This panel proposes to explore the construction of social imaginations in the context of the industrial town crisis. It aims to investigate the notion of imagination in the matter of art, culture and memory, through narratives, stereotypes, emblems, and so on.
The crisis of industrial capitalism and the rise of financial capitalism led to deep transformations in industrial cities. The framework of collective identities, largely based on industrial work and social classes solidarity, has been disorganized, as imagined communities (Anderson) which participate in urban society. Urban landscape is henceforth scattered with ruins of factories and warehouses. New collective values settle down, new styles appear in the treatment of architecture. Considering this context of the post-industrial town, our panel proposes to explore the construction of social imaginations expressing those transformations. It will also try to investigate the way symbols are used in the construction of social imagination in order to give rise to new meanings to the social life. In this panel, we'll focus on 1) the way societies invent collective images of themselves in order to understand what they are (Baczko) and in which direction they move 2) how changing local policies of economical, cultural and urban order affect actors' urban imagination 3) how stereotypes, emblems, etc. help structuring collective identities and thinking about alterities. These points can be studied through topics as the construction of the industrial memory and heritage, the artistic and cultural policies reusing the industrial heritage, the use and the appropriation by the actors of institutional urban policies.