P114
Rescaling localities: place, culture and history in the neoliberal era

Convenors:
Alexandra Szőke
Ayse Yuksel
Location:
Block 1, Piso 0, Room 38
Session slots:
3

Short abstract:

With neoliberalism, localities are reinterpreted and reconfigured along particular cultural, natural and historical values, in a bid to attract investments, grants and tourists. These processes are often used by various groups to reinforce or reconstruct their relation to the place itself.

Long abstract:

During the past decades of late capitalism, the infusion of neoliberal logic into many spheres of life has crucially changed places, as well as people's relation to, and lives in, them. The rescaling state appears to play crucial roles in these processes, by construing particular areas within its boundaries as crucial development poles worthy of further investments and developments. Concurrently, state support is often decreasing and localities are left to compete for non-state resources. This often pushes cities, regions and villages to develop 'unique' local advantages in a bid to attract tourists, investment, new inhabitants or other resources. This response on the part of localities includes not only 'creative' solutions such as recasting themselves as centres of health, finance or culture but also 'sweeping' changes regarding the relation between place, memory and identity. It also creates opportunities for both various local groups and other actors, such as tourists, businessmen, NGOs and development agencies, to more actively participate in shaping local places and lives. How are such processes changing and reconfiguring places, such as declining rural areas, war-ridden regions and ex-industrial towns? What are the particular local processes through which certain historical events, cultural aspects, natural assets and local identities are construed as valuable? And how do these processes reconfigure the relation of people to their localities? This panel seeks papers that address such issues by relying on empirical research, or that discuss theoretical challenges to analyse these recent processes from an ethnographic angle.