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Baltic Journal of European Studies

Tallinn Law School, Department of Law, School of Business and Governance, Tallinn University of Technology

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The Influence of Cultural Competence on the Interpretations of Territorial Identities in European Capitals of Culture

Tuuli Lähdesmäki
  • Department of Art and Culture Studies, Faculty of the Humanities, University of Jyväskylä P.O. box 35(A), Jyväskylä FI 40014, Finland
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Published Online: 2014-05-17 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.2478/bjes-2014-0005


The EU’s cultural initiative ‘the European Capital of Culture’ (ECOC) includes high identity political aims. It requires the designated cities to introduce and foster local, regional, and European cultural identities. In addition, the cities have used the designation as an opportunity to promote national cultural identity. Audiences of the ECOC events recognize and interpret different kinds of representations of territorial cultural identities from what the cities have to offer in culture. However, the contents of these interpretations vary drastically in the ECOCs. The article discusses whether the competence of interpreting the representations of territorial cultural identities is related to some social determinants of the audiences. Based on a questionnaire study conducted in recent ECOCs-Pécs (Hungary), Tallinn (Estonia), and Turku (Finland)-the study indicates that, for example, education, source of livelihood, and active cultural participation impact the interpretations of the representations of territorial cultural identities.

Keywords: cultural capital; cultural competence; European Capital of Culture; interpretation; reception; representation; territorial cultural identity


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About the article

Tuuli Lähdesmäki

Tuuli Lähdesmäki, PhD is researcher at the Department of Art and Culture Studies Faculty of Humanities., University of Jyväskylä. Her current research project (“Indentity politics in Pecs, Tallinn and Turku as European Capitals of Culture”) is funded by the Academy of Finland. Her latest publication is ‘Contested Identity Politics: Analysis of the EU Policy Objectives and the Local Reception of the European Capital of Culture Program’ in The Baltic Journal of European Studies (2011, vol. 1, no. 2(10), pp. 134–166).

Published Online: 2014-05-17

Published in Print: 2014-06-01

Citation Information: Baltic Journal of European Studies, Volume 4, Issue 1, Pages 69–96, ISSN (Online) 2228-0596, DOI: https://doi.org/10.2478/bjes-2014-0005.

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© by Tuuli Lähdesmäki. This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial License, which permits unrestricted non-commercial use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. BY-NC-ND 3.0

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