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Central and Eastern European capital cities: interpreting www-pages - history, symbols and identity

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Abstract:

The capital cities of Eastern and Central Europe form an interesting group for further analysis since, so far, the main focus for research on capital cities has been on the major modern Western powers in Europe. One is less aware of the fact that the capitals of Central and Eastern Europe were closely networked with the big European cities before 1914. After the end of the Cold War in 1981-91, a closer European co-operation led to the rethinking of the 'Western' versus 'Eastern' influences on local identity. The capital cities in Central and Eastern Europe played an essential role in national movements and in the creation of new political identities. The intention here is to illustrate how these capital cities are presented to the outside world today. The 'Westernization' of urban symbols and identities are analysed by examining current internet websites. Web-pages play a central role in providing direct and fast information, especially related to countries, cities and places. A comparative analysis shows how uniform the 'Europeanization' of the urban history of capital cities of this part of Europe has been. The cities are in constant transformation with new building projects and restoration plans. These projects articulate the new international and national standing of the cities. The images of capital cities on websites show how 'Western' urban values, local narratives and their own past are argued for in the transformation of the city image.

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/02665430601052088

Affiliations: Department of History, 00014 University of Helsinki, Finland

Publication date: January 1, 2007

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