STS Helsinki seminar 16.3. with Aaro Tupasela: When the National Population Becomes a Brand – Marketing National Resources for Global Data Markets

For the March instalment of our seminar series, we will be joined by Aaro Tupasela. The talk will be held at Metsätalo, Unioninkatu 40, room 18 on 16th March at 13:15–14:45, welcome all!

When the National Population Becomes a Brand – Marketing National Resources for Global Data Markets

In this talk I will discuss how country branding has extended into the realm of national data resources. I describe how Denmark and Finland have begun to market and brand their resources using methods and practices drawn from the commercial sector. National and public resources, such as biobanks, electronic health care records, population registers and national statistics have become the object of branding. I argue that this phenomenon constitutes a novel form of nation branding in which relations between the states, individuals and the private sector are re-aligned. The historical underpinnings of population branding can be found in the field of medical genetics starting in the early 1960s but transforming significantly during the 2010s into a professional marketing activity undertaken at multiple levels and sites. In studying this recent phenomenon, I provide examples of how marketing material has become increasingly professional and targeted towards a broader audience, including the public. The talk will be of particular interest to scholars of critical data studies and nation branding, as well as students of science and technology studies, sociology and marketing.

Aaro Tupasela works as a Finnish Center for Artificial Intelligence (FCAI) research fellow at the Faculty of Social Science, University of Helsinki. Previously he has worked as an Associate professor at the Faculty of Law and The Centre for Medical Science and Technology Studies (MeST), Department of Public Health at the University of Copenhagen. His current work centers around what he has termed Critical Nordic Data Studies, which explores the changing landscape of data logistics in Nordic welfare states like Finland and Denmark.