Place and the Politics of Nation Branding
This chapter interrogates the geopolitical implications of a contemporary development in the region’s media industries — the institutionalization of location shooting into modes of nation branding that commoditize cultural signs in line with the states’ soft power objectives. Drawing from examples of recent location-shot film and media, including En Chen’s Island Etude, Chi Po-lin’s Beyond Beauty, and Zhejiang TV's Keep Running, I demonstrate how location shooting since Taiwan’s membership in the WTO has been institutionalized within the discursive contours of the “Love Taiwan” movement, a process which can be compared with the PRC’s marketing of the “Chinese Dream” to domestic tourists via convergent and place-based film and televisual media. While the resulting national brands could not appear more different, these discourses operate on the shared assumption that for place identities to be readily consumable and exportable, they must be coherent within a global “experience economy” that circulates images of distinctive yet fixed cultural identities. This reduction of place into readily consumable cultural signs can be contrasted with the enigmatic representation of Shanghai found in Jia Zhangke's I Wish I Knew, which fashions on-screen Doreen Massey’s notion of the “progressive place,” a poststructuralist reinterpretation of place that focuses on conflicting sociocultural processes that imbue spaces with richly layered meanings. Building on Massey's concept of the progressive place, this chapter argues that location-shot film and media in China and Taiwan, more than offering diversely themed experiences, have untapped potential in cultivating alternative public cultures through reflexive, minor, and performative modes of place making.
Hong Kong Scholarship Online requires a subscription or purchase to access the full text of books within the service. Public users can however freely search the site and view the abstracts and keywords for each book and chapter.
If you think you should have access to this title, please contact your librarian.