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Drömmen om den nya staden: Stadsförnyelse i det postsovjetiska Riga
Södertörn University, School of Social Sciences, Sociology.ORCID iD: 0000-0001-5355-3344
2012 (Swedish)Doctoral thesis, monograph (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

The aim of this thesis is to shed light on Post-Soviet urban renewal and people’s perceptions of changes that recently occurred in both the city of Riga and Latvian society more generally since the dissolution of the Soviet Union in the early 1990s. More specifically, this study examines how these perceptions are manifest in Riga’s ongoing renewal. Through applying aspects of continuity and discontinuity, I illustrate how the urban renewal of Post-Soviet Riga uncovers imaginary and emotional aspects of the city and how these are interpreted in relation to the past, present and the future. This study introduces the concept “urban postperestroika” and one important difference between this concept and the more common concepts post-socialist, post-communist or post-Soviet is that the former highlights a process while the latter ones largely highlight the state. The starting point is how urban phantasmagorias – contemporary dreams of the future of the city – elucidate urban renewal processes in general and urban postperestroika in particular. In Riga’s ongoing renewal processes I identify three main trajectories in relation to aspects of the past, present and the future: de-Sovietization, globalization and Lettification. Together, these three trajectories constitute an engine that produces urban phantasmagorias.

The dissolution of the Soviet Union has given rise to notions that everything is “back to normal” again, and these notions of normalcy have influenced urban renewal processes. The dilemmas, as shown in this thesis, concern the Soviet period and its remaining psychical structure which give the impression of being too conspicuous to eliminate and too contradictory to assimilate. The study illustrates the difficulties of building new urban and societal structures on the remains of pre-existing orders. Such difficulties of course lead to contradictory and ambiguous world views and to new dysfunctional situations that have to be managed in the future.       

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Lund: Arkiv förlag & tidskrift, 2012. , 246 p.
Södertörn Doctoral Dissertations, ISSN 1652-7399 ; 69
Keyword [en]
Post-Soviet Riga, urban renewal, urban development, urban phantasmagorias, urban postperestroika, de-Sovietization, globalization, Lettification, social temporalization
National Category
Research subject
Baltic and East European studies
URN: urn:nbn:se:sh:diva-16187ISBN: 978-91-7924-242-8 (print)OAI: diva2:526411
Public defence
2012-06-05, MB 505, Södertörns högskola, Alfred Nobels allé 7, 13:00 (Swedish)
Available from: 2012-05-11 Created: 2012-05-11 Last updated: 2016-10-10Bibliographically approved

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