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Provincial Globalization The Local Struggle of Place-Making

Author(s): Magnus Andersson

Journal: Culture Unbound : Journal of Current Cultural Research
ISSN 2000-1525

Volume: 2;
Start page: 193;
Date: 2010;
Original page

Keywords: Rural | globalization | symbolic strategies | mediation | encoding/decoding

This paper focuses on the global presence in the local processes of place-making in a rural area in Sweden. As a result of increased competition – fueled by a reor-ganization of global capitalism – between places, symbolic strategies (i.e. place marketing and place branding) have become a central dimension of both urban and rural governance. As a consequent, places – while still being sites for the residents’ day-to-day life – are being turned into commodities in the market of potential investors and tourists to a great extent. Subsequently, this paper deals with how this global agenda affects a rural municipality in the Swedish countryside suffering from depopulation. The paper confirms earlier statements (Woods 2007) that globalization processes should not be considered as external forces reshaping and homogenizing rural villages; rather, globalization processes are locally nego-tiated. This, however, does not mean globalization has no impact on rural places. In these negotiation processes global and local virtues are intertwined but not evenly. In some municipal strategies, the impact of global discourses is more ex-plicit, for example, policy-makers accept and incorporate strategies of place branding and policy networks while they neglect other aspects of a relatively standardized “place marketing tool kit”. Furthermore, the study shows that rural residents, also, consider the village and its global future carefully but differently from the policy-makers. The residents dislike expressions of urbanity and advocate a general small-scaleness as a strategy for the future.
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