Place branding: A Nordic perspective
Summary, in English
This paper examines the Nordic as an ideological, cultural, and geographical site from which to examine place branding. Although a number of studies have addressed Nordic place brands and branding, the peculiarity of branding within the Nordic welfare states remains understudied (Lucarelli et al., forthcoming 2019). The unusual open access to the field of practice granted to researchers (at least compared to Anglo-Saxon and European standard), and the particular political, institutional, cultural environment of the Nordic has not fully been unpacked. The limited scope of previous studies on place branding paired with a widespread international interest for the “Nordic” as both a geographical place, moral orientation, and (normative) discourse calls for more research into the global relevance of Nordic place branding. The Nordic is thus not confined to a region, but is approached as an idea that travels across the world. The literature on Nordic place branding is emergent and deals with disparate themes such as conceptual issues (Andersson, 2014; Niedomysl & Jonasson, 2012), nation branding (Ren & Gyimóthy, 2013; Cassinger et al. 2016), regional branding (Syssner, 2009; Wæraas et al., 2015), and city branding (Lucarelli & Berg, 2011). The present study offers a focused reading across different approaches and empirical fields in order to explore the peculiarity of Nordic place branding. The Nordic is here addressed as an ideological orientation and a cultural construct, as well as an empirical context from which to explore place branding practices and theories. In particular, the Nordic research tradition is argued to be suited to push critical, but hence far not sufficiently explored, issues in place branding, such as feminism, bio-ethics, sustainability, and social justice. It is further suggested that from a Nordic perspective place branding is characterised by processes of depoliticization, consensus, collaboration, and transparency. These peculiarities may be used for building theories and developing methods, which can be extended to the Anglo-Saxon and European field of research and practice.