Edited by Andy Pike
Chapter 2: Of Places and Brands
2. Of places and brands Nicolas Papadopoulos INTRODUCTION ‘Place’ is central to human life. From ‘Joseph of Arimathea’ and ‘Mexican standoff’ to ‘French joie de vivre’ and ‘British stiff upper lip’, place designators, whether emphasizing the place itself or the people who live in it or its other characteristics, have been used commonly as a form of shorthand to convey large amounts of both simple and complex information in human communication. Since ‘place’ can refer to a room, building, home, neighbourhood, community, city, subnational region, country, supranational region, or the entire world, we experience it when buying a new home, growing up or working in a city, travelling to a destination, buying services at or products from it, and so on. It would not be an exaggeration to say, by paraphrasing the title of a popular movie, that ‘There’s Something [Very, Very Special] about Place’. Considering its centrality, it is not surprising that place has been studied in a range of disciplines including geography, anthropology, sociology, and environmental psychology (e.g. respectively Brown and Raymond 2007; Low and Lawrence-Zúñiga 2003; Gieryn 2000; Lewicka 2010). In all these fields, interest has been shifting (Cresswell 2004) from studying and describing place in the traditional narrow sense of ‘region’ or ‘location’ to viewing it as a socially constructed experience (Low and Lawrence-Zúñiga 2003) – leading Kearney and Bradley (2009: 79) to conclude that ‘place . . . cannot be separated from people’. As a result, there has recently been growing recognition that place matters considerably more...
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