Dmitry Timoshkin 1, 2
  • 1 Russian Academy of National Economy and Public Administration, 660041, Krasnoyarsk, Svobodny Ave., 86.
  • 2 Irkutsk State University, Karla Marksa Str., 1, Irkutsk, Russian Federation 664033

“Monument” versus “dilapidation”: the discursive marking of local history as a factor of the “production of space” in Siberian cities (in the example of Irkutsk)

2022, vol. 21, No. 3, pp. 155–173 [issue contents]
The article analyzes the practices of the discursive marking of “places of memory” and their role in the construction of urban spaces of Siberian regional capitals. The author describes the areas of high-rise residential development formed in the 19th-20th centuries, defined in Russian urban narratives as the “private sector”. The latter is considered as a “nodal point” in the urban semiotic system. It is shown that some communities consider the “private sector” to be an empty space devoid of established content but which can be filled by implementing their project here. Others, on the contrary, appreciate the local history and the specifics of the place, basing alternative projects on these ideas. As a result, conflicts arise, the specifics of which become an emphasis on the theme of the past: the parties put forward different interpretations of the past and try to make them conventional. The aim of the study is to determine the role of formalized representations of local history in these processes. The article is based on 20 semi-formalized interviews with architects, public figures, local residents, officials, and entrepreneurs conducted in the period from 2017 to 2021. Using the results of these interviews, a hypothesis is formulated according to which the groups involved in conflicts tend to interpret the past as a value or a harmful anachronism, and then achieve the formalization of a version that is favorable to them. The representation of local history reflected in the normative language (the status of a “dilapidated / dilapidated building” or the status of a “cultural monument”) is used as a justification for the project to “develop” the place. The greatest success is achieved not so much by the actor who has managed to formalize the interpretation of local history that is beneficial to them, but by the one who has retained the ability to ignore the restrictions associated with the corresponding status. It creates a compromise between the formalized and informal languages of describing “memory places”, which ultimately determines their content.
Citation: Timoshkin D. (2022) Pamyatnik vs vetkhost': kak gorodskie soobshchestva ispol'zuyut markery proshlogo v bor'be za «pravo na gorod» v Irkutske [“Monument” versus “dilapidation”: the discursive marking of local history as a factor of the “production of space” in Siberian cities (in the example of Irkutsk)]. The Russian Sociological Review, vol. 21, no 3, pp. 155-173 (in Russian)
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