Nation-branding in Practice: The Politics of Promoting Sports, Cities and Universities in Kazakhstan and Qatar, 1st Edition (Hardback) book cover

Nation-branding in Practice

The Politics of Promoting Sports, Cities and Universities in Kazakhstan and Qatar, 1st Edition

By Kristin Anabel Eggeling


296 pages | 37 B/W Illus.

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Hardback: 9780367420734
pub: 2020-05-26
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This book investigates the political implications of country promotion through practices of ‘nation-branding’ by drawing on contemporary examples from the sports, urban development and higher education sector in Kazakhstan and Qatar.

Nation-branding has emerged as a central practice of international politics, where it is commonly understood as a vain, superficial selling technique with little political salience. Drawing on shared insights from practice theory and constructivist notions of nationalism, identity and power, this book challenges this reading and instead argues that nation-branding is neither neutral nor primarily economically motivated, but inherently politicised and tied to the legitimation of current political regimes. The starting point for the analysis is a range of everyday practices and sites long ignored by international relations scholars. In particular, the book traces how the political leadership in Kazakhstan and Qatar have used participation in the international sports circuit, spectacular urban development, and the construction of ‘world-class’ universities to first produce and then stabilize new ideas about their state.

Providing a new analytical perspective on nation-branding, this book will be of interest to students and scholars of Middle Eastern and Central Asian studies, International Relations, and Cultural and Political Geography.


"Eggeling provides an excellent, lucid and probing analysis of the connections between nation branding, state identity and regime security in soft authoritarian regimes. Yet, it is a book with much broader resonance, and will appeal to anyone interested in the constitutive politics of nation branding and the remaking of national identities in the contemporary world." - Christopher Browning, University of Warwick, UK.

Table of Contents


Part I: A practice approach to nation-branding

Chapter 1 – Conceptualising nation-branding as practice

Chapter 2: Analysing nation-branding in practice

Chapter 3 – Situating nation-branding in practice

Part II: The promotion of sports, cities and universities in Kazakhstan and Qatar

Chapter 4 - Building the sports-brand: Team Astana and the 2022 FIFA World Cup

Chapter 5 - Building the city-brand: Extravagant urban development in Astana and Doha

Chapter 6 - Building the knowledge-brand: ‘world-class’ education at Nazarbayev University and Education City

Part III: Nation-branding in practice

Chapter 7 - Nation-branding as conservative politics

Conclusion: Brand new world?

About the Author

Kristin Anabel Eggeling is a postdoctoral researcher at the Department of Political Science at the University of Copenhagen. Her research interests are in practice theory, identity politics, nation-branding, diplomacy, interpretive methods and methodologies, and fieldwork in International Relations. Kristin holds a BA in Liberal Arts and Sciences from University College Maastricht, a MLitt and a PhD from the School of International Relations at the University of St Andrews, and has previously worked in the private and policy sector in Doha and Brussels. For her research on nation-branding, Kristin has been a visiting researcher at Nazarbayev University and Qatar University.

About the Series


The Series provides a forum for innovative and interdisciplinary work that engages with alternative critical, post-structural, feminist, postcolonial, psychoanalytic and cultural approaches to international relations and global politics. In our first 5 years we have published 60 volumes.

We aim to advance understanding of the key areas in which scholars working within broad critical post-structural traditions have chosen to make their interventions, and to present innovative analyses of important topics. Titles in the series engage with critical thinkers in philosophy, sociology, politics and other disciplines and provide situated historical, empirical and textual studies in international politics.


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‘As Michel Foucault has famously stated, "knowledge is not made for understanding; it is made for cutting" In this spirit The Edkins - Vaughan-Williams Interventions series solicits cutting edge, critical works that challenge mainstream understandings in international relations. It is the best place to contribute post disciplinary works that think rather than merely recognize and affirm the world recycled in IR's traditional geopolitical imaginary.’

Michael J. Shapiro, University of Hawai'i at Manoa, USA


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