The Nordic Wave in Place Branding
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The Nordic Wave in Place Branding

Poetics, Practices, Politics

Edited by Cecilia Cassinger, Andrea Lucarelli and Szilvia Gyimóthy

The widespread international interest in the Nordic region and the mobility of Nordic brand imaginaries call for more research into the global relevance of Nordic place-branding practices. This book offers a timely attempt to unpack the specificity of the Nordic in regard to place branding by gathering different transdisciplinary accounts written by researchers in marketing, tourism, geography, communication, sociology and political science.
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Chapter 16: Phantasmal brand Sweden and make-believe in political speech

Mikael Andéhn


This chapter examines the use of places as rhetorical placeholders for ideologies in the context of so called “post-truth” political discourse. By employing the nation of Sweden as a case, ordinary mythologies, narratives and states of affairs that are understood as being true are contrasted to statements and ideas that are presented as if true but generally understood as false, i.e. post truths. Post truths, herein approached as constituting their own form of conceptual media technology, are first examined on the level of their role as alternative mythologies, and are found to be possible to distinguish from ordinary mythologies simply on the basis of the understanding of their veracity. This raises the question of what function post-truth statements, as media, perform. We observe that Sweden offers a particularly interesting case in this context, as the political history and contemporary mediated presentation of the country ascribe it a role as symbolic proxy of particular ideological and political frameworks. We find that post truths enable the dispelling of ordinary mythologies by drawing focus on the tenuousness of their claim to an absolute truth, or reality, illuminated by the readily understood falsehood of post truth statements, a function which, in turn, allows post truths to operate as a form of political resistance.

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