Narrating the Gender-equal City - Doing Gender-equality in the Swedish European Capital of Culture Umeå2014

Authors

DOI:

https://doi.org/10.3384/cu.2000.1525.201911129

Keywords:

gender-equality, European Capital of Culture, narrative, city, place identity

Abstract

There is a powerful narrative of Umeå as a progressive, gender-equal, tolerant city which has been important in relation to the investments in culture that the city has made, including the European Capital of Culture Year 2014. Viewing the city as process, as negotiated and contested representation, we study how narratives of gender-equality figure throughout Capital of Culture year, Umeå2014, and in the projects that were part of it. We examine how the talk about gender-equality interacts with notions of place and how they are interconnected with each other. We are interested in what happens with a major cultural project when gender-equality is emphasized as one of the key values, at the same time as the meaning and content of this concept is not specified. Studying official documents and municipal webpages concerning Umeå as European Capital of Culture, applications for co-funding of cultural projects and news articles, we scrutinize how gender-equality is used and given meaning by looking at the way it is operationalized both by the city officials and by those engaging in cultural activities. Gender equality became something that was highlighted in the bid to become European Capital of Culture and in the making of the programme for the year, and stories about the Umeå2014’s success in implementing a gender-equality perspective have been repeated and woven together into a yet another narrative of Umeå. They became part of an ongoing negotiation of the city’s identity.

Author Biographies

Christine Hudson, Umeå University

Department of Political Science

Professor

Linda Sandberg, Umeå University

Umeå Centre for Gender Studies

Senior Lecturer/Researcher

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Published

2019-04-12

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Section

Narrating the City and Spaces of Contestation