The symbolic dimension of Athenian architecture in the constitution of public space’s perception

Nowadays we recognize the contemporary trend of people changing locations (for tourism or temporary settlement). Urban spaces are formed where locals coexist with temporary visitors. People of different cultural and social backgrounds share the same space, but they don’t necessarily share the same perception about symbols, values and norms of that culture. In this communication we try to tackle the question: how do people of different cultural backgrounds perceive these spatial symbols? Our scope is to examine the perceptual and emotional relation of both locals and temporary visitors on the spatial symbols that form part of the Greek cultural structure. Theoretically the topic has been approached by both psychoanalytic and cultural anthropology literature. The study draws from the notions of collective unconsciousness stemming from the works of Levi Strauss and Bourdieu and the Symbolic as it is defined in the psychoanalytic theory of Lacan. Methodologically we have tried to empirically examine how Greek locals perceive the spatial symbols of their cultural background. Participants were asked to create a storytelling collage based on specific pictures of the Athenian center. Through that exercise we tried to tackle the question: does the habitual repetition of everyday life hides these symbols in the local’s perception despite their intensity and importance?