This geographical case study of the `new town' of Nowa Huta - a Soviet-financed district of Kraków built for Poland's largest steelworks and its workers in the 1950s -- explores the representations of place produced for tourist consumption and their relationship to neoliberalizing discourses of economic regeneration. Since 1989, Nowa Huta has suffered from a tarnished image due to its associations with the repudiated communist regime. In the last several years, however, local entrepreneurs have begun to organize tours for Western visitors eager to see beyond the mass-market tourism of Krakow's Old Town, while local residents, dismayed by the image of their district in the popular imagination, have begun to find new ways of rebuilding its reputation.
My project identifies alternative discourses about Nowa Huta that challenge its dominant representation as a dreary urban wasteland and a failed social experiment. Moreover, this struggle to control space echoes a much larger issue that resonates through all post-socialist countries: how the communist past is reframed to support specific representations of national identity. This case study makes clear the desires of the state (at multiple scales) to marginalize emphasis on the communist period in order to forge new national identities and to attract global capital. Understanding the congruence (or lack thereof) between tourist-driven entrepreneurship, grassroots identity formation, and economic development activity is essential in assessing the long-term viability of communist heritage tourism, and indeed, the potential for these states to rise out of positions of marginality within the European Union and the global economy.
University of Minnesota Ph.D. dissertation. November 2008. Major: Geography. Advisor: Dr. Roger P. Miller. 1 computer file (PDF); vii, 264 pages, appendices A-C. Ill. (some col.)
Otto, Judith Emily.
Representing communism: discourses of heritage tourism and economic regeneration in Nowa Huta, Poland..
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