Lanoue et al. [Abstract]

The impending collapse of the European urban middle class: The European Union’s de-naturing of space and place     [Full text]

Guy Lanoue [1]
Vincent Mirza [2]
Jorge Pantaleon [3]

Abstract: The authors argue that the various middle classes of Europe, especially Western Europe, are being fragilised as a result of globalization, certain political tendencies and especially by the standardization of space and place following the implementation of a policy of Europeanisation. In particular, we concentrate on the ECoC (European Capitals of Culture) programme (launched in 1983, over 40 Cities have held the title since), as this embodies these changes and pressures. We argue that the middle classes are caught in a crisis of confidence in traditional institutional arrangements as local definitions of time and space traditionally grounded in individuals and neighborhoods are reworked and reoriented to favour national and especially European identities. The new difficulty of attaching a sense of self to public places and to local time has weakened the social Self and created resentment towards larger political institutions responsible for denaturing local time and place.

Keywords: Europe, cities, ECoC (European Capital of Culture), middle class

[1] Université de Montréal, correspondence author:
[2] Assistant Professor in Anthropology, Department of Sociology and Anthropology, University of Ottawa
[3] Université de Montréal