Saturday, July 16, 2016

Call for papers “Naming Rights and the Cultural Landscapes of Neoliberal Urbanism”

Hi all,

The call-for-papers below is especially relevant to those studying the politics of urban place naming, so please do consider submitting an abstract.


Special Issue to be Submitted to Urban Studies:
“Naming Rights and the Cultural Landscapes of Neoliberal Urbanism”

Guest Editors:
Reuben Rose-Redwood, University of Victoria
Jani Vuolteenaho, University of Turku
Craig Young, Manchester Metropolitan University
Duncan Light, Bournemouth University
From the First Gulf Bank Metro Station in Dubai, UAE, to the 1-800-ASK-GARY Amphitheatre in Tampa, Florida, a growing number of city and state governments around the world are selling the naming rights for public infrastructure and civic facilities to corporations and wealthy elites. Proponents argue that the sale of naming rights offers an innovative strategy to generate municipal revenue without raising taxes, whereas critics maintain that naming rights programs commercialize, and thus erode the democratic value of, public spaces. Since the selling of naming rights has been a commonplace practice in the realm of professional sports for decades, it is not surprising that a sizable body of literature has examined naming rights sponsorships for sports stadia and recreational arenas (e.g., Boyd 2000; Bartow 2007; Leeds, Leeds, and Pistolet 2007; Blackshaw 2012). Yet, despite the proliferation of municipal naming rights policies in recent years, very little urban scholarship has critically examined the use of naming rights as a spatial strategy of neoliberal urbanism (Rose-Redwood, Alderman, and Azaryahu 2010; Rose-Redwood 2011; Medway and Warnaby 2014; Light and Young 2015).
The proposed special issue seeks to contribute to critical urban studies by examining the political economy and cultural politics of urban naming rights. The broader aim of this special issue is to explore how neoliberal policies are remaking the cultural landscapes of contemporary cities through the privatization of the spatial identities of public places. In doing so, our aim is to bring together political-economic scholarship on entrepreneurial urbanism and the neoliberal city (Hackworth 2007; Ward 2008) with contemporary research in critical toponymy on the cultural politics of place naming (Berg and Vuolteenaho 2009).
We are particularly interested in showcasing scholarship that examines any of the following themes:
· political struggles over the planning, adoption, and implementation of urban naming rights policies, programs, or agreements

· economic outcomes of urban naming rights programs in cities of varying sizes

· the cultural reception of commodified place names in everyday speech and the spatial imaginaries of everyday urban life

· the relation between urban naming rights and broader processes of neoliberal urbanization
We welcome both in-depth case studies and comparative urban analyses as well as submissions that advance critical theorizations of naming rights from a variety of disciplinary perspectives.
Abstract Submission: If you are interested in contributing to this special issue, please submit your name, affiliation, paper title, and a 200-word abstract to by no later than August 15.  
Once all abstracts have been received, a full Special Issue Proposal for this theme issue will be submitted to the journal, Urban Studies.
Bartow, A. (2007). “Trademarks of Privilege: Naming Rights and the Physical Public Domain.” UC David Law Review 40(1): 919-970.
Berg, L. and Vuolteenaho, J., eds. (2009). Critical Toponymies: The Contested Politics of Place Naming. Farnham: Ashgate.
Blackshaw, I. (2012). Sports Marketing Agreements: Legal, Fiscal and Practical Aspects. The Hague, Netherlands: Springer.
Boyd, J. (2000). “Selling Home: Corporate Stadium Names and the Destruction of Commemoration.”Journal of Applied Communication Research 28(4): 330-346.
Hackworth, J. (2007). The Neoliberal City: Governance, Ideology and Development in American Urbanism. Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press.
Leeds, E., Leeds, M., and Pistolet, I. (2007). “A Stadium by Any Other Name: The Value of Naming Rights.”Journal of Sports Economics 8(6): 581-595.
Light, D. and Young, C. (2015). “Toponymic Commodification: Exploring the Economic Dimensions of Urban Place Naming,” International Journal of Urban and Regional Research 39(3): 435-450.
Medway, D. and Warnaby, G. (2014). “What’s in a Name? Place Branding and Toponymic Commodification,” Environment and Planning A 46(1): 153-167.
Rose-Redwood, R. (2011), “Rethinking the Agenda of Political Toponymy.” ACME: An International E-Journal for Critical Geographies 10(1): 34-41.
Rose-Redwood, R., Alderman, D., and Azaryahu, M. (2010). “Geographies of Toponymic Inscription: New Directions in Critical Place-Name Studies.” Progress in Human Geography 34 (4): 453-470.
Ward, K. (2008). Entrepreneurial Urbanism. London: Routledge.

Reuben S. Rose-Redwood, Ph.D.
Associate Professor
Department of Geography
University of Victoria
Victoria, B.C., V8P 5C2, Canada

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