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Cementing identity : “Skopje 2014”


Janev,  Goran
Socio-Cultural Diversity, MPI for the Study of Religious and Ethnic Diversity, Max Planck Society;

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Janev, G. (2011). Cementing identity: “Skopje 2014”. Talk presented at Operators of the Urban Imagination. Jean Monnet University. Saint-Etienne, France. 2011-03-03 - 2011-03-04.

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Over a dozen of buildings, two new bridges, over hundred new sculptures in some neo-classical style will completely alter the image the Macedonian capital, Skopje. Following the disastrous earthquake in 1963, Skopje was rebuilt as a city of solidarity, openness, modernity. This is now discarded as socialist architecture and the introduction of the historicist style of some imagined Macedonian character is to compensate for this image of the city allegedly void of identity built by the communists. In February 2010 the government promoted the new vision for the capital “Skopje 2014” by broadcasting a 6 min video clip. What were sporadic reactions up to that moment became much better articulated through various forms of protest and opposition. Just by glimpsing at the use of new social media for expressing alternative possibilities, in a proverbial anthropological fashion, I will present the two conflicting imaginaries of the city, from top-down and bottom-up.