A Multi-scalar Approach to Place Branding: The 150th Anniversary of Italian Unification in Turin
journal contributionposted on 06.05.2016, 15:46 by Massimo Giovanardi
This study draws from an interpretation of scale as a social construct to elaborate a multi-scalar approach to place branding that represents a growing set of theories and managerial practices aimed at leveraging the reputational capital of places. The article unveils that far from consisting of clear-cut processes which occur within a pre-given and fixed set of scalar boundaries, city, regional, country and supra-national brandings actually converge in a complex mechanism of intertwined practices and discourses. By grounding its theoretical investigation in a case study about the celebration of the 150th anniversary of Italian unification, this paper furthers the understanding of place branding from a multi-level perspective, addressing the tendency of previous studies to treat scale as a fixed hierarchy of nested levels. The findings show that scalar boundaries remain significant for the purpose of coordination and identification among the institutional actors involved. And yet, the investigation highlights that scalar boundaries do not constitute a structure of ontologically given contexts, but rather are the outcome of an ongoing dialectic process among place stakeholders through which scalar relations are constantly reproduced and nurtured during the staging of the place branding project.