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People, Places, Power | Season 2, Episode 33: What’s in a Name? Renaming Places as a Strategic Gambit

Jul 1, 2022


Note from the CPD Blog Manager: This post features the podcast People, Places, Power co-hosted by CPD Faculty Fellow Nicholas J. Cull and Good Country Index founder Simon Anholt and features their weekly discussions on international reputation, foreign policy and related issues along the way. 

Season 2 launched in May 2022 and covers nation-ranking indices, the impact of COVID-19 on national images, the "country-of-origin effect" and much more.

Season 1: Ep. 1: Biden's America | Ep. 2: Brexit Britain | Ep. 3: In Search of the Good Leader | Ep. 4: The European Union | Ep. 5: What Price Monarchy? | Ep. 6:  Cities and International Image | Ep. 7: Mega Events? Buyer Beware. | Ep. 8: Germany: From Pariah to Paragon | Ep. 9: Culture: Decorative or Useful? | Ep. 10: Can Individuals Make a Difference? | Ep. 11: Migration Nations | Ep: 12: Credible India? | Ep. 13: The Bad Image | Ep. 14: Populism | Ep. 15: Oh, Canada! | Ep. 16: Digital Disruption: New Technology & Soft Power | Ep. 17: Japan at the Crossroads I Ep. 18: Scotland's Next Step | Ep. 19 Public Diplomacy and Place Branding | Ep. 20: The Talent Trade: Who's Looking for Einstein? | Ep. 21: France: Trouble at the Top? | Ep. 22: Systems and Structures: Organizing Public Diplomacy | Ep. 23: Trust: The Linchpin of Reputation | Ep. 24: Nordics: The Saga of Success? | Ep. 25: The Media: Friends or Foes of Country Image? | Ep. 26:  Israel: Branded by Conflict? | Ep. 27: Afghanistan

Season 2: Ep. 28: War in Ukraine | Ep. 29: Meet the Goodest: The Good Country Index for 2022 | Ep. 30: Issues in the Index: The Nation Brands Index, 2021 | Episode 31: Honest to God: The Image of Religions and other Transnational Groups | Episode 32: COVID-19, Image, Media and Communication

Episode 33: What’s in a Name? Renaming Places as a Strategic Gambit

Inspired by media reports of the Turkish government attempting to assert the Turkish spelling of their name, this episode considers strategies of naming/renaming/spelling. Turkey’s move is discussed in the context of its history. Simon suggests four categories of renaming: the post-colonial shift to a more authentic local name as with Swaziland/Eswatini or Madras/Chennai; the attempt to be more memorable because one’s name is insufficiently distinct as when Slovenia considered Alpe-Adria; the power play as when a regime rebrands key places (as with Astana/Nursultan); and the names of historical revival such as Israel. Nick argues that part of Czechoslovakia's problem in the mid-20th century was the lack of resonance around its name. Simon notices that some languages have changed names while others keep older names longer. Italians still call Beijing “Pechino” (the equivalent of “Peking”). Simon recalls the process by which Pakistan invented its name. Nick muses on whether some countries actually need a name change. Simon raises the issue of countries with multiple names (including the UK) and counties retaining a definite article in their name.


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