P076
Empowering the silenced memories: grassroots practices in urban revitalization politics

Convenors:
Katja Hrobat Virloget (University of Primorska)
Saša Poljak Istenič (ZRC SAZU)
Michèle Baussant (CNRS, LABEX Pasts in the Presents (UPO))
Location:
U6-41
Start time:
20 July, 2016 at 14:30
Session slots:
2

Short abstract:

We focus on abandoned urban places where the memories of marginal groups who identify with them remain mute due to the change of power relations. Is it possible to influence the revival of urban spaces by giving them the power to speak and by bringing together different memories on local heritage?

Long abstract:

Due to populations' transfers the countries of Eastern and Central Europe after WW II have been transformed on the principle of ethnic homogeneity. The groups which did not identify with the new nation/political system had to leave or became marginalized. A similar marginalization in former socialist European states was experienced half of the century later with the democratisation and the independence processes of the late 1980s and early 1990s. Since then urban centres have been facing a decentralisation and disintegration, a loss of central social functions, migration of population, disappearance or transformation of public spaces, and consequently of the city bustle. Socialist heritage, especially the former barracks, industrial plants, once a symbol of progress and working class have been left to decay. Among the most frequent reasons that such places stay empty is the fact that local population does not identify with them, as only those who are usually part of the minority and as a rule marginalised together with their memories, perceive them as heritage. The panel invites discussion on abandoned urban places (centres, quarters, brownfields etc.) where the presence of its former inhabitants cannot be directly perceived since their heritage is silenced within the hegemonic heritage discourse and subject to the processes of (non)heritagisation. We especially encourage presentation of practices where marginal groups gained power to be heard and, by bringing together different population groups with diverse memories and understandings of local heritage, succeeded to influence the revival of urban spaces.