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Place Branding and the formation of Public Norms (Abstract only)

Syssner, Josefina
Year of Publication: 
Series/Report no.: 
50th Congress of the European Regional Science Association: "Sustainable Regional Growth and Development in the Creative Knowledge Economy", 19-23 August 2010, Jönköping, Sweden
In recent years, place branding has become a core practice in strategies of local and regional development (Markussen 1996; Kotler 2002; Anholt 2002; Gertner 2007; Gilmore 2002). Local and regional representatives in most parts of the western world are concerned with promoting their local or regional space, with 'putting it on the map' and with creating a positive and distinct image for it (see Syssner 2006). Alongside with the increasing political interest in place branding, a rich array of academic studies and popular hand books have been devoted the issue (Gertner 2007; Kotler, Jatusripitak and Maesincee 1997; Kotler, Haider, Rein 1993; Olins 2002). One weakness of contemporary research on place branding however, is that much of it fails to acknowledge the power dimension attached to this field. Far too often, place branding research aims to find 'best practices' or examples of how problem areas most efficiently could be loaded with new values and attached with new and positive connotations. And far too often, those who whish to engage in critical social scientific research, dismiss the entire field of place branding as an allegedly superficial and a-political one. In this paper, I aim to address the politics of place branding in against the background of theories regarding contemporary re-scaling of statehood (Brenner 2004). The issue of place branding will thus be approached as an important dimension of new forms of urban or regional governance. The paper will strive to provide a theoretical framework for an analysis of those norms, values and ideas that are forwarded in processes of place branding. This framework is then to be applied in a three-case comparative study of the diffusion of norms and values in place branding practices. A special attention will be devoted the question of how the decisions to forward some values (and not some others) are taken, and what the role of the citizens is in this process.
Document Type: 
Conference Paper

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