Cultural Analyses in Urban Theory of 1990s

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


In the 1990s, cultural analyses have become an integrated part of urban theory, and culture is often seen as an important factor in the interpretation of both the structural changes of society and the multiplicity of life forms. But culture is not only used as a means to understand actual changes; equally often it is used as a tool to create changes. Under the headings of culture and space, culture and place, and culture and urban policy, the article presents a general view of recent urban theoretical attempts to grasp the role of culture, first in a global, secondly in a local and thirdly in an urban political perspective. The analyses of culture and space focus on the central role of culture and the cultural industries in the reconstruction of the economy, which took place after the economic recession in the 1970s. The spatial consequences of this reconstruction are discussed in terms of globalization, polarization and hierarchization. The analyses of culture and place strive to increase the knowledge of how the structural changes have affected the built environment and the social and cultural life of the city. The consequences are often discussed in terms of gentrification, aesthetization and privatization of public space. Special attention is paid to the growing social polarization and segregation. The analyses of culture and urban policy focus on the role of culture in the effort to strengthen the competitiveness of the city. Two different strategies are discussed, an instrumental one which directly aims at economic growth, and an integrative one where the goal is to restore the cultural hegemony.


  • Katarina Nylund
External organisations
  • Chalmers University of Technology
Research areas and keywords

Subject classification (UKÄ) – MANDATORY

  • Civil Engineering
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)219-230
JournalActa Sociologica
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2001
Publication categoryResearch
Externally publishedYes