g., as New Urbanism, emphasize the humane point of view of the city. The focus of these ideas is on the citizens and their experiences of feeling comfortable and at home in the urban space; people´s possibilities of spending leisure time in the city centre; and enabling the encounter of different people in the city space in order to bring the inner city to life. To revitalize the less used, unused, or decayed city spaces by using them as venues for diverse cultural activities is a part of these ideas. The means of urban regeneration often rely on ambitious and permanent transformations of the urban space, such as constructing cultural infrastructure and spectacular buildings for cultural or leisure use. However, one of the frequently used methods of urban regeneration today is the use of temporary architectural intervention into the city space: setting up non-permanent structures, constructions, or buildings for cultural or leisure use. This kind of ‘pop-up architecture’ may even be regarded as a category of ‘new genre public art’, because of its artistic, social, and communal emphases. One of the EU´s urban initiatives – the annual designation of the European Capital of Culture (ECOC) – encourages European cities to promote various forms of urban regeneration as a part of city development. The limited length of the designation (one year) has led the designated cities to implement and host various temporary architectural projects in which the city space is intervened through various tactics and to reach diverse goals. In the chapter, I will investigate the goals and tactics of temporary architectural projects in the recent ECOCs, and discuss how the architectural intervention in the urban space is aimed to work as a means of urban regeneration. The theoretical framework of the chapter relies on discussions in the fields of cultural policy research, urban studies, and visual culture studies.

In: Dialectics of Space and Place across Virtual and Corporeal Topographies

Since the birth of civilization, mathematics and arts have been essential instruments with which human beings have discerned, interpreted, and represented reality in an attempt to explain and control the world. Mathematics and art are conceptual and symbolic ‘languages’ that humans use to depict both their empirical perceptions and imaginings. The history of Western culture can be seen as a continuum of epistemological battles and alliances between two ways of describing the world: the cultural-emblematic and a mathematical-logical ethos. According to these conflicting views, the world has been grasped through explanations either cultural, and thus ‘particular’, or scientific, and thus ‘universal’. These two views have formed a dualistic scholarly context which prompted philosophers, artists, and scientists to discuss whether the world and its diverse phenomena can be explained and perceived either through the universal laws of mathematics or as culture-bound narrations and symbols. In essence, it was debated whether the world is best represented using the ‘language’ of mathematics or that of the arts. Following Foucault´s conceptualization, both the cultural-emblematic and the mathematical-logical ethos can be understood as two epistemes between which various issues, such as the nature of knowledge and the notions on reality, ‘truth’, and beauty, are intertwined and in which they are differently comprehended. Despite their differences, the epistemes share a common conceptual realm: some of the terms, words, and concepts are used in both. This common realm stems from the vocabulary of aesthetics. Mathematicians often refer to the aesthetic qualities of geometry, mathematical formulas, and scientific theories using the terms and expressions artists and art critics employ when they evaluate artistic objects and visualizations. The concept of beauty is discussed in the fields of both mathematics and arts - even though in a different sense. Based on a literature review, the chapter discusses how the notions on reality, ‘truth’, and beauty are intertwined in these two epistemes - and how the views are justified and argued for.

In: Cosmetic, Aesthetic, Prophetic: Beyond the Boundaries of Beauty

In recent decades global cultural flows and the movement of people within and across the borders of the EU have diversified Europe by increasing the inner pluralism of European societies. At the same time European societies have faced the rise of diverse nationalist and populist movements and political parties. These movements and parties have criticised the increasing diversity in Europe, finding faults especially in the EU integration process, current immigration policies, and the consequent development of multi- and intercultural societies. In current populist discourse, ‘borderlessness’ and the transformation of the current cultural, symbolic, and societal borders are often objected or perceived as a threat to the ‘right’ or traditional order. Europe is a profoundly flexible concept and, in Ernesto Laclau’s terms, a ‘floating signifier’ which can be given various meanings depending on the speaker’s political aims. In populist discourse, Europe as a cultural, political, economic, spatial, symbolic, and moral concept often comprises contradictory meanings. On the one hand, Europe can be perceived as a cultural and value-based community, which shares a common history, (Christian) heritage, and similar values and moral norms. In populist discourse, identification with Europe and the promotion of it as a cultural and value community is particularly pronounced when a threat towards ‘us’ is experienced as coming from outside the imagined European borders. On the other hand, Europe as a political project and the political and cultural integration in Europe can be articulated as a threat to national independence, identity, and cultural particularity. In my chapter, I will analyse the meaning-making of the idea of Europe and its flexibility in current populist political discourse in Finland. The empirical focus of the chapter is in the Finns Party and the political rhetoric found in its party newspaper.

In: Interdisciplinary Perspectives and Trajectories on Pluralism, Inclusion and Citizenship

Since 1985, the EU has designated cities as European Capitals of Culture (ECOC) for one year at a time. During the decades the designation has developed from short-term cultural festivals to year-long urban events which enables economic and social development along with the regeneration of the city space. Since 2009, the EU has annually designated at least two ECOCs - one in an old Member State and one in a country that has joined the Union after 2004. With this policy the EU started a process of cultural ‘Europeanisation’ of the new Member States. Various ECOCs have used the designation as a tool to revive the city space. The regenerated urban environment in the recently designated ECOCs in Central and Eastern European countries manifest the ideals of the current urban planning, urban design, and city development. One of the major components in these ideals is the humane point of view in the city; the transformations in the inner city space obey the planning principles conceptualised as New Urbanism. Examples of these principles include the rediscovery of the city centre and its activities, pedestrian-friendly urban design, diversity and openness of public space, urban aesthetics, quality of design, and sustainability and good quality of life as a base for urban planning. In this chapter I will investigate how the EU’s cultural policy and the ECOC designation in particular influences on the development and transformation of the city space in ECOCs in Central and Eastern European countries. The primary focus of the investigation is on Pécs - the ECOC of 2010 in Hungary.

In: Inculturalism: Meaning and Identity

The idea of a common European cultural heritage is frequently referred to in the political discourses and practices of the EU. The idea of a European cultural heritage elevates the ideas of ownership and inheritance beyond the local, regional, or national frameworks and transforms the heritage sites and objects into a ‘common good’ belonging to all Europeans and into a source of a common European cultural identity. Scholars have debated the possibility of a common European cultural heritage, and in case such could exist, what it could be grounded upon. Critical scholars have asked what might be the trans-border European dimension of heritage that goes beyond the mere sum of national, regional, or local icons, or questioned the possibility of common European heritage practices due to the lack of a singular European people. Some scholars have, however, found a possible common ground for a European cultural heritage for example in urbanity, European cities and their historical environment, and the styles and movements of art and architecture. Functions and uses of the idea of European cultural heritage and the contexts in which it becomes important and meaningful have changed over the course of time and are constantly transforming. The recent societal, political, and cultural changes in Europe have influenced the notions on heritage and made the concept of a common European cultural heritage more problematic. What is a European cultural heritage and how has it been approached in recent scholarly discussions? How can a European cultural heritage be made sense of in relation to the ideas of universalism, cosmopolitanism, particularism, transnationalism, translocalism, transculturalism, and pan-Europeanism? The paper aims to clarify the meanings of a European cultural heritage and critically discuss the problematic related to its foundations.

In: Bridging Differences: Understanding Cultural Interaction in Our Globalized World
Time and Transformation in Architecture, edited by Tuuli Lähdesmäki, approaches architecture and the built environment from an interdisciplinary point of view by emphasizing in its theoretical discussions and empirical analysis the dimensions of time, temporality, and transformation—and their relation to human experiences, behavior, and practices. The volume consists of seven chapters that explore the following questions: How do architectural ideas, ideals, and meanings emerge, develop, and transform? How is architecture manifested in relation to time, time-space, and the social dimensions it entails and produces? The volume provides both multifaceted theoretical discussions on time and temporality in architecture and empirical case studies around the globe in which these theories and conceptualizations are tested and explored.

Contributors are Eiman Ahmed Elwidaa, André van Graan, June Jordaan, Joongsub Kim, Tuuli Lähdesmäki, Assumpta Nnaggenda-Musana, Sanja Rodeš and Smaranda Spânu.
In: Time and Transformation in Architecture