Urban Identity in (Post)Modern Cities: A Case Study of Kharkiv and Lviv
This article aims to highlight the results of an empirical study of urban identity that was conducted by the author in Kharkiv and Lviv. The theoretical underpinnings of this research are based on the ideas of Manuel Castells and Zygmunt Bauman, as well as others. They assert that under the conditions of (post)modern society, groups which are involved in one way or another in the global post-industrial economy interpret cities and their relationship with them in a variety of ways—in other words, their definitions of urban identity vary. The author’s hypothesis is generally confirmed that groups will interpret their connection to a city in distinct ways: representatives of different groups will differ in their interpretation of the question of what it means to be an “urbanite” or a “true [insert city name]-ian,” in their ways of participating in the resolution of urban issues, etc. The unique features of the sampled Ukrainian cities (Kharkiv, Lviv) are described. The confirmation of the hypothesis serves as an argument in favour of considering urban identity in the context of an “imagined community.” Under such consideration, a city comprises not a “local community” but an aggregate of groups that consider the city to be “theirs” and defend their “right to the city” based on their individual image of the world, which depends on their social, cultural, and economic conditions.
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