9th Conference European Sociological Association

RN07 Sociology of Culture

2009-09-03 15:30:00 2009-09-03 17:00:00 Thursday, 3 September 15:30 - 17:00 Space, Cities and Relationships Building II, C4.06

Urban representations of troubled histories: Lisbon and Shanghai

Urban representations of troubled histories: Lisbon and Shanghai

A series of ?Urban Representations? conferences have asked, How do cities represent themselves? How do architectural and landscape statements, tourist attractions and public relations, art and design, work at urban self-fashioning? What is the relationship between internal and external audiences, locals and tourists, workers and investors, for such representations? The proposed paper is the newest research from this investigation.*

Cities represent themselves for both internal and external audiences. For cities aspiring to be ?global,? the external audiences are particularly important. Urban representations can build solidarity among the local population and enhance the legitimacy of the ruling regime, while externally they may increase the market value of the city?s brand, thereby attracting investment and tourism.

Like all ideal types, ?global cities? obscures historical variation. In particular, cities have experienced the pattern of globalization/de-globalization/re-globalization. Lisbon and Shanghai, the two cases on which our discussion will focus, exemplify this pattern.

Cities often have ?troubled histories? that require memory work and cultural framing; Berlin is a much-studied example. During such de-globalized periods that some cities experience ?troubled histories.? Indeed the troubles themselves are often the cause for the retreat from global networks. Such troubled histories have to be dealt with at the time of re-globalization.

This paper focuses on contemporary urban representations, asking: How do troubled histories become resources for external and internal audiences? How can such blots on the historical record as fascism, suppression, and violence be ?told? in ways that contribute to, instead of detract from, the city?s brand? We will consider the question generally while drawing particularly on evidence from Lisbon and Shanghai.

* Three Urban Representations conferences have been held to date; the first two were in the U. S. and the third is in Shanghai in March 2009. Future conferences are planned for Tokyo, Oslo and other European cities.