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LRDG: Commercial discourses, gentrification and citizens' protest: the linguistic landscape of Prenzlauer Berg, Berlin

Date: 18 October 2011 Time: 1 - 2 pm

Venue: C89, County South

Uta Papen, Lancaster University: Since reunification in 1990, Prenzlauer Berg, located in the former East Berlin, has turned from a cheap and neglected area into a popular middle class neighbourhood. The area's new character is reflected in its linguistic landscape. These days the signs of posh shops and trendy bars adorn its streets. But alternative views are noticeable too. Graffiti is present even on the most expensively refurbished buildings and residents put up slogans to protest against their flats being refurbished and sold to new owners. In my talk, I present examples of the changing graphic environment of Prenzlauer Berg. These show that despite the strong influence of commercial discourses the public space remains an area of contestation between civil society and the state. More generally, I will argue that linguistic landscape research, used primarily to shed light on aspects of multilingualism, can be harnessed to seek insights into much broader issues relating to social change, urban renewal and gentrification.

Event website:


Who can attend: Anyone


Further information

Associated staff: Uta Papen

Organising departments and research centres: Lancaster Literacy Research Centre, Linguistics and English Language

Keywords: Cities, Discourse, Linguistic ethnography, Literacy practices


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Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences
Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences
Lancaster University
Lancaster LA1 4YD
United Kingdom

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