Nevena Škrbić Alempijević, PhD, participated as a presenter in the international conference of the European Association of Social Anthropologists (EASA), titled “Transformations, Hope and the Commons”, which took place in Belfast, United Kingdom, from 26th to 29th of July, 2022.
She delivered a paper with the title “Becoming a European Capital of Culture: Public Policies in the City of Rijeka” in the frame of the panel “On public policies, lives, and social spaces: anthropological perspectives from the Mediterranean”.
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.
More about the congress: https://easaonline.org/conferences/easa2022/programme