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Nation branding is regarded as essential for competitiveness among countries, but the idea of branding nations is often derided as lacking seriousness. While nation branding has been on the radar of scholars of marketing, communication, and media studies, as well as political geography for decades, it has only made a small dent into the international relations field. In Nation Branding and International Politics Christopher Browning argues that international relations should take nation branding seriously. Nation branding not only involves the issues of culture, identity, and status – which are of principal concern to IR – but it is also a different and potentially fruitful way of reconceptualizing statehood. Mobilizing work on ontological security, anxiety, status, and distinction, and grounding the analysis in a broader historical context, Browning finds that nation branding is politically significant, though not necessarily for the reasons its advocates claim. Specifically, the book raises important questions about nation branding’s influence on the constitution of national identity, the reframing of citizenship, and the topography of contemporary geopolitics. Nation Branding and International Politics considers how status, prestige, and reputation are constructed and maintained in international society, and how, perhaps, this construction and maintenance may be changing – just as the practice of nation branding is changing.
About the Author
Christopher S. Browning is reader of politics and international studies at the University of Warwick.
“Browning rejects the notion that nation branding is a mere tool, seeing it as a deeply political project instead. He challenges the pacifying nature of nation branding, its emancipatory potential and its role in building understanding between states. Instead, he invites readers to consider how nation branding practices reinforce the status quo. In demonstrating the false promise of nation branding, Browning effectively opens up new avenues for further inquiry.” International Affairs
“Christopher Browning argues convincingly that nation branding maps onto a wide variety of modes of twenty-first-century statecraft, serving as a useful implement for states as varied as Sweden, Colombia, and North Korea. In his careful treatment of the subject, he fills a gap in the field of international politics, and does so with confidence, careful scholarship, and highly relevant examples. This book will be the text of choice for international relations scholars, bringing together previous work across multiple disciplines to create a meaningful synthesis” Robert A. Saunders, State University of New York and author of Geopolitics, Northern Europe, and Nordic Noir: What Television Series Tell Us about World Politics