Edited by Dominic Medway, Gary Warnaby and John Byrom
Chapter 2: Place branding and the neoliberal class settlement
Place branding is much more than helping cities become more competitive. It is an aspect of the class settlement in which neoliberalism displaced social democracy. By developing an interdisciplinary political approach it may gain the reflexivity needed to fully understand its role in society. Place branding does not sell places by changing their image, but actively engages in the political transformation of cities as well as displaying many of the assumptions of that settlement which it helps to legitimate. It also creates a consensus in people’s minds that obscures neoliberalism’s political impacts in shifting power away from ordinary people. By looking at some vignettes of place branding, including London’s South Bank, Glasgow, New York, the Great Exhibition and Canary Wharf, it is clear that we should evaluate the impacts of its policies by looking at people not at places; rather than trying to encourage tourism, for instance, we should be asking what different forms of tourism can do for the inhabitants.
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