European Capital of Culture aims at promoting European integration, as the EU moves from being an economic and trade union towards increasingly becoming a political union in need of cultural legitimacy. This project focuses on how “Europe” constitutes a framework for conceptualizing the activities and events of Aarhus as European Capital of Culture 2017, focusing on how Aarhus 2017 is represented as a European cultural event. The focus on meanings associated with “Europe” is very timely. The political project of the EU seems increasingly under pressure in the aftermath of the Brexit referendum, and given the effects of economic recession, ongoing debates regarding borders and immigration, and the rise of neonationalism.
This project will explore the following:
With these two focal points, the project reflects a combined focus on top down communication and bottom up effects. Discourse analysis is used to analyse how “Europe” is constructed in written communication about program events is, while the method used to identify people’s attitudes to Europe and the European dimension of Aarhus 2017 is vox pop interviews, where people attending various Aarhus 2017 events are asked for their opinions on European culture as reflected in various festival activities and whether it has led them to think about Europe any differently. This study thus sheds light on the impact of Aarhus 2017 in relation to the promotion of Europe and European culture.