'Securitising the Cauasus: from Political Violence to Place Branding In Chechnya' by myself and Cerwyn Moore was published today in the Palgrave journal 'Place Branding and Public Diplomacy'
link to the abstract
and link to the full paper if you have access permissions, e.g. through Athens or you're on a university campus with access. Ironically, I currently don't have access, so can't download the paper I wrote.
Its a different side to my work than that normally featured on this blog, having nothing to do with Surveillance. Instead its part of my dabbling in international relations, attempting to maintain the critical, global social justice perspective that sits well with my affiliation to the Centre for the Study of Social and Global Justice (CSSGJ) at the University of Nottingham.
I don't really like the idea of 'Place Branding' - that it is both possible and important to make sure that places in the world, if they want to compete (and of course they'll want to do that) project the correct 'brand' to the world. In the paper, we draw upon Cerwyn's expertise and knowledge of the region to use Chechnya as a case study to support a critique of Place Branding more broadly. I frame it as a fundamentally essential, euro-centrist and neo-liberal discourse, that mistakenly assumes that any country can be successful if it simply projects the right image, ignoring the structural inequalities that will keep many countries 'undeveloped'. Given this critique of the approach, and by implication of the journal, it was rather good (and academically upstanding) of them to publish the paper.
The connection to my other areas of work are probably that we made use of a discourse theory approach (as used in the PhD thesis) to the theoretical constructs of place branding, attempting to identify core themes and subject positions made available in the discourse.