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From political construct to tourist souvenir – building the

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Author(s): F. López Silvestre | R. Lois González

Journal: Social Geography Discussions
ISSN 1816-1499

Volume: 3;
Issue: 3;
Start page: 237;
Date: 2007;
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ABSTRACT
In the contemporary world there is a striking coincidence between the methods used by nationalisms to foster the identification of the image of their peoples through their own landscape and the marketing practices used by public and private institutions to foster certain "mass tourism products" through easily identifiable features of the landscapes they want to sell. In both cases the aim is to highlight difference by means of an essentialist exaltation, or caricature, of certain elements in the landscape. By looking closer to the case of Galicia (Spain) it is possible to demonstrate the validity of this hypothesis. Just as there is a "Castilian" or "Andalusian landscape identity", there is also a "Galician landscape identity", with certain topographic, climatic, botanical and cultural elements that shape landscape and distinguish it from others. However, ever since regionalism and nationalism first latched on to territory in the 19th century, some of these elements have been rather over-emphasised. The iconographic elements that helped to define Galicia's national identity through its landscape have been kept alive throughout the 20th century thanks to tourist publicity. Are these elements still used in advertising today? Is the nationalist imaginary really so different from tourist iconography? This paper sets out to prove the insistence, by television advertisers working for the Galician Autonomous (or Regional) Government, the "Xunta de Galicia", on the Galicianness of the landscape, which is exalted by the use of elements loaded with symbolic significance.
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