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    The impact of architectural identity on nation branding: the case study of Iraqi Kurdistan

    Ebraheem, Sharameen (2013) The impact of architectural identity on nation branding: the case study of Iraqi Kurdistan. Doctoral thesis (PhD), Manchester Metropolitan University.


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    Despite the convergence points between architectural identity and nation branding, the relationship between them remains ambiguous. Moreover, the formulation of a sustained and competitive national identity and architecture of nation branding are yet to be completely comprehended. Thus, this study seeks to fill this gap by developing a model that explains the impact of architectural identity on nation brand, particularly for the case study of Kurdistan (paradoxical paradigm of the political independency in the dependent architectural environment). To assess the impact of architectural identity on nation branding, the study formulates the following research questions: How does a nation brand project itself in architecture? Can the existing architectural theories be adapted to explain this relationship effectively? Consequently, this study points out broad implications of architectural influence on nation branding; for understanding the dynamics of its political message and discourses on its symbolic power in the context of national recognition. Testing “the impact of architectural identity on nation brand” has been done through comparative analysis on the selected cases of Finland and Israel. This testing provides sufficient empirical evidences to throw light on the complex relationship between “Kurdish architectural identity” and “Kurdish nation brand”. Moreover, focusing on empirical findings, this research allows for comparisons and contrasts between nations as recognized, semi-recognized and non-recognized states by examining the historical, socio–political, and cultural dimensions of each nation in relation to its built environment. The study of the different built environments as well as the nation brand, identity and image background and development of the compared nations brings to light what is hidden as an overall conception from an architectural perspective. This also discloses the significance of the architectural identity in context with their original objects. Valuable conclusions have been derived on the similarities and the differences in the polices maintaining the nation brand in architecture, which is used in this research as a foundation to help the development of the best management practice of sustainable and competitive national identity in Iraqi Kurdistan. Within the context of Iraqi Kurdistan, as a result of the Kurdish quest to be an integrated nation having its own geographical borders, questions have seldom been raised about the Kurdish identity in architecture, much less about, to what extent the reconstruction of the collective memories of the disputed historical architectural sites in Iraqi Kurdistan can be the collective identity of the Kurdish nation. Simultaneously, there is a surprising amount of available research on Kurdish identity, history, and regional politics. Thus, this study offers a new theoretical horizon for a good understanding of the powerful force of architecture as central in transforming the Kurdish nation brand and opening a new direction for the empirical inquiry and theorization of the current efforts of Kurdish independence.

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