Soc. Geogr. Discuss., 3, 237-272, 2007
www.soc-geogr-discuss.net/3/237/2007/
doi:10.5194/sgd-3-237-2007
© Author(s) 2007. This work is licensed under the
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11 Sep 2007
Review status
This discussion paper has been under review for the journal Social Geography (SG). A final paper in SG is not foreseen.
From political construct to tourist souvenir – building the "National" landscape through advertising in Galicia (Spain)
F. López Silvestre1 and R. Lois González2
1Department of Art History, Universidad de Santiago de Compostela, P.O. Box Santiago de Compostela, Pza Universidade, 1, 15782, Spain
2Department of Geography, Universidad de Santiago de Compostela, P.O. Box Santiago de Compostela, Pza Universidade, 1, 15782, Spain

Abstract. In the contemporary world there is a striking coincidence between the methods used by nationalisms to foster the identification of the image of their peoples through their own landscape and the marketing practices used by public and private institutions to foster certain "mass tourism products" through easily identifiable features of the landscapes they want to sell. In both cases the aim is to highlight difference by means of an essentialist exaltation, or caricature, of certain elements in the landscape. By looking closer to the case of Galicia (Spain) it is possible to demonstrate the validity of this hypothesis. Just as there is a "Castilian" or "Andalusian landscape identity", there is also a "Galician landscape identity", with certain topographic, climatic, botanical and cultural elements that shape landscape and distinguish it from others. However, ever since regionalism and nationalism first latched on to territory in the 19th century, some of these elements have been rather over-emphasised. The iconographic elements that helped to define Galicia's national identity through its landscape have been kept alive throughout the 20th century thanks to tourist publicity. Are these elements still used in advertising today? Is the nationalist imaginary really so different from tourist iconography? This paper sets out to prove the insistence, by television advertisers working for the Galician Autonomous (or Regional) Government, the "Xunta de Galicia", on the Galicianness of the landscape, which is exalted by the use of elements loaded with symbolic significance.

Citation: López Silvestre, F. and Lois González, R.: From political construct to tourist souvenir – building the "National" landscape through advertising in Galicia (Spain), Soc. Geogr. Discuss., 3, 237-272, doi:10.5194/sgd-3-237-2007, 2007.
 
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