Europeanisation Through Culture : The Swedish cities of Lund’s and Umeå’s applications to become the European Capital of Culture 2014
Abstract: This thesis compares the Swedish cities of Lund’s Meaningful Meetings and Umeå’s Curiosity and Passion - The Art of Co-Creation applications to be named European Capital of Culture (ECOC) 2014. The applications focus on two criteria of the EU, European Dimension and City and Citizens. The way the two bids worked with the criteria will reveal the process of Europeanisation – the process of creating common meaning and collective understandings of Europe. Interviews with cultural professionals that worked on the applications, two of the actors and a member of the selection panel were interviewed. By doing a discourse analysis of the material, reoccurring topics that are used to build the Europeanisation will be visible. The analysis will focus on two terms used by Monica Sassatelli in her research of ECOC: reconceptualisation and regeneration of space. The Europeanisation was then conceptualised with the help of Thomas Risse’s three models of identity formation: Blended identities, nested identities and zero-sum identity. The research questions are: What were the motivation of the applications, was reconceptualisation or regeneration a part of it? And how was the Europeanisation carried out? The hypothesis of this thesis is that the spatiality of the cities, the geography and landscape is used to build the europeanness of the cities. The hypothesis was proven to be accurate, e.g. with Lund legitimising its europeanness by being a part of the Öresund region, while Umeå met resistance to their europeanness due to their periphery position on the continent. When asked, all of the informants connected the European Dimension to spatiality. Regeneration was almost a banal part of the application, while informants and the application paid special focus to reconceptualisation. Umeå legitimised their europeanness though international cooperations while the actors in Lund had a lack of understanding of the European Dimension and lack of quality in the partnerships lead to their loss. The second research question revealed that Umeå, in the application and the informants showed their europeanness through blended identities. Lund tried to do the same, but failed due to discrepancies amongst the actors.
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