An anthropology of the politics of European Capitals of Culture as seen from the “margins”: A comparative ethnography of GeNova04, Marseille-Provence 2013, and Matera-Basilicata 2019

By Maria Elena Buslacchi


In this paper, I draw an ethnography of the European cultural policy designating European Capitals of Culture by analyzing the Mediterranean case studies of Genoa 2004, Marseille-Provence 2013, and Matera-Basilicata 2019. In particular, I focus on the implications of the policy in terms of the positioning of local institutions, the involvement of inhabitants, and the deployment of certain values. By observing this policy as part of a long-term process, I highlight a number of crucial phases in the recomposition and reconfiguration of local power structures, with European requirements and incentives blending with territorial pressures to ultimately become their instruments.


  • European Capitals of Culture
  • Political anthropology
  • Governance
  • Cultural policies
  • Urban regeneration
Go to the article on