Calls > Session 7

7 – Marketing and staging territories: material representations and reactions

Co-facilitators: Pascale NEDELEC (CREDA) & Laura PÉAUD (PACTE)

In an economic context of increasing international competition between metropolises or regions to attract investors and new inhabitants, policies designed to achieve this have become vital for local governments, reinforcing the role of place marketing in the urban and territorial fabric. Institutional material representations have therefore increased, encompassing advertising media, urban planning documents, posters on construction sites or even city slogans. Such representations are part of the semiotic process of “city branding” or “territorial branding” ensuring visibility at the global scale.

This session aims to analyse the performativity of the institutional material representations of such regions and metropolises, representations designed by local governments, urban planning agencies, architecture firms, etc. Three lines of questioning will be given priority:
- How are material representations produced and designed? How are metropolises, medium-sized cities or regions staged and marketed?
- How are metropolitan or regional symbols and images disseminated, be it at the local, national or international scale(s)? Which audience is targeted and why?
- How are representations perceived and understood? Do they contribute to the metropolitan and/or regional sense of place (if there is any)? Or, on the contrary, do they only target outsiders in order to increase territorial attractiveness?

Building on diverse material (fieldwork and surveys, discourse and image analysis, interviews, etc.), this session invites researchers to question the performativity of metropolitan, regional and even medium-sized city representations in various spatial contexts – a comparison between metropolises from the Global North and South would be appreciated – and whether these representations are successful or not.


Dinnie K., 2010, City branding. Theory and Cases, Palgrave Macmillan.
Evans G., 2003, “Hard-branding the cultural city – from Prado to Prada”, International Journal of Urban and Regional Research, 27(2)
Houllier-Guibert C.-E., 2012, « De la communication publique vers le marketing des territoires : approche microsociologique de la fabrication de l'image de marque », Gestion et management public, 1(2), pp. 35-49.
Kavaratzis M., 2004, Place Branding Public Diplomacy, Palgrave Macmillan.
Marcotte P. et al., 2011, « Branding et labels en tourisme : réticences et défis », Management & Avenir, 7(47), pp. 205-222.
Riza M., Doratli N., Fasli M., 2012, "City Branding and Identity", Procedia - Social and Behavioral Sciences, n° 35, pp. 293-300.
Seisdedos G., 2006, State of the Art of Citymarketing in European Cities, Istanbul, 42nd IsoCaRP Congress.

Expected types of paper

Although the session encourages presentations on the results of field studies, proposals concerning the methodology and theoretical approach to these questions are not excluded. Communications are also welcome on metropolises, medium-sized cities and regions of France, Europe and the developed world as well as cities in the emerging and less-developed countries. We strongly encourage spatial comparisons that take into account different contexts as well as comparisons of scale. Communications from different fields will also be particularly appreciated. Thus contributions from sociology, history, architecture, urban studies, management sciences, philosophy and geography will be welcome, along with a comparison of the different viewpoints underpinning such contributions.

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