Cross-comparing the Concept of “United in Diversity” as Expressed by European Capitals of Culture

Nicole Basaraba

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

41 Downloads (Pure)


This paper examines the conceptualization and expression of cultural diversity and unity within the European Capitals of Culture (ECOC) initiative using a case study approach. Previous case studies have examined the impacts of the programmes from a single-city perspective and used quantitative and economic-focused approaches to evaluate impact. However, the ECOC initiative was intended to showcase the diverse cultures in Europe rather than focus on economic outcomes. A cultural discourse analysis was applied to eight winning cities between 2015 and 2019 (proceeding the onset of COVID-19) to answer the question: are ECOC focusing on expressing their national or regional diversity and identities or are they communicating a more generalized European perspective? The results showed that in the past five-year ECOCs have chosen to engage in more diverse and localized forms of cultural expression in their events, but not in their visual communications. Based on the analysis, a series of recommendations for future programme development are made (also published as a separate policy brief) to enhance ECOC’s ability to balance the communication of their diversity with their connection to Europe.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)357-378
Number of pages22
JournalJournal of Intercultural Communication Research
Issue number4
Early online date15 Dec 2022
Publication statusPublished - 4 Jul 2023

Bibliographical note

© 2022 The Author(s). Published by Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group. This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives License (, which permits non-commercial re-use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited, and is not altered, transformed, or built upon in any way


  • European capitals of culture
  • citizen participation
  • cultural expression
  • cultural heritage
  • cultural programmes
  • cultural tourism
  • discourse analysis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cultural Studies
  • Communication


Dive into the research topics of 'Cross-comparing the Concept of “United in Diversity” as Expressed by European Capitals of Culture'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this