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Through the Protocol: Culture, Magic and GIS in the Creation of Regional Attractiveness

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This paper shows how culture is used and transformed as it becomes mobilized as a strategic resource in a regional development project within a neoliberal economic discourse. The focus is on how four smaller municipalities in the transnational Swedish/Danish Ă–resund region initiate a process of cultural mappings in order to incorporate local culture and cultural heritage in the regional tourist economy. By using the concept of magic, the paper discusses how the practice of cultural mapping can be envisaged as an enactment of power. The analysis of the mapping practice is based on an actor-network ontology to show how interactions between humans and a software protocol transform both the mapped subjects and the regional landscape in a material sense. It is concluded that cultural mapping is a problematic practice, politically as well as morally, as it is driven by the commoditization of culture and constitutes a technologically mediated, normative shaping of a region framed by a rhetoric of objectivity and the common good.

Keywords: Culture; GIS; actor-network ontology; cultural mapping; magic; protocol; regional attractiveness; transformation

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/14616680701422863

Affiliations: Department of Service Management, Lund University, Helsingborg, Sweden

Publication date: August 1, 2007

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