Workers´ colony Karlov was built by Škoda Works in 1913 to accommodate the growing number of its employees. Attached to the factory´s walls and thus spatially segregated from the rest of the city, inhabitants of Karlov built a relatively close-knit neighbourhood community with a strong place-based identity. Based on the analysis of archival material and data from interviews with its former inhabitants, we follow Karlov´s voyage from capitalism to state-socialism at the levels of both macro-structural forces and its´ inhabitants´ experience of everyday life. Built to serve particular economic and political functions for the pre-war capitalist production, Karlov ceased to fulfi l these roles under state-socialism which refused to invest in Karlov´s renovation after serious damages caused by an air-raid during the WWII. Slowly losing its macrostructural raison d’être, Karlov was doomed to fi nal demolition in 1986, being represented as an “obstacle” to industrial development. Meeting regularly twice a year and recalling the past, former neighbours from Karlov actively revalidate their collective identity attached to a place that does not exist anymore, thus becoming real community of an imagined place.
The article examines the rise of informal spatial practices in the areas left in the shadows of the socialist planning system, in Belgrade (Serbia, former Yugoslavia) in the 1970s and 1980s. By looking into the relation of spontaneous interventions with the constitutionally enacted system of territorial self-management, we explore both the enclaves of everyday life forming in parallel to the hegemonic and homogenous plan, and highly formalised, planned attempts at emulating spontaneous practices in large housing projects. The research is based on comparative analysis of planning documentation and illegal interventions, period sources including letters and memos written by architects and illegal constructors, available statistics and published polemics. The article argues that many of the unresolved contradictions of the socialist period can be seen as the seeds of those practices which have been part of the post-socialist transition and its spatiality from the 1990s onwards. Indifference toward self-management, cynicism of the everyday in the blind spots of socialist society and the planning profession’s failure to deal with informality, are reproduced within the post-socialist city through unrelenting consumption of the common space
The paper interconnects studies of everyday life and everyday consumption and research on socialist housing estates. It is based on an ethnographic study of Petržalka, the biggest housing estate in Bratislava, located at the south bank of the river Danube. We develop two arguments. First, we focus on perception of the socialist housing estate by citizens of Bratislava, and analyse the role that everyday life and routine practices played in appropriating/getting used to this specifi c urban space. Also, we claim that everyday routine practices help creating the specifi c image of the housing estate in the eyes of the inhabitants. In the second plan, and in reaction to the literature on “lived socialism”, the paper argues for a more elaborate defi nition of socialist consumption that would reflect theories of everyday life.
Abstract: Cities in socialist Czechoslovakia were meant to constitute the setting for an ideal socialist society. The dogmatic embracement of this objective by the ruling Communist Party eventuated in complete intolerance towards any manifestation of free-thinking or alleged opposition to socialism. Starting in the 1960s, part of the Czechoslovak youth were inspired by the Western countercultural hippie movement and the Beat generation, as well as by punk subculture beginning in the 1970s. These people openly displayed their alienation from the offi cial culture by disrupting the established societal standards of appearance, behaviour, and leisure activities. The State Security saw them as ideologically biased, labelling them as the defected youth in an effort to eradicate their presence from the public space and separate them from other citizens. As Czechoslovakia’s capital and biggest city, Prague had the highest concentration of people inspired by Western countercultures. Their appearance, activities, and cultural production provoked the conformist society, and lead to the regime’s hostility and repressions. Unlike Western countercultures, which were based on political protest against their respective regimes, Czechoslovak alternative groups inspired by these countercultures were, in most cases, rather apolitical. In a time of post-1968 normalization, their anti-regime opposition originated mainly in the attempts of the totalitarian state to normalize their cultural aspirations. This paper explores the ways in which the context of socialist Prague affected the practices and routines employed by the fans of alternative culture throughout the.1980s, resulting in their antagonistic relation towards the totalitarian regime.
Ostrava, in the past nicknamed the steel city of the republic or the city of coal and steel, represented during the socialist period and afterwards the main ndustrial city of the republic. The social offi cial visual images of the city and life in it represented a happy urban life with glimpses of shining future. Ostrava was visualized as an embodiment of progress made possible and conditioned by the industrialization and related changes of the urban landscape and everyday life. The article presents the analysis of the offi cial visual discourse on the topic of the city of work and the everyday life of the people in it, constructed through the offi cial photographic publications on Ostrava. The main constitutive elements of these visual presentations are confronted with unoffi cial, rather ambivalent testimonies on the alternative urban landscape of the inhabitants of Ostrava, presented by artistic photographs (Kolář, Štreit, but also for example Polášek). The goal of the visual discursive analysis of this double material was the understanding of the basic constituent parts that together made the image of socialist Ostrava, as well as the role assigned to its inhabitants. On a general level the rich visual material made possible the deliberations upon the relationship of the photographic image and the visual discourse. Therefore I was able to show how by using the similar photographic themes connected with the everyday life and, therefore, by using very similar photographs two Ostravas were constructed – on the one hand the city of work, coal and steel and on the other the city of the everyday life.