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Look Inside Political Branding in Cities

Political Branding in Cities
The Decline of Machine Politics in Bogotá, Naples, and Chicago

Part of Cambridge Studies in Comparative Politics

  • Publication planned for: August 2019
  • availability: Not yet published - available from August 2019
  • format: Paperback
  • isbn: 9781108438612


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About the Authors
  • Branding is ubiquitous, yet its workings in politics are still untheorized. Drawing on the experiences of three cities on three continents, Eleonora Pasotti fills the gap by showing how cities suffering for decades from poor government, entrenched patronage, lack of development, and social conflict made a transition to a new form of governance: brand politics. Facilitated by the joint presence of direct elections, low party discipline, and high rates of municipal fiscal self-reliance, brand politics breaks a vicious cycle of skepticism and inertia, and opens the window for a broad set of reforms. The theory of brand politics shows mayors emulating marketing mavericks: in commerce, consumers aspire to become different people by acquiring products; in politics, citizens support mayors' brands because they seek to become carriers of the same values. Voting and buying have thus become increasingly synonymous in citizens' primal search for a means of expressing their identities.

    • Provides a new theory for the demise of political machines and sets an agenda for comparative urban politics (transnational comparisons of city politics)
    • Fills gaps in existing scholarship by explaining how branding - by now nearly ubiquitous - works in politics
    • Shows institutional innovation in cities marred by corruption, presenting three critical cases of urban development: Naples, Bogota, and Chicago
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    Reviews & endorsements

    'In Political Branding in Cities, Eleonora Pasotti gracefully lifts the veil of standard social scientific analysis, and exposes the profound shifts occurring in municipal politics across different regions of the world. From Bogotá to Chicago and Naples, fiscal retrenchment, direct elections, and low party discipline have led to the decline of patronage politics. With notable analytical aplomb, Pasotti also traces the increasing salience of political brands, and lays out the logic of branding. She masterfully demonstrates how branding redefines the relationship between urban political leaders and citizenries; and more broadly, how branding reconfigures the dynamics that connect the formation of civic identities, the mobilization of public opinion, voter behavior, and institutional change. Serious students of public affairs stand to profit greatly from this original and illuminating book.' Consuelo Cruz, Tufts University, Massachusetts

    'Drawing on a comparative case study of breath-taking geographic scope, and detailed local research in three languages, Eleonora Pasotti delivers one of the first side by side examinations of urban politics across the developed-developing country divide. Despite the starkly different national contexts of Bogotá, Chicago and Naples, the surprising findings show many of the same processes at work in all three local settings. The analysis demonstrates the potential of city-level comparisons to generate genuine insights into global shifts in the relations between governing and the governed.' Jeffrey Sellers, University of Southern California

    'Eleonora Pasotti's path-breaking book, Political Branding in Cities, analyzes how political entrepreneurs use branding as a means of rising above the politics of corruption even where corruption has been stable for decades. In a study of three cities across the globe – Naples, Bogotá, and Chicago – Pasotti identifies the conditions under which this type of branding can take place. Well-written, this book concludes with the larger implications of branding for politics.' Barry Weingast, Stanford University, California

    'Pasotti has given us a highly original account of the transformations that occurred through the construction of a new 'brand politics' in Chicago, Bogotá, and Naples. Using this brilliant cross-regional comparison, she shows how the new strategies altered representation by infusing politics with emotional forms of identification that stifled dissent and displaced established patterns of civic engagement.' Margaret Weir, University of California, Berkeley

    '… an academic page turner, at least for those rare beings like this reviewer who are fascinated by mayors and their political leadership. Like any review, this short discussion of an elaborate work cannot fully convey its richness and scope. Hence, in conclusion, it uses reductionist metaphors - a device not uncommon in brand politics - in making reference to one of the world's more famous brand slogans: this book has been truly enjoyed, and is strongly recommended for extensive scholarly consumption.' Kristof Steyvers, Local Government Studies

    'With admirable precision and beautiful prose, Pasotti immerses her readers into city budgets, transportation projects, new parks, and other megaendeavors. The book constitutes an amazing portrayal of the transformation of these three cities and the real-world politics that went on behind those processes. … Pasotti's book constitutes a mayor theoretical and empirical contribution to the study of comparative urban politics. It is exceptional in its theoretical and empirical depth and also in its breath. The book combines literatures from political science, anthropology, economics, management, advertisement, and cognitive psychology. Furthermore, it does this successfully, providing the reader with original conceptual tools that result from the eclectic combination of works and thinking.' Comparative Political Studies

    'Conducting detailed research in three different languages, Pasotti is an immensely skilled qualitative scholar with deep knowledge of cities. She conveys political complexity with clarity and insight (making politics in Naples and Bogotá understandable, even for a student of American politics). The insights gleaned from her work are sure to affect the study of cities and clientelism in both the American and comparative context.' Perspectives on Politics

    'Political Branding in Cities provides a new way of looking at large, global cities. … It deserves to be carefully read and utilized by any serious urban politics scholar. It clearly demonstrates once again the value - especially in our new global world - of comparative urban political analysis.' Urban Affairs Review

    'Political Branding in Cities is an excellent book that advances a theory of public opinion mobilization - 'brand politics' - for understanding the calls by elected officials for a new collective identity among voters and emerging methods for managing public opinion and elections. It will make a terrific reading for students in classes dealing with political science in general, and more specifically should be considered by students and scholars alike working in the areas of voter mobilization and electoral politics.' The American Review of Public Administration

    'There is no doubt that this book constitutes a major contribution to the understanding of the recent evolution of urban governance.' International Journal of Urban and Regional Research

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    Product details

    • Publication planned for: August 2019
    • format: Paperback
    • isbn: 9781108438612
    • length: 303 pages
    • dimensions: 230 x 153 x 20 mm
    • weight: 0.47kg
    • contains: 68 b/w illus. 3 tables
    • availability: Not yet published - available from August 2019
  • Table of Contents

    1. Brands as a solution to the mobilization dilemma
    2. Catalysts of machine demise
    3. Political campaigning in the wake of the machine
    4. Changing public minds
    5. Brands and megaprojects
    6. Elusive representation
    7. Brand politics in global context.

  • Author

    Eleonora Pasotti, University of California, Santa Cruz
    Eleonora Pasotti is currently Assistant Professor of Politics at the University of California, Santa Cruz. She holds a B.Sc. in economics and a master's degree in philosophy of the social sciences from the London School of Economics and Political Science, and a Ph.D. in political science from Columbia University, New York. Her research explores the dynamics of preference formation, explored through an analysis of the transformation of patronage politics.

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