The ‘exotic’ phenomenon of the American Bar in interwar Berlin and Prague: Re-reading the concept of place
This paper deals with the socio-spatial relations of changes in the concept of place. Since the 1970s, place has been one of the key terms of humanistic geography. Therefore, this paper reflects how the concept of place, its functions and meanings could be applied in the changing space-time and social contexts. The ‘exotic’ phenomenon of the American Bar which had penetrated into Europe in the first half of the 20th century can be regarded as a representative of place when it had emerged during Americanisation as a new cultural element. This article compares the interwar development of this phenomenon in two European capitals (Berlin, Prague) and analyses both differences and the common attributes of the process of forming place. Emphasis is placed not only on the localisation of the American Bar, but also on more complex historical and geographical analysis of its development and perception that were characteristic exclusively for the Central European region. Using the archive materials, the contemporary press, legislative measures and professional and memoir literature, the study confirms that the American Bar phenomenon had acquired different meanings within different contexts which had changed over time and which can be documented through the “spreading” of this phenomenon in space.