Cities for sale: Contesting city branding and cultural policies in Buenos Aires

Dinardi, Cecilia. 2017. Cities for sale: Contesting city branding and cultural policies in Buenos Aires. Urban Studies, 54(1), pp. 85-101. ISSN 0042-0980 [Article]

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Abstract or Description

This paper examines the role of culture in shaping and contesting city branding strategies. Throughout the world, the private and public sectors are jointly engaged in branding cities by mobilising a cultural rhetoric with the aim of attracting business, boosting tourism and revitalising urban spaces. Adopting a critical sociological perspective, the paper examines whether or not culture-based city branding brings benefits to community cultural organisations and explores the reasons why this might be the case. Based on the experience of Buenos Aires and drawing on in-depth interviews with both policy-makers and community cultural centres, different notions of culture, underpinning contrasting imagined cities, are discussed. The paper argues that city branding, founded on a commodified notion of culture, driven by profit-making goals and oriented towards international tourism, can create an urban vision of consumption to which cultural organisations are opposed. The paper concludes by showing how a particular entanglement between politics, businesses and urban marketing in the Latin American city gives way to ongoing contestations over the city brand and configures the possibilities and distribution of potential benefits.

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Departments, Centres and Research Units:

Institute for Cultural and Creative Entrepreneurship (ICCE)


1 January 2017Published
24 September 2015Published Online
1 August 2015Accepted

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Date Deposited:

02 Feb 2017 11:42

Last Modified:

02 Dec 2020 15:18

Peer Reviewed:

Yes, this version has been peer-reviewed.


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