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The soft power of commercialised nationalist symbols: Using media analysis to understand nation branding campaigns

Bolin, Göran and Miazhevich, Galina 2018. The soft power of commercialised nationalist symbols: Using media analysis to understand nation branding campaigns. European Journal of Cultural Studies 21 (5) , pp. 527-542. 10.1177/1367549417751153

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Since the late 1990s, nation branding has attracted a lot of attention from academics, professional consultants and government actors. The ideas and practices of nation branding are frequently presented by branding advocates as necessary and even inevitable in the light of changing dynamics of political power and influence in a globalised and media-saturated world. In this context, some have argued that nation branding is a way to reduce international conflict and supplant ethno-nationalism with a new form of market-based, national image management. However, a growing body of critical studies has documented that branding campaigns tend to produce ahistorical and exclusionary representations of the nation and advance a form of ‘commercial nationalism’ that is problematic. Importantly, the critical scholarship on nation branding has relied primarily on sociological and anthropological theories of nationhood, identities and markets. By contrast, the role of the media – as institutions, systems and societal storytellers – has been undertheorised in relation to nation branding. The majority of the existing literature tends to treat the media as ‘neutral’ vehicles for the delivery of branding messages to various audiences. This is the guest editors’ introduction to the Special Issue ‘Theorizing Media in Nation Branding’, which seeks to problematise this overly simplistic view of ‘the media’ and aims to articulate the various ways in which specific media are an integral part of nation branding. It adopts an interdisciplinary approach and problematises both the enabling and the inhibiting potentialities of different types of media as they perpetuate nation branding ideas, images, ideologies, discourses and practices.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: Journalism, Media and Culture
Publisher: SAGE Publications
ISSN: 1367-5494
Date of First Compliant Deposit: 5 February 2018
Date of Acceptance: 31 January 2018
Last Modified: 18 Oct 2019 14:16

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