Leading places on the map: Opening up leadership practices in two Estonian peripheral places

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Martiene Grootens


This paper sheds light on processes of place leadership that are enacted through visibility practices. While this strategy to “lead places on the map” has had some intended effects, such as increased tourism and lobby opportunities, this external orientation led to other consequences as well. First of all, it has led leadership to include a wider array of actors than the “traditional” place leaders that are bounded to a certain territory. Secondly, it points to the limitation of leadership in places that are in-between networks or “off the map”, thirdly, to the tension between a homogeneous outward image and the inherent heterogeneous nature of all places. Overall, this paper goes beyond a functionalistic understanding of place leadership and provides a more political understanding of how places are led. This contribution is based on fieldwork conducted on the Estonian island of Kihnu and the Estonian town of Järva-Jaani.

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Author Biography

Martiene Grootens, University of Tartu

Junior Research Fellow

Faculty of Social Sciences

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