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.
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