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Elements of place and nation branding in Ocho apellidos vascos (2014)

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This article considers the ways in which Ocho apellidos vascos (2014) mobilizes salient aspects of nation branding, such as communication strategies that privilege a tourist’s gaze, authentication of local stereotypes, selective recycling of history, the commodification of place and commercial nationalism. The film was produced and released in 2014, only three years after ETA’s historic cease-fire declaration. The national context for the release was marked by the end of terrorist violence in the Basque Country, growing separatist sentiment in Catalonia and the concomitant decline in popularity of Brand Spain. Ocho apellidos vascos invokes branding discourses that have impact well beyond the seemingly innocuous regional stereotypes that structure the film’s imagery and plot. This article explores the influence of these discourses on the film’s branding of three key ‘places’: Spain, Seville and the Basque Country. In particular, it discusses the process by which ‘Spain’ is subject to erasure, ‘Seville’ is branded as a synecdoche for the whole of Spain and ‘the Basque Country’ is subject to an othering gaze that is incongruous with the recently formulated Basque Brand.
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Keywords: Spanish cinema; commercial nationalism; cultural stereotypes; film tourism; nation branding; place branding

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: University of Melbourne

Publication date: September 1, 2017

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  • The International Journal of Iberian Studies (IJIS) is the academic journal for scholars from around the world whose research focuses on contemporary Spain and Portugal from a range of disciplinary perspectives. IJIS is interested in history (20th century onwards), government and politics; foreign policy and international relations.
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