Symbolic geopolitical capital and urban space

Symbolic geopolitical capital and urban space

Axenov K.E.,

Saint Petersburg State University, Saint Petersburg, Russia,

elibrary_id: 73892 | ORCID: 0000-0002-4728-0121 |

Article received: 2023.03.06. Accepted: 2023.06.28

DOI: 10.17976/jpps/2024.01.06

For citation:

Axenov K.E. Symbolic geopolitical capital and urban space. – Polis. Political Studies. 2024. No. 1. P. 67-88. (In Russ.). EDN: EXIXCQ


The purpose of the work is to identify a special subject area in the research of symbolic capital of cities – symbolic geopolitical capital – and to identify its connection with urban space. The author defines environmental symbolic resources – urban signs or symbol carriers – the category of symbolic geopolitical capital (SGC), reveals their structure based on the applied example of St. Petersburg, as well as the principles of interaction with the urban environment and some ways in which SGK in symbolic politics are determined. The material carriers of symbols have at least four special properties that give the actors of urban symbolic politics an advantage when using these carriers in a competitive struggle: the duration of their existence and anchoring in the fabric of the city; the power of nomination – ideas about their legitimacy and public recognition; they are more likely to be encoded by the consciousness of the citizen in the form of a priori “normal”, “comfortable” and positive perception; and they provide the actors of symbolic politics with special means of political maneuver, using the principle of separation and variability of interpretations of such signs. In addition to the principles of placement described for each category of signs, their generalized types are highlighted: spatial concentration, spatial confinement, spatial hierarchy and effective spatial representation. The means of symbolic management using SGC are described, such as: all kinds of physical actions with the carriers themselves; activism correlated with them; producing new political meanings of their nominations and renominations; reinterpretation of existing and production of new symbols and associated signs, thereby – the production of new symbolic resources and the reconfiguration of the symbolic space of the city. Examples are given of urban conflicts related to geopolitical urban signs reflected in public discourse. They are grouped by potential sources of conflictogenicity due to the different attitudes of actors to: practices and manifestations of territorial strategies, their results and consequences; concepts and proposed worldviews; ideas about control over territory. A number of principles and patterns for the formation and use of symbolic geopolitical capital associated with urban space in politics are formulated: specialization in the nomination, the “latent” nature of the potential for conflict inherent in the SGC, the change of hierarchies, stages or “waves” of geopolitical symbolic policy in urban space, the formation of a “geopolitical symbolic footprint”.

symbolic capital, symbolic resources, urban space, critical geopolitics, urban conflicts, urban signs, monuments, toponymy, religious objects.


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Content No. 1, 2024

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