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Ideology and Urbanism in a Flux

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Making Sofia Socialist in the Stalinist Period and Beyond

image of Southeastern Europe

The socialist reconstruction of Sofia evolved at the juncture of institution-building, formation of professional expertise and social engineering, framed by a party ideology in a flux that time and again revised the social mission of urbanism and the professional role of the architect. This paper first focuses on four areas of Sofia’s reconstruction that illustrate the interplay of ideology and urbanism in the Stalinist years: the endorsement and subsequent betrayal of Marxist guidelines for urban planning; the replication of the leader cult and its prime monument, the Mausoleum; the reorganization of architects into a Soviet-style professional union; the application of the Stalinist art canon in monumental architecture. The paper then discusses how de-Stalinization affected urban planning, public architecture and architects’ professional standing. It concludes by reflecting on the post-1989 transformation of Sofia as a radical breach with socialism or a symptom of path dependence.

Affiliations: 1: European University Institute, Florence, Italy, elitza.stanoeva@eui.eu

10.1163/18763332-04102002
/content/journals/10.1163/18763332-04102002
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2017-06-09
2018-08-19

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