Session Abstract: Since the late 1990s, the idea of nation branding has been widely adopted across the globe. Governments have been eager to deploy campaigns to promote national image and to induce tourism and foreign investment. Managing national images through nation branding has been frequently intermingled with the older idea of public diplomacy. Governmental and non-governmental agencies have made efforts to facilitate cultural exchanges and build "soft power."
The panel aims to put in perspective the discourses and institutions of nation branding and public diplomacy across East and Southeast Asia. The panel especially focuses on the internal implications of the external projection of nation image. Various practices of nation branding and public diplomacy in the region reflect not just the aspirational desire for, but also the sense of crisis and anxiety in terms of their international status as well as collective identity. Panelists illustrate how the practices of nation branding and public diplomacy, in this context, are mobilized for the purpose of political legitimation in Thailand (Desatova), are out of sync with the rise of law and order discourse in Hong Kong (Roux-Kemp), opens up a discursive space where different social imaginaries of an “advanced nation” are clashing in South Korea (Lee), and reflect a sense of anxiety and ambivalence of international position as “ex-periphery” in South Korea (Lyan).
The panel expects the emerging ideas of nation branding and public diplomacy could provide a productive framework for the cultural political dynamics of re-building and re-imagining the nation in the region.
Paper Presenter: Jung-Yup Lee – University of Massachusetts Amherst
Paper Presenter: Petra Desatova – Nordic Institute of Asian Studies, University of Copenhagen
Paper Presenter: Andra le Roux-Kemp – University of Lincoln
Paper Presenter: Irina Lyan – The Hebrew University of Jerusalem