The City Personified: The Geopolitical Narratives of Rudy Giuliani

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Abstract:

The article examines the growing interest in political celebrity and urban branding within media and cultural studies. It stresses the significance of narrative strategies in political statecraft, with specific reference to the intimate relationship between mayors and cities. It focuses on the figure of Rudy Giuliani, both in his period as mayor of New York between 1993 and 2001, and in his subsequent political and private lives, paying close attention to how the event of 9/11 acted as a pivot in his political career. After conceptualizing the relationship between mayors and cities through a discussion of public discourse, celebrity, and political scale, the paper then identifies three processes by which Giuliani has personified New York: first, through narrative control and self-projection within the New York political sphere, by considering his use of selected city sites as a form of synecdoche in his media strategies, and his marginalization of those who challenged him politically; second, through his elevated celebrity status and visual representation by the media in the aftermath of 9/11; and third, through the genre of autobiography and branding, via his book Leadership and related commercial activities, whereby he shifted the scale of his narrative beyond New York.

Keywords: Branding; Celebrity; Mayors; New York; Political Discourse

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/14791420.2012.699683

Publication date: September 1, 2012

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