Representation and power - Discursive constructions of stakeholder positions in regional place marketing collaboration
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CitationHalme, Juha. (2020). Representation and power - Discursive constructions of stakeholder positions in regional place marketing collaboration. Environment and planning c : Politics and space, 38 (7-8) , 1447-1464. 10.1177/2399654420932917.
The aim of this paper is to study the power dynamics that unfold as part of communicative processes in place marketing collaboration, as exemplified in the EU’s developed but peripheral regional settings. The paper applies positioning theory to analyse how power dynamics are constructed through the distribution of rights and duties between participating stakeholders in two regional-level place marketing projects carried out in Eastern Finland between 2011 and 2014. The analysis of 24 interviews reveals story lines that unfold as part of a collaborative process between steering group representatives. Focus is given to the attribution of rights and duties to the stakeholders within these story lines, and the power dynamics that manifest as a result. Two central story lines are identified. In the formal story line positioning is related to the distribution of funding, regional scope of the projects, and the formal roles of stakeholders. In the spatial story line positioning concerned the dominance of regional centres and the spatial proximity between stakeholders. While the paper underlines the potential of positioning theory for understanding power dynamics in place marketing contexts, the findings are limited to specific geographical and institutional contexts. However, the paper presents a novel approach to the analysis of power dynamics in place marketing and branding by bringing attention to the normative aspects of power in communicative processes. This helps to identify and address the tension caused by power dynamics in place marketing and branding collaborations, which has been identified as a central challenge in recent literature.