Branding European Cities and Regions
Edited by Gregory Ashworth and Mihalis Kavaratzis
Chapter 6: Managing Otherness: The Political Economy of Place Images in the Case of Tuscany
6. Managing Otherness: the political economy of place images in the case of Tuscany Nicola Bellini, Anna Loffredo and Cecilia Pasquinelli INTRODUCTION Discussions about image and branding policies are usually placed in the framework of ‘place marketing’ and marketing literature helps in defining the features, components and main characters of image and of its relationship with local identity. We suggest, however, that managing images is also a political process with significant impact in supporting and shaping the scenario (perceptions and expectations) for innovation and economic policies (Bellini, 2004). The argument is supported by two different and complementary case studies from Tuscany (Italy). The first one discusses the case of areas that show a divergence from the dominating pattern of social and economic development in the region. It is shown that ‘managing otherness’ is more than a communication problem and may reveal underlying ambiguities: at the same time, a request for supporting structurally disadvantaged areas and the affirmation of an alternative identity and of alternative development patterns. The second case study shows a different kind of ‘otherness’, concerning new industries and emerging social groups. Discussion shows that the branding process may imply a competition between images in order to control the representation of the past, present and future of an area. This competition aims at influencing the policy agenda by manipulating the gaps between image and identity. 89 90 Towards effective place brand management THE THEORY The Lessons from Marketing Place image (the image of a region, of a city etc...
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