Re-territorialization of Space in South Slovakia – Visual Practices of Village Signs

Gábor Oláh


This article examines a recent example of symbolic geography and attempts to analyse the practice of reterritorialization of space by stressing the cultural and national character of particular settlements. The author shows that with expanding business, work and study opportunities globalisation may be causing the disappearance of borders, but on the other hand it can cause the emergence of renewed symbolic borders based on cultural and national identity. The article is based on a limited research project in a number of south Slovakian villages containing substantial Hungarian populations, focusing on village signs written in the runic székely script, which is identified by the author as a national symbol transported from Transylvania, and which recently became an ideal representation of authentic Hungarian culture. The signs link the towns with the memory of Greater Hungary, manifest the cultural and historical supremacy of Hungarians living in the area, and signify the territory,or in other words reterritorialize the space. The reterritorialization process creates a mental map that unites the Hungarian nation and shows that meaning and territory are strongly bounded.

Klíčová slova

symbolic geography; space; de-territorialization; re-territorialization; national identity; cultural identity; performativity; visual representation

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