Half-Life Cities: Capitalist Pasts & Socialist Futures

Lecture by Luděk Sýkora at Humboldt-University Berlin

Location: Institute for Social Research, Humboldt-University Berlin, Universitätsstraße 3B, 10117 Berlin

In 1990, Ralf Dahrendorf in his “Reflections on the revolution in Europe” envisaged that sixty years are barely enough to lay social foundations of new society. Three decades since the Great 1989 we are half-life through the anticipated change. Where we are now in 2019? This presentation argues that “Transformation” is not finished project yet. While the social practices of firms, households, and governments under the conditions of expanding neoliberal global capitalism brought former socialist countries and their cities into the global mainstream, the ever-present legacies of communism are deeply embodied in everyday urban life. Struggling through the second round of transition, the urban development paths are shaped by volatile equilibristic of discursive, policy and financial games. Critical reflections of three decades of post-socialist urban transformations help to illuminate alternative development perspectives on cities in Central and Eastern Europe.

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