Socialist and post-socialist urbanizations: architecture, land and property rights

Date

May 8-11, 2014

Place

Tallinn, Estonia

Submission

Call for papers

Although most European cities both in the ‘East’ and in the ‘West’ grew rapidly in the post-war decades, the important questions regarding the difference between urbanization under the two conflicting political regimes has never been deeply analysed and resolved in the urban studies. Thus, the post-1989 success and current renaissance of the notion of ‘post-socialism’ seems surprising. At the same time, however, the number of critical voices has been growing. Still, can we seriously talk about post-socialism, lacking not only a fully developed definition and understanding of ‘post-socialist city’ but also what ‘the socialist city’ is?

The missing or poor definition of ‘socialism’ is one of the key weaknesses of the concept of post-socialism. Socialism comes into the question of post-socialism in different ways: What are the ‘socialist’ origins of ‘post-socialist’ practices? What importance did the imagined return to ‘pre-socialist’ capitalism play in building the ‘post-socialist’ capitalism? Is negation of socialism (the ‘anti-socialism’) an important aspect of post-socialism? Whereas socialism could be seen both as a political idea and as an actual historical experience, post-socialism appears to be a societal condition only that is, furthermore, primarily restricted to a region of former Soviet Union and Eastern Europe.

The existence of different socialisms—such as Soviet, Czechoslovakian, Yugoslavian, Chinese and Vietnamese— however, problematizes the regional bias of the term post-socialism. Would it be possible to talk about the common ‘post-socialist’ experience facing such different historical and geographical contexts? Would China be comprehensible as post-socialist similarly as Hungary or Estonia? Does it need downplaying historical and cultural particularities of China (but of course other contexts as well) that unquestionably are present? Would property regimes or ‘urban villages’ in China be comprehensible from the perspective of Eastern Europe?

In this context, we wish to initiate a fresh debate regarding the future of (the concepts of) socialism and post-socialism through engagements with different geographical contexts such as Eastern Europe, Asia, South America, and elsewhere. We would like to engage ‘post-socialism’ with ongoing debates of comparative urbanism but also seek ways to re-develop and conceptualise ‘socialism’ and ‘post-socialism’ themselves.

The conference aims to explore histories and geographies of socialism and post-socialism in relation to three themes: 1) architecture and urban planning, 2) land use and landscape, and 3) property rights.

Please send your abstract (300 words) and short bio (60 words) by Dec 2, 2013 to uld@artun.ee.

The conference is organized by the Faculty of Architecture, Estonian Academy of Arts. It is the eleventh installment of the now-traditional Urban and Landscape Days.

Please visit www.artun.ee/uld for further information or contact us at uld@artun.ee.


Monique Abud

Centre d'études sur la Chine moderne et contemporaine, EHESS, Paris, France

More Posts

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *