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SIEF2015 12th Congress: Zagreb, Croatia.
21-25 June 2015


Heritage management and identity brands: interplay and stakes (En-Fr)

Location D6
Date and Start Time 24 June, 2015 at 10:30


Sonia Catrina (CSIER-Centre for the Study of the Jewish History in Romania & CEREFREA-Centre Régional francophone de recherches avancées en sciences sociales) email
Angelica Helena Marinescu (University of Bucharest) email
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Short Abstract

This session seeks to examine the processes of assigning economic value to cultural and natural heritage and promoting it as an identity brand.It aims to scrutinize the extent to which the branding processes encapsulate authenticity or fake-authenticity, genuine or counterfeit, realities or utopias.

Long Abstract

Constructing an identity brand means identifying a potential attraction of a place and promoting it as a specific form of tourism. Lately, built heritage - sometimes associated with other endogenous resources such as a preserved natural environment, local products, traditional practices and customs - has become an important economic resource to be mobilized in tourism. By considering identity brands as a construction undertaken with the purpose to attract more visitors to a certain destination and thus enhance local development, our endeavour is to scrutinize the human agency in such processes.

In line with this topic, our session seeks papers addressing the issue of shaping a place as a tourist destination by questioning the role heritage plays in development plans for urban or rural areas, along with the power relations in instrumenting identity brands.

On the one hand, we would like to examine the extent to which the processes of branding heritage entail negotiating between the "genuine" state of places and the idealistic or imaginary manners of portraying them. On the other hand, we ask ourselves to what extent cultural and natural tourism-oriented discourses forged as part of political and cultural strategy reflect the local people's representations about their place and in what circumstances the rejection of a brand by indigenous (dissident) people may promote alternative rhetoric of local communities' identity-building.

Colleagues whose embedded reflections provide overviews of the recently symbolic usages and displays of heritage within rural or urban development plans are invited to submit their proposals.

This panel is closed to new paper proposals.


Co-construction d'un imaginaire touristique et d'une identité locale : le cas de Grasse (France) / The tourist imaginary and local identity co-construction: the example of Grasse

Author: Chloé Rosati-Marzetti (Université Côte d'Azur)  email

Short Abstract

L'imaginaire touristique et l'identité locale sont intimement liés, chacun d'entre eux nourrissant l'autre. La publicité touristique joue un rôle primordial dans la fréquentation du site et influe sur l'identité des habitants comme le montre l'exemple d'une étude de la ville de Grasse (France).

Long Abstract

L'imaginaire touristique et l'identité locale sont intimement liés, chacun d'entre eux nourrissant l'autre. C'est ce que nous verrons ici à travers l'exemple de la ville de Grasse (en France, dans les Alpes-Maritimes). Cette ville, lieu de villégiature dès le XVIIIe siècle, est un site touristique lié à la production des parfums depuis les années 1920. Aujourd'hui, la ville est délaissée par les visiteurs au profit de la côte, les professionnels du tourisme et les édiles mettent en œuvre des stratégies pour rendre la ville à nouveau attractive. Autoproclamée « Capitale Mondiale des Parfums », la ville de Grasse a vu son aménagement urbain et ses infrastructures se modifier pour abonder dans ce sens. L'iconographie touristique, le mobilier urbain et les labels sont tant d'outils qui attirent les touristes. En ce sens, un dossier de candidature à l'obtention du label « Patrimoine Culturel Immatériel de l'humanité » remis par l'UNESCO pour les savoir-faire liés au parfum se trouve aujourd'hui être l'ultime consécration dont aurait besoin la ville pour être de nouveau reconnue officiellement. Lors de ces rencontres, à travers cette étude de la ville, nous nous proposons de déconstruire et décrypter la co-construction de l'imaginaire touristique et de l'identité locale, chacune alimentant l'autre tour à tour.

Reveal of national heritage in advertising local brands

Author: Elena-Madalina Buga-Moraru (University of Bucharest)  email

Short Abstract

Advertising personalizes brands and runs campaigns particularly addressed to local consumers. This paper aims to demonstrate that Romanian brands create their identity mainly by strategically developing national heritage, and especially by associating it with the myth of origins.

Long Abstract

Aside from its marketing purpose, advertising also has a role in mass-communication; more specifically, it personalizes brands and runs campaigns particularly addressed to local consumers. The present paper aims to demonstrate that Romanian brands create their identity by strategically developing national heritage, and especially by associating it with the myth of origins. Brands deliver creative products whose campaigns usually explain the genesis of the product, often related to the production process.

In light of this background, I selected 10 Romanian local brands belonging to a range of product categories to analyze the development of their heritage: Napolact and Covalact (dairy), Scandia (pâté), Rom (chocolate), Murfatlar (wine), Timişoreana (beer), Boromir (bakery), Dacia (automobile), Dero (detergents) and Altex (electronics retailer). Subsequently, I focused on a corpus composed of at least 100 television advertisements belonging to the aforementioned brands that ran on public media after 2005. The theme of heritage was researched, through a stratified qualitative method, which will consider aspects such as: the context of corpus campaigns (the environment where the product was created, urban or rural), brand positioning, the campaign hero, strategy, and features of brand heritage.

We aim to answer the following questions to explain the role of local brands in preserving national heritage: What is the connection between product categories and cultural heritage? How important is the rural or urban environment in building brand identity? Our main hypothesis is that rediscovering genuine brands involves managing their identity according to the cultural heritage of consumers and market characteristics.

Beyond the brand: Dubai's dokkans as places of belonging

Authors: Anke Reichenbach (Zayed University Dubai)  email
Suhaila Al Behandy (Zayed University)  email

Short Abstract

This paper explores to what extent Dubai’s citizens identify with the Dubai brand and its focus on places of lavish consumption and Orientalist fantasies. Alternative public discourses suggest that Dubayyans’ sense of belonging is linked to more mundane spaces such as the neighborhood corner shop.

Long Abstract

On the global stage, Dubai's self-presentation as an upscale tourist destination, characterized by iconic architecture, lavish consumption, and 'Oriental' traditions including desert safaris and 'heritage-inspired' luxury hotels, has been very successful. But how do Dubai's indigenous citizens identify with the brand?

This paper will show that local attitudes toward the city's 'brandscape' (Klingmann 2007) are ambivalent, entailing patriotic pride but also the perception that Dubai's extravagant projects and invented traditions are not created for Dubayyans themselves but for an international audience dreaming of a hedonistic Orientalist utopia. Dubayyans' emotional attachment to the brand and its spectacular built environments is therefore weak; feelings of social belonging and cultural identity are instead linked to more mundane spaces of everyday life that have survived Dubai's modernization frenzy, such as the dokkan, or neighborhood corner shop.

The recent threat of the dokkans' enforced closure due to 'unhygienic conditions' triggered public debates that defended the small shops as essential part of local popular culture. Described as neighborhood institutions that generations of Dubayyans have grown up with, the dokkans were lovingly portrayed as places with deep memories connecting owners, shopkeepers and patrons, and as rich stores of sensory experiences through the colors, flavors and odors of their familiar products. Although far removed from the glitter of the Dubai brand, the dokkan has emerged in these alternative discourses as symbol of 'authentic' community life that for Dubayyans' sense of place is more relevant than tall towers or the fantasies of 1001 nights sold to foreign tourists.

Les produits traditionnels roumains, expression du terroir ou stratégie de marketing?

Authors: Angelica Helena Marinescu (University of Bucharest)  email
Anda Becut (National Institute for Research and Cultural Training)  email

Short Abstract

Notre recherche analyse dans quelle mesure les produits alimentaires traditionnels roumains sont une expression de la spécificité locale ou nationale, ou sont uniquement un instrument très utile dans les stratégies de marketing des sociétés commerciales.

Long Abstract

L'introduction du système de qualité alimentaire marque le processus de patrimonialisation du goût et les produits traditionnels deviennent partie du patrimoine culturel d'une nation. Dans une société en transformation continue, dans laquelle les identités ne sont plus une donnée sociale, mais se construisent en permanence dans l'interaction avec l'autre, les traditions oubliées par les générations antérieures et le patrimoine culturel éveillent de plus en plus la curiosité et l'imagination. Dans ce contexte, les produits traditionnels deviennent des instruments de marketing et entrent dans l'enjeu commercial et consumériste, s'éloignant de plus en plus du local et de l'authentique. Dans ce processus de marchandisation des traditions, le goût se transforme, le savoir-faire est modifié sans cesse et le terroir devient plutôt une image qui vend.

L'analyse est basée sur les résultats de l'étude du Baromètre de Consommation Culturelle de 2012, réalisé par le Centre de Recherche et Conseil dans le Domaine de la Culture sur un échantillon au niveau national. Nous allons mettre en évidence les produits qui sont considérés des produits traditionnels roumains, ainsi que les plus importantes caractéristiques attribuées aux produits traditionnels, dans la perspective de la population analysée. En plus, nous allons analyser la notoriété des produits locaux et leur emploi dans l'alimentation des foyers. Les résultats montrent que pour qu'il soit considéré produit traditionnel roumain, un aliment doit être hérité des ancêtres et fabriqué en Roumanie, d'après une méthode traditionnelle.

The Tradition of Latvian Nationwide Song and Dance Celebration as a modern identity brand

Authors: Valdis Muktupāvels (University of Latvia)  email
Rūta Muktupāvela (Latvian Academy of Culture)  email
Anda Lake (Latvian Academy of Culture)  email

Short Abstract

The paper analyzes challenges of modern changing environment for more than a century-old tradition. Three perspectives – authenticity of tradition, modern community needs and nation branding policy – offer different development scenarios for the Celebration, but is there a uniting solution?

Long Abstract

In the context of Latvia's centennial celebration in 2018 the question of essential nation branding elements becomes topical. One of the most significant elements of national culture is Latvian Nationwide Song and Dance Celebration. Established in 1873, this traditional undertaking has managed to survive different political regimes, and together with similar events in Estonia and Lithuania is inscribed in 2008 in the UNESCO Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity. Concerning the Celebration a special supporting law was issued and adopted in Latvia. Still several problematic issues, related to form and contents of the Celebration, have become topical in the public space. Three different perspectives have been outlined so far, treating the Celebration differently. Firstly, a tradition protected by the authority of UNESCO demands formal authenticity. Secondly, it is cultural and social activity of participants' community, which has its own needs, interests and expectations reflecting features of changing social life and influences of popular culture. Thirdly, the Celebration has been used in nation branding strategies, thus a focus on its attractivity and commodification becomes significant. These three quite different perspectives offer different development scenarios for the Celebration. According to field research data, the uniting element in this situation is emotional reaction, its depth and intensity has been displayed in all three spheres, and its presence can be perceived as the real authentic feature that ensures sustainability of the Celebration. The integrity of the Celebration relies on its deep function - to serve as a ritual of national solidarity.

Heritage discourse in Romania: peasant as a national identity brand

Author: Sonia Catrina (CSIER-Centre for the Study of the Jewish History in Romania & CEREFREA-Centre Régional francophone de recherches avancées en sciences sociales)  email

Short Abstract

This study addresses the issue of nationalizing the peasants 'domestic universe by Romanian elites in the late XIXth and early XXth century when the nation-state was trying to find an official memory.

Long Abstract

This study questions the emergence of twentieth-century Romanian nationalism by investigating the conventional accounts of the representations of the past used to forge a unified national narrative that promotes a collective national identity. To address this question, we look into the process of building national heritage as a shared identity project of the Romanian people. The analysis of the logic through which a nation grafts its future onto a shared past means questioning the institutional and conventional thoughts referring to the modern Nation. More precisely, we are interested in identifying the heritage mechanisms involved in the process of the Romanian Nation-building, by studying the emerging heritage discourses on collective identity. Our argument is that the ideological over-determination and the unitary perspective on cultural heritage have limited the Romanian museological approach to a romantic and nostalgic perspective on the role of the Peasant in maintaining the national identity.

This panel is closed to new paper proposals.