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Cities for sale: Contesting city branding and cultural policies in Buenos Aires

Dinardi, C. (2017). Cities for sale: Contesting city branding and cultural policies in Buenos Aires. Urban Studies, 54(1), pp. 85-101. doi: 10.1177/0042098015604079


This paper examines the role of culture in shaping and contesting city branding strategies. Throughout the world, the private and public sectors are jointly engaged in branding cities by mobilising a cultural rhetoric with the aim of attracting business, boosting tourism and revitalising urban spaces. Adopting a critical sociological perspective, the paper examines whether or not culture-based city branding brings benefits to community cultural organisations and explores the reasons why this might be the case. Based on the experience of Buenos Aires and drawing on in-depth interviews with both policy-makers and community cultural centres, different notions of culture, underpinning contrasting imagined cities, are discussed. The paper argues that city branding, founded on a commodified notion of culture, driven by profit-making goals and oriented towards international tourism, can create an urban vision of consumption to which cultural organisations are opposed. The paper concludes by showing how a particular entanglement between politics, businesses and urban marketing in the Latin American city gives way to ongoing contestations over the city brand and configures the possibilities and distribution of potential benefits.

Publication Type: Article
Additional Information: Copyright Sage 2015
Publisher Keywords: Buenos Aires, city branding, community cultural organisations, cultural policies
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HT Communities. Classes. Races
Departments: School of Policy & Global Affairs > Sociology & Criminology
SWORD Depositor:
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