This panel will explore the responses to the post-1989 transformation of European capitals, as well as recent responses to the financial crisis, by looking at how the symbolic power of cities experience the transformation of public spaces.
Just twenty years ago half of Europe hastily jumped from socialism towards capitalism. Reinforcing nationalism was one of the ways to overcome the transitional anxiety. The European version of cosmopolitan supra-national identity had and still has to compete with particular nationalist representations in the 'new' countries of a united Europe. As most revolutions happen in capital cities, we seek for ethnographic accounts, that reveal the discrepancy between the imposition of the governmental symbolic order in the public space of capital cities, and creation of everyday lived spaces. Considering the symbolic power that capitals pose, the transformations of the public space in these cities can reveal the aspirations of the political elites in these countries. This panel will explore the responses to the post-1989 transformation of European capitals, as well as recent responses to the financial crisis, and constant threat of recession and economic downfall. We are interested both in the nation-state abuse of the idea of capital cities, and the production of appropriate political subjects. Following this, we will look at the resistance produced by ordinary citizens, artists, and other actors who exercise their right to create a public space that is an inclusive open democratic space.