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Estonian Identity Construction Between Nation Branding and Building


Whilst most accounts of nation branding emphasize the economic and
diplomatic relevance of the phenomenon, this article examines the way
Estonia has been proposing a nation “branding + building” strategy.
Drawing from an empirical study of 1) evolving campaigns of Enterprise
Estonia; 2) the leverage of the national e-Residency program in attracting
foreign investment; and 3) tourist and marketing strategies based on the
revisiting of ‘Estonian’ culinary tradition, we look at the way official
narratives have been claiming, with the help of nation branding elements,
that the country has quickly de-Sovietized and that there is a new
understanding of the Estonian nation and “Estonianness”. This is intended
to eventually prompt a reflection on the relationship between nation-building and nation branding, which can, in some circumstances, overlap
and influence identity construction at the domestic and international level.


digitalization, Estonia, food, identity, nation branding

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Author Biography

Abel Polese

Abel Polese is a researcher, trainer, writer, manager and fundraiser and the
author of The SCOPUS Diaries and the (Il)Logics of Academic Survival: A Short
Guide to Design Your Own Strategy and Survive Bibliometrics, Conferences, and
Unreal Expectations in Academia, a reflection on academic life, research
careers and the choices and obstacles young scholars face at the beginning
of their career. He is a member of the Global Young Academy, where he acts
as Working Group Leader for the Open Science and Excellence in Science

Thomas Ambrosio

Thomas Ambrosio is a professor of political science at North Dakota State
University, USA. He has published books, articles, and book chapters on
ethnic conflicts, Russian foreign policy, geopolitical rhetoric, and autocracy.
His recent publications include works on authoritarian learning,
methodological issues involved in studying authoritarian diffusion, the
Obama administration's frustrated pivot to Asia, and Russian foreign policy
toward the frozen conflicts in the greater Black Sea region. He has
forthcoming edited book chapters on the Shanghai Cooperation
Organization and the post-Nazarbayev transition in Kazakhstan. His recent
research interests have focused on threat perceptions and have led to
articles on the impact of Moscow’s intervention in Ukraine and the rise of
Russia and China on the United States.

Tanel Kerikmäe

Dr. Tanel Kerikmäe is a full professor of law of Tallinn University of
Technology, and contributes to the field of European law and policies. His
research group received significant funding from the EU Commission, etc.,
and these funds were focused on legal reforms. Tanel has been a
contributor to the publishers Springer, Ashgate, Kluwer, Oxford and
Cambridge. He has been a leader of or served as an expert in several law- &
tech-related research and development projects and has been invited as a
visiting speaker to many universities, such as Lucerne University and
Lausanne University (to speak on human rights and law & tech), Nagoya
University (e-governance and rule of law), TokyoTech, Beijing University and
Beihang University (artificial intelligence), Nelson Mandela Metropolitan
University and Stellenbosch University, and contributed regularly as an
expert to the Government O!ce, the Ministry of Justice, the Ministry of
Foreign Affairs and the Supreme Court of Estonia.