Creativity and Cultural Capital in the Periphery Evidence from Two Greek Cities

Creativity and Cultural Capital in the Periphery Evidence from Two Greek Cities

Dimitrios Stavroulakis, Roido Mitoula, Panagiotis Kaldis, Aristides Papagrigoriou
Copyright: © 2013 |Pages: 22
DOI: 10.4018/ijsem.2013040104
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A comparative study of two Greek cities, Chania and Kalamata, has been conducted regarding their creative potential. The cities are similar in many ways, i.e. regarding climate, goods produced, dependence on tourism etc, yet their cultural capital has been created through different patterns, and also identity formation of local societies has been built on different foundations. Cultural policies of the municipalities have also been oriented to different goals. Municipality of Kalamata has launched an all-encompassing cultural campaign, having dance as its spearhead. On the other hand, municipality of Chania, while offering an integrated cultural program in summer, it focuses more on letters and local history. Since promotion of arts has been hindered due to austerity measures, municipalities had to re-orient their strategy according to the new unfavorable developments. Despite their rich cultural capital, it is questionable whether these cities could be designated as “creative” according to Florida’s criteria, mainly because of the tight bonding ties of local societies.
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The term “creative” has permeated most facets of contemporary life, and creativity has been indicated as a panacea for most problems. Indeed, since creativity is a ubiquitous issue and creative interventions may be applied in manifold ways in economy and society, then the adjective “creative” ought not to be confined within the domain of a specific industry. Rather, it indicates an approach applicable to any sector of the economy. In the recent years, adjustment of “creative” to issues such as city, culture, art etc reflects the need for novel approaches to work and life.

Aim of this study is to examine to what extent Florida’s creative theories, emanating from totally different cultural and economic contexts, are of relevance to Greek peripheral cities. In this respect, competitive assets of the municipalities of Chania and Kalamata (economic infrastructure, cultural capital, communications, education & research) have been examined. Along with other welfare activities in Greece (education, healthcare, NGO projects), cultural events also have often been conducted uncritically, without scrutinizing particularly costs or revenues. If crises can be also viewed as opportunities, then the ongoing economic crisis dictated rationalization, by introducing evaluation of cultural activities not only according to their effect, but also according to their gate-money capacity. Aim of this research is also to tackle the question of viability and to investigate the impact of economic crisis on cultural policies of municipalities.

Both cities of our research are located by Southwestern Greece and the distance separating the two prefectures is rather small, approximately 116 miles (see Figure 1). Prefectures are connected by ship, but communication is infrequent and mostly commercial, except in the summer months. The decisive criterion regarding selection of these two particular cities was that despite their geographic proximity, their cultural backgrounds, as well as mentality of people, were found to differ significantly. For example, Chania has substantially greater cultural relevance with Siteia, a town located at the eastern part of Crete, about 290km apart, than with Kalamata. Tortuous Mediterranean shores may sustain a gloss of cultural affinity, yet influences from the interior seem to play a more important role – although this was not always the rule in the history of the area.

Figure 1.

Distance between Kalamata and Chania


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