Marseille European Captial of Culture Ins and Offs: rethinking large-scale cultural initiatives

SAGE Publications (UK and US)
Publication Type:
Journal Article
French Cultural Studies, 2015, 26 (3), pp. 302 - 316
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Recent studies on urban change have emphasized the importance of culturally driven initiatives in the development of economic and social change. Concerns however have been raised in popular urban studies discourse that these strategies prioritise the economy and tourism over and above the needs of local residents and lead to the re-definition, and even the eradication, of local cultures. This paper looks at the case of the French city Marseille as host of the European Capital of Culture program in 2013. It analyses some of the cultural practices that arise at the intersection of a transnational cultural program and localized cultural acts and documents how some of Marseille’s residents have responded to the European cultural event through cultural performances that address and highlight community concerns.
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