Wars of statues in Latvia: The history told and made by public sculpture

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


In Latvia, public sculpture functions as a medium of political communication. Changes of political regimes were accompanied by revisions to public monuments, which reflected the new power relations. Not always did the authorities topple old monuments and erect new ones. Sometimes economic, ethical, cultural and political imperatives required more subtle methods of causing depreciation to unwanted sculptures and introducing new political messages. This paper explains why sculpture was assigned a special role in political communication, and will conceptualise the peculiarities of this communication in semiotic terms. Among the most popular practices in Latvia are renaming monuments, revising inscriptions, circulating new descriptions, ignoring natural decay and banal vandalism, modifying the environment around a sculpture, and using a sculpture as a centrepiece in various ceremonies.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)705-721
Number of pages17
JournalRevue Belge de Philologie et de Histoire
Issue number3-4
Publication statusPublished - 2009

Field of Science*

  • 6.1 History and Archaeology
  • 6.2 Languages and Literature
  • 6.4 Arts (arts, history of arts, performing arts, music)

Publication Type*

  • 1.1. Scientific article indexed in Web of Science and/or Scopus database


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