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Keywords:

  • Regional identities;
  • professional discourse;
  • region names;
  • representations;
  • the Netherlands

ABSTRACT

Scale-enlargement processes have made people more conscious of the identity of their region. Professionals, or those actors involved professionally in the development of a region, also recognise this impact on popular perception and they use characteristics of regions to fulfil their goals. They play an important role in employing the identity of a region. The extent to which this occurs varies between regions, which mean that some regions have stronger identities than others. In this paper evidence from two case studies in the Netherlands, Waterland and the Noordoostpolder, is used to explore why these differences occur. By counting the occurrence of names of regions, which are thought to be the most important symbols of a region's identity, insight is gained in the embeddedness of a region in social perception. Representations of regions commodified by professionals show that these actors influence the embeddedness of regions and as such regional differences; so professionals have a great impact on the strength of a region's identity.