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

Open access


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.

Antonsich, M. & Holland, E. (2012), ‘Territorial attachment in the age of globalization: The case of Western Europe,’ European Urban and Regional Studies. Published online before print July 2012.

Axford, B. (2006), “The dialectic of borders and networks in Europe: reviewing ‘topological presuppositions’,” Comparative European Politics, vol. 4, no. 2, pp. 160–182.

Bauman, Z. (1992), Intimations of Postmodernity, Abingdon: Routledge.

Beck, U. (1992), Risk Society. Towards a New Modernity, London: Sage.

Bennett, T.; Emmison, M. & Frow, J. (1999), Accounting for Tastes: Australian Everyday Cultures, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Bennett, T.; Savage, M.; Bortolaia Silva, E.; Warde, A.; Gayo-Cal, M. & Wright, D. (2008), Culture, Class, Distinction, London: Routledge.

Bhabba, H. (1994), The Location of Culture, London: Routledge.

Bohlman, P. (2009), Music, Nationalism, and the Making of a New Europe, London: Routledge.

Bottero, W. (2010), “Intersubjectivity and Bourdieusian Approaches to ‘Identity’,” Cultural Sociology, vol. 4, no. 1, pp. 3–22.

Bourdieu, P. (1974), ‘The school as a conservative force: scholastic achievement and cultural inequalities,’ in J. Eggleston (ed.) Contemporary Research in the Sociology of Education, London: Methuen, pp. 32–46.

Bourdieu, P. (1984), Distinction. A Social Critique of the Judgement of Taste, London: Routledge.

—— (1987), ‘The forms of capital,’ in J. G. Richardson (ed.) Handbook of Theory and Research of the Sociology of Education, New York: Greenwood Press, pp. 241–258.

—— (1991), Language and Symbolic Power, Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.

—— (1993), Sociology in Question, London: Sage.

—— (1998), Practical Reason, Stanford: Stanford University Press.

Bourdieu, P. & Darbel, A. (1991), The Love of Art: European Art Museums and Their Public, Cambridge: Polity Press.

Boyatzis, R. (1998), Transforming Qualitative Information: Thematic Analysis and Code Development, Thousand Oaks: Sage.

Bradford, V. (2003), ‘Spiritual capital: Theorizing religion with Bourdieu against Bourdieu,’ Sociological Theory, vol. 21, no. 2, pp. 150–174.

Cookson, P. & Persell, C. (1985), Preparing for Power: America’s Elite Boarding Schools, New York: Basic.

Davey, G. (2009), “Using Bourdieu’s concept of habitus to explore narratives of transition,” European Educational Research Journal, vol. 8, no. 2, pp. 276–284.

Davidson, A. C. (2008), “Through thick and thin: ‘European identification’ for a justified and legitimate European Union,” Journal of Contemporary European Research, vol. 4, no. 1, pp. 32–47.

Delanty, G. (2003), ‘Is There a European Identity?’ Global Dialogue, vol. 5, no. 3–4. Retrieved from [accessed 14 Mar 2014]

DiMaggio, P. (1987), ‘Cultural capital and school success: The impact of status culture participation on grades of U.S. high school students,’ American Sociological Review, vol. 47, no. 2, pp. 189–201.

—— (1996), ‘Are art-museum visitors different from other people? The relationship between attendance and social and political attitudes in the United States,’ Poetics, vol. 24, nos. 2–4, pp. 161–180.

DiMaggio, P. & Mohr, J. (1985), ‘Cultural capital, educational attainment, and marital election,’ American Journal of Sociology, vol. 90, no. 6, pp. 1231–1261.

Dumais, S. (2002), ‘Cultural capital, gender, and school success: The role of habitus,’ Sociology of Education, vol. 75, no. 1, pp. 44–68.

Farrell, L. (2010), ‘Pierre Bourdieu on European identity: Theories of habitus & cultural capital,’ Social and Political Review, vol. 20, pp. 107–115.

Fornäs, J. (1995), Cultural Theory & Late Modernity, London: Sage.

de Graaf, P. (1986), ‘The impact of financial and cultural resources on educational attainment in the Netherlands,’ Sociology of Education, vol. 59, no. 4, pp. 237–246.

Giesen, B. (1991), Nationale Und Kulturelle Identitat: Studien Zur Entwicklung Des Kollektiven Bewusstseins in Der Neuzeit, Frankfurt: Suhrkamp.

Hall, J. (1992), ‘The Capital(s) of culture: A nonholistic approach to status situations, class, gender, and ethnicity,’ in M. Lamont & M. Fournier (eds.) Cultivating Differences: Symbolic Boundaries and the Making of Inequality, Chicago: University of Chicago Press, pp. 257–285.

Hall, S. (1990), ‘Cultural identity and diaspora,’ in J. Rutherford (ed.) Identity, Community, Culture, Difference, London: Lawrence & Wishart, pp. 222–237.

—— (1992), ‘The question of cultural identity,’ in S. Hall, D. Held & T. McGrew (eds.) Modernity and Its Futures, Cambridge: Polity Press, pp. 273–325.

Kaiser, R. & Nikiforova, E. (2008), ‘The performativity of scale: the social construction of scale effects in Narva, Estonia,’ Environment and Planning D: Society & Space, vol. 26, pp. 537–562.

Kalmijn, M. & Kraaykamp, G. (1996), ‘Race, cultural capital, and schooling: An analysis of trends in the United States,’ Sociology of Education, vol. 69, no. 1, pp. 22–34.

Kuus, M. (2007), ‘Ubiquitous identities and elusive subjects: puzzles from Central Europe,’ Transactions of the Institute of British Geographers, vol. 32, no. 1, pp. 90–101.

Lähdesmäki, T. (2011), ‘Contested identity politics: Analysis of the EU policy objectives and the local reception of the European Capital of Culture program,’ Baltic Journal of European Studies, vol. 1, no. 2, pp. 134–166.

—— (2012), ‘Rhetoric of unity and cultural diversity in the making of European cultural identity,’ International Journal of Cultural Policy, vol. 18, no. 1, pp. 59–75.

—— (2013a), ‘Interpretations of cultural identities in the European Capital of Culture events in Turku,’ Ethnologia Fennica, vol. 40, pp. 66–88.

—— (2013b), ‘Identity politics of the European Capital of Culture initiative and the audience reception of cultural events compared,’ The Nordic Journal of Cultural Policy, vol. 16, no. 2, pp. 340–365.

Lamont, M. (1987), ‘Cultural capital and the political behavior of professionals and managers: a comment on Brint,’ American Journal of Sociology, vol. 96, pp. 1501–1505.

Lamont, M. & Lareau, A. (1988), ‘Cultural capital: Allusions, gaps and glissandos in recent theoretical developments,’ Sociological Theory, vol. 6, no. 2, pp. 153–168.

Lareau, A. (1987), Home Advantages: Social Class and Parental Interventions in Elementary Education, London: Falmer Press.

Lewicka, M. (2005), ‘Ways to make people active: The role of place attachment, cultural capital, and neighborhood ties,’ Journal of Environmental Psychology, vol. 25, no. 4, pp. 381–395.

Lizardo, O. (2010), ‘Pierre Bourdieu as a post-cultural theorist,’ Cultural Sociology, vol. 5, no. 1, pp. 1–22.

Maffesoli, M. (1996), The Contemplation of the World: Figures of Community Style, Minnesota: Minnesota University Press.

Marks, G. (1999), ‘Territorial identities in the European Union,’ in J. J. Anderson (ed.) Regional Integration and Democracy. Expanding on the European Experience, Oxford: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, pp. 69–91.

Massey, D. (1995), ‘The conceptualization of place,’ in D. Massey & J. Pat (eds.) Place in the World, Oxford: Oxford University Press, pp. 45–86.

Paasi, A. (1996a), Territories, Boundaries and Consciousness. The Changing Geographies of the Finnish-Russian Border, Chichester: John Wiley and Sons.

—— (1996b), ‘Inclusion, exclusion and the construction of territorial identities: Boundaries in the globalizing geopolitical landscape,’ Nordisk Samhällsgeografisk Tidskrift, vol. 23, pp. 6–23.

—— (2000), ‘Territorial identities as social constructions,’ Hagar – International Social Science Review, vol. 1, no. 2, pp. 91–113.

—— (2003), ‘Region and place: Regional identity in question,’ Progress in Human Geography, vol. 27, pp. 475–485.

—— (2009a), ‘Regions and regional dynamics,’ in C. Rumford (ed.) The Sage Handbook of European Studies, London: Sage, pp. 464–484.

—— (2009b), “The resurgence of the ‘region’ and ‘regional identity’,” Review of International Studies, vol. 35, pp. 121–146.

Prieur, A.; Rosenlund, L. & Skjott-Larsen, J. (2008), ‘Cultural capital today: A case study from Denmark’, Poetics, vol. 36, no. 1, pp. 45–71.

Pöllmann, A. (2009), ‘Formal education and intercultural capital: towards attachment beyond narrow ethno-national boundaries?’ Educational Studies, vol. 35, no. 5, pp. 537–545.

Prokkola, E-K.; Zimmerbauer, K. & Jakola, F. (2012), ‘Performance of regional identity in the implementation of European cross-border initiatives,’ European Urban and Regional Studies. Published online before print. http://dx.doi. org/0.1177/0969776412465629

Purhonen, S.; Gronow, J. & Rahkonen, K. (2011), ‘Highbrow culture in Finland: Knowledge, taste and participation,’ Acta Sociologia, vol. 54, no. 4, pp. 385–02.

Purhonen, S. & Wright D. (2013), ‘Methodological issues in national-comparative research on cultural tastes: The case of cultural capital in the UK and Finland,’ Cultural Sociology, vol. 7, no. 2, pp. 257–273.

Reay, D. (2004), “It’s all becoming a habitus: beyond the habitual use of habitus in educational research,” British Journal of Sociology of Education, vol. 25, no. 4, pp. 431–444.

Relph, E. (1976), Place and Placelessness, London: Pion.

Richards, G. & Rotariu, I. (2010), ‘2007 European Cultural Capital in Sibiu – Preliminary findings concerning the impact on major stakeholders,’ Studies in Business and Economics, vol. 5, no. 1, pp. 146–155.

Robertson, D.; Smyth, J. & McIntosh, I. (2008), Neighbourhood Identity. People, Time and Place, Layerthorpe: Joseph Rowntree Foundation.

Rosenlund, L. (2009), Exploring the City with Bourdieu: Applying Pierre Bourdieu’s Theories and Methods to Study the Community, Saarbrücken: VDM.

Sack, D. (1997), Homo Geographicus, Baltimore: The Johns Hopkins University Press.

Said, E. W. (1985), Orientalism, London: Penguin Books.

Shore, C. (2000), Building Europe: The Cultural Politics of European Integration, London: Routledge.

—— (2004), ‘Whither European citizenship? Eros and civilization revisited,’ European Journal of Social Theory, vol. 7, no. 1, pp. 27–44.

Stråth, B. (2002), ‘A European Identity: To the historical limits of a concept,’ European Journal of Social Theory, vol. 5, no. 4, pp. 387–401.

Sulkunen, P. (1982), ‘On the cultural sociology of Pierre Bourdieu,’ Acta Sociologica, vol. 25, no. 2, pp. 103–115.

Taylor, S. J. & Bogdan, R. (1984), Introduction to Qualitative Research Methods: The Search for Meanings, New York: John Wiley & Sons.

Terlouw, K. (2012), ‘From thick to thin regional identities?’ GeoJournal, vol. 77, no. 5, pp. 707–721.

Trueba, H. (2009), ‘Multiple ethnic, racial, and cultural identities in action: From marginality to a new cultural capital in modern society,’ Journal of Latinos and Education, vol. 1, no. 1, pp. 7–28.

de Vaus, D. (2004), Surveys in Social Research, London: Routledge.

Zhang, Y. & Wildemuth, B. M. (2009), ‘Qualitative analysis of content,’ in B. M. Wildemuth (ed.) Applications of Social Research Methods to Questions in Information and Library Science, Westport: Libraries Unlimited, pp. 308–319.

Baltic Journal of European Studies

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

Journal Information

CiteScore 2017: 0.22

SCImago Journal Rank (SJR) 2017: 0.119
Source Normalized Impact per Paper (SNIP) 2017: 0.113


All Time Past Year Past 30 Days
Abstract Views 0 0 0
Full Text Views 103 103 17
PDF Downloads 37 37 8