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Accepted Paper:

Becoming a European Capital of Culture: Public Policies in the City of Rijeka  
Nevena Škrbić Alempijević (University of Zagreb)

Paper short abstract:

The author analyses how different public policy frameworks – the City, State and the European Union – envision urban futures and direct city-making processes. The focus in on the Croatian harbour city of Rijeka, defined as a European Capital of Culture in 2020.

Paper long abstract:

The paper shows how different public policy frameworks – the City, the State and the European Union – work together, negotiate their directions and, in some cases, collide while transforming a city into a European Capital of Culture (ECC). The focus is on city-making processes and the imagining of urban futures triggered by the ECC 2020 initiative in the Croatian harbour city of Rijeka. The author analyses how diverse levels of public strategies and policies define and activate projects of urban regeneration and cultural diversity, while simultaneously promoting the politics of urban difference. Those mechanisms are observed in the context of pandemic measures that had a strong impact on the organization of the Rijeka 2020 programme. The author also discusses the role of the Mediterranean in recreating the city along the lines of “the Port of Diversity”. That concept encompasses evocations of the Mediterranean use of open public space and of the Mediterranean – dynamic and cosmopolite – lifestyle.

The emphasis is placed on ways in which citizens of Rijeka experience, affirm or challenge strategic interventions in their hometown. The aim is to present how the ECC project comes to life in their narratives and practices. Special attention is paid to changes in local uses of urban space, to affective capital created in the process and to the ECC legacy in the city. The paper is based on the public policy analysis, as well as on a long-term ethnographic fieldwork that has been carried out in Rijeka since 2019.

Panel P156b
On public policies, lives, and social spaces: anthropological perspectives from the Mediterranean [Mediterraneanist Network (MedNet)]
  Session 1 Wednesday 27 July, 2022, -