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Nation Branding and Policy transfer: Insights from Norden. EL-CSID Working Paper Issue 2018/22 • October 2018

Browning, Christopher S. (2018) Nation Branding and Policy transfer: Insights from Norden. EL-CSID Working Paper Issue 2018/22 • October 2018. [Working Paper]

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    Recent years have seen an interesting development in practices and policies of nation branding. Alongside an emphasis in which nation branding programmes seek to activate desires of conspicuous consumption in consumers, or to use branded messages to attract investment, there has also been a growing emphasis placed on policy transfer as a part of nation branding strategies. Thus, we see countries emphasising the possibility of exporting (amongst others) their educational, environmental, gender, criminological and even administrative policies, models and approaches. Instead of jealously guarding points of possible competitive advantage the message is instead apparently benevolent, a declaration that such countries may have something to offer that they are willing to share for the greater good. To date, this shift towards the incorporation of policy transfer within nation branding practices has received only limited analysis (e.g. Marsh and Fawcett 2011a; 2011b). Questions that arise, therefore, include: why are countries increasingly shifting their nation branding programmes in this direction? What do they seek to gain by engaging in such exports? And should we take the ostensibly beneficent nature of such practices at face value? The aim of this working paper is therefore to consider what the shift to policy transfer may tell us about the developing politics of nation branding, with particular focus placed on how policy transfer can be seen as a form of branded identity politics that arguably belies its apparently benevolent intentions by reaffirming hierarchical geopolitical imaginaries that remain premised on a politics of leveraging perceived competitive advantage. However, while the paper indicates why such a shift in nation branding strategies may be attractive, it also considers the potential pitfalls and limitations of such an approach. The working paper first discusses the shift towards nation branding through policy transfer at a general level, before ending with a discussion that draws on examples from Norden – the countries of which frequently populate the upper echelons of numerous nation branding and benchmarking indices, which have historically presented themselves as a model for export, and which, following an extended period of post-Cold War identity crisis and doubt, have more recently rediscovered a sense of self-confidence and self-identity, not least manifest in a resurrection of ideas of Nordic knowledge exports and policy transfer that re-instantiates more historical notions of Nordic exceptionalism.

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    Item Type: Working Paper
    Subjects for non-EU documents: EU policies and themes > External relations > common foreign & security policy 1993--European Global Strategy
    Countries > Denmark
    Countries > Finland
    Countries > Norway
    Countries > Sweden
    Countries > Iceland
    Subjects for EU documents: UNSPECIFIED
    EU Series and Periodicals: UNSPECIFIED
    EU Annual Reports: UNSPECIFIED
    Series: Series > Institute for European Studies (Brussels) > Working Papers
    Depositing User: Phil Wilkin
    Official EU Document: No
    Language: English
    Date Deposited: 22 Mar 2020 13:00
    Number of Pages: 14
    Last Modified: 22 Mar 2020 13:00

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