IXth International Conference on Urban History

August 27-30, 2008

Lyon France
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 Session description

Self-Representation and Public Culture of the Balkan Urban Classes

The 19th century is known as the period when modern discourse was established in European societies, promoted initially by urban ‘middle classes’. A similar process can be observed in Balkan cities, even though it is also well known that it happened in a different context and from different starting conditions.

The Balkan urban classes had to negotiate more and/or other differences than was the case in western cities – what was specific in the Balkans, was the urge to negotiate a stigmatized past and perceived yet experienced peripherality. These issues of difference were attributed to the Ottoman legacy, and came in addition to class, gender and race.

This session is open to contributions that discuss the ways in which Balkan elites established a new social hegemony under the pretext of Ottoman legacies in the urban environment, putting an emphasis on lived ways of self-representation: rituals, consumption, networks, societies, communication, media, cultural life, and the built environment.

Topics may include but do not have to be limited to: literary communication, audiences, societies and leisure clubs, processions, festivities and monuments, theatre life, sports and negotiations of the Ottoman heritage, such as the re-design of the cityscape. The time period is the ‘long’ 19th century.

Contributions addressing the differences between cities within a country or of different countries are especially welcome.

Session conveners:

  • Wladimir Fischer

Session type: Specialist Session

Classification: M - Modern


Between Political Gathering and Tavern. Social and public life in Pirot during the 19th Century

Author(s): Ciric, Dejan 

Building urban culture as a national project: From Viennese diaspora to Serbian cities (Belgrade, Pančevo, Kragujevac)

Author(s): Markovic, Tatjana 

Community centres: a form of literary, cultural and social life in Bulgaria (mid XIXth- mid XXth centuries)

Author(s): Rusinova, Evgeniya 

From begovat to bourgeoisie? Some reflections on the transformation of urban Muslim elites in Bosnia-Hercegovina before World War I

Author(s): Dierks, Dennis 



Singing without border. On a 19th century urban folk melody popular in several Balkan towns

Author(s): Marjanović, Zlata 

The Alatinis of Salonica: Urban Elites in the Periphery

Author(s): Yosmaoglu, Ipek K 

Urban i. e. European

Author(s): Poppetrov, Nikolay