Accepted paper:

Urban imaginaries and traditions of resistance

Author:

Elena Dingersen (Technical University Darmstadt)

Paper short abstract:

The career of the urban myths of Dresden and St. Petersburg, that had been staged for centuries as royal seats, later as a platform for socialistic modernity and afterwards as cities of ‚decolonized postsocialist identity‘, is an impressive example of narratives and practicies of resistance.

Paper long abstract:

The crucial role of urban imaginaries for the legitimizing different vision of the past and therefore of the present and future can be seen at the biographies and the visual metamorphosis of different postsocialistic cities independently on its national belonging. The career of the urban myths of the two fascinating cities Dresden and St. Petersburg, that had been staged for centuries as royal seats, later as a platform for socialistic modernity and afterwards as cities of ‚decolonized postsocialist identity', is an impressive example of it. Symbolic resistance practices of the preservationists while struggling with the autorities for reconstruction of the "old Dresden" after the war or preservation of the "old Petersburg" in the 1980s drew upon the narratives of the cultural heritage of the cities. The myths contested urban spaces and showed oppositional identities of the citizens. Being no longer marginalized, the myths as well as the narrative of the "European city" experienced a great revival in the 1990s. Nevertheless their symbolic power, the resistance traditions of the preservationists are still in use today, fighting against such neoliberal phenomena as ubiquitous city marketing and ‚investor's right to the city'.

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Forms of memory transitions: processes and possible outcomes