Chapter 10: Place branding and place narratives
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This chapter discusses the potential of narratives in facilitating community engagement through a participative place branding process. Narrative is an important mode through which people construct reality and as such narrative is also implicated in the formation of place. As means through which we can make sense of people’s experiences of place and their desires and aspirations, narratives are also relevant to the aims of bottom-up, participative place branding programmes. These approaches are gaining popularity, following criticisms of top-down place branding for failing to resonate with place realities and the disenchantment of different communities with place brands. Finally, addressing methodological considerations of the narrative inquiry approach, the chapter examines ways to access, elicit and make sense of place narratives. The narrative perspective advocated here puts emphasis on branding as a reflexive, dynamic and collaborative process that embraces and works with the inherent tensions and contradictions of places.

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