Fascism's stance towards the city was contradictory. Fascist governmental institutions, urban planners, architects and urban sociologists condemned modern industrial cities at the same time that the regime actively promoted and constructed new towns and neighbourhoods. The paper examines fascism's problematic view of the city and nature, focusing on its cooptation of discourses drawing on nature and on ideas of disease, evolution, gender and demography to justify its negative view of the city. The paper critically challenges currently accepted views of fascism as a predominantly rural phenomenon by showing how it was shaped by its early roots in the city. La postura del fascismo hacia la ciudad fue contradictoria. Instituciones gubernamentales, planificadores urbanos, arquitectos y sociólogos urbanos fascistas condenaron las modernas ciudades industriales, al mismo tiempo que el régimen promovió y construyó activamente nuevas ciudades y barrios. Este artículo examina la problemática visión del fascismo sobre la ciudad y la naturaleza, centrándose en su cooptación de discursos acerca de la naturaleza, la enfermedad, la evolución, el género y la demografía para justificar su visión negativa de la ciudad. El artículo desafía críticamente las visiones actualmente aceptadas sobre el fascismo como un fenómeno predominantemente rural, revelando que las raíces de este movimiento fueron originalmente urbanas.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: This article explores the formation of post–Soviet Russian national identity through a study of political struggles over key Soviet–era monuments and memorials in Moscow during the “critical juncture” in Russian history from 1991 through 1999. We draw on the work of Pierre Bourdieu and Pierre Nora to explain how competition among political elites for control over the sites guided their transformation from symbols of the Soviet Union into symbols of Russia. By co–opting, contesting, ignoring, or removing certain types of monuments through both physical transformations and “commemorative maintenance,” Russian political elites engaged in a symbolic dialogue with each other and with the public in an attempt to gain prestige, legitimacy, and influence. We make this argument through case studies of four monument sites in Moscow: Victory Park (Park Pobedy), the Lenin Mausoleum, the former Exhibition of the Achievements of the National Economy (VDNKh), and the Park of Arts (Park Isskustv). In the article, we first discuss the role of symbolic capital in the transformation of national identity. Following an examination of the political struggles over places of memory in Moscow, we analyze the interplay between elite and popular uses of the monuments, exploring the extent to which popular “reading” of the sites limits the ability of elites to manipulate their meaning. We conclude by looking at the Russian case in comparative perspective and exploring the reasons behind the dearth of civic monuments in post–Soviet Russia.
Annals of the Association of American Geographers 09/2002; 92(3). DOI:10.1111/1467-8306.00303 · 2.09 Impact Factor
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