Andrea Lucarelli, Lecturer at Lund University in Sweden, in this interview discusses his research into the political dimension of place branding, tells us what's "hot" in place branding research and looks at the differences between place branding as practiced in Sweden and Italy - and his thoughts about the role of social media.
Andrea, do you remember when you first heard about the concept of “place branding”? What got you interested in studying the politics of place image and identity?
I was a master student when I first heard about it - during a course held by Professor Per Olof Berg (who later became my PhD supervisor). I wrote my master thesis under his supervision, on that topic.
While collecting data for my thesis, I got interested in the "political dimension" of place branding, mainly as consequence of reflecting on what was happening in my own home region in Italy. I realized that the process of creating a brand for a place, or creating an identity and image for a community, was much more debated, contested and parochial, compared to the one presented in place branding literature at that time.
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