The Evolution of Place Marketing: Focusing on Korean Place Marketing and its Changing Political Context
Thesis or dissertation
University of Exeter
Over the last three decades, within the context of globalisation and intensified inter-urban competition, we have observed the growing use of market-centred strategy such as ‘marketing or branding places’. Despite the worsening of the economic situation since the 2008 global financial crisis, the overall trend of expansion of place marketing based on marketing science keeps going further in many cities in South Korea. Why does this phenomenon happen? How can we interpret it at this time? What does this mean for the cities and their residents? In order to answer these questions, this thesis attempts to understand the process of place marketing projects, and analyse how they were politically formed and what their actual effects were for residents. In addition, it develops a critical understanding of the evolution of urban place marketing projects from the political perspective in Gwangju, South Korea: the Gwangju Biennale, the Asian Culture Complex, the Dome Baseball Stadium, the Urban Folly, and the Gwangju Universiade 2015. Through a nation-wide Korean expert survey and a case study of Gwangju, this research shows that Korean place marketing shares common trends with Western cities as well as having some specifically Korean characteristics. In particular, it tries to reveal the evolving nature of Korean place marketing by employing a combination of multi-scalar and cultural politics approaches. The thesis concludes that some Korean cities such as Gwangju have moved toward neo-liberalisation by employing entrepreneurial strategies of place marketing.
PhD in Geography