A1 Journal article (refereed)
Politics of belonging in Brussels’ European Quarter (2020)

Lähdesmäki, Tuuli (2020). Politics of belonging in Brussels’ European Quarter. International Journal of Heritage Studies, 26 (10), 979-997. DOI: 10.1080/13527258.2019.1663237

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Publication details

All authors or editors: Lähdesmäki, Tuuli

Journal or series: International Journal of Heritage Studies

ISSN: 1352-7258

eISSN: 1470-3610

Publication year: 2020

Volume: 26

Issue number: 10

Pages range: 979-997

Publisher: Routledge

Publication country: United Kingdom

Publication language: English

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1080/13527258.2019.1663237

Open Access: Publication channel is not openly available

Publication is parallel published (JYX): https://jyx.jyu.fi/handle/123456789/72127


The European Union (EU) has been criticised for a lack of imageries and sites of memory that nation-states have traditionally utilised in their identity-building. The EU, along with other actors, has responded to this iconographic deficit with memory and heritage initiatives and branding campaigns. This article explores how this deficit is dealt with in the European Quarter in Brussels by enlivening it through cultural regeneration and creating narratives that link Europe’s and the EU’s past with the present. The article utilises hermeneutic phenomenological approach combining observation and interpretation of diverse place-making practices, such as monuments, memorials, public artworks, history plaques, and naming of administration buildings, with close reading of the EU’s marketing and promotional material. It examines how a feeling of belonging to Europe and the EU is advanced in the Quarter and how it is sought to be turned into a European collective place. The article indicates how the Quarter’s politics of belonging ignores various layers of meanings related to its history and present. The Quarter’s invitation to belong is selective as its narratives focus on male actors and ignore colonial references and today’s multi-ethnic reality in the neighbourhood.

Keywords: cultural research; role related to place; identity (mental objects); togetherness; phenomenology

Free keywords: place-making; politics of belonging; collective place; European Union; Brussels; European Quarter

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Preliminary JUFO rating: 2

Last updated on 2020-13-10 at 09:43