IMAGING AMMAN THROUGH REAL-ESTATE ADVERTISING DISCOURSE

Majd Musa

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.26687/archnet-ijar.v12i1.1316

Abstract

This article investigates the role real-estate advertising discourse of early-twenty-first-century megaprojects in Amman, Jordan, plays in creating an image of the city. It addresses power relations through which real-estate advertising in the city is produced and interpreted, including the power of corporations and the public. The research draws upon major theoretical understandings of discourse, analyses texts and images of advertisements and marketing brochures of three megaprojects designed for the city in the 2000s – The New Downtown of Amman (Abdali), Jordan Gate, and Sanaya Amman, and interprets the city residents’ readings of advertising materials, which were sought through in-person interviews. The article finds that real-estate advertising discourse that promotes recent megaprojects in Amman constructs the city as a competitive regional and global centre. The article infers that advertisement of Amman’s megaprojects hides the real power relations involved in the production of these developments, where the private developers have the greatest agency followed by the agency of state and city officials. The article concludes that although the city inhabitants have the least agency in the generation of megaprojects and advertising discourse surrounding them, they exercise some power as they make sense of the advertisements, sometimes resisting and other times accepting the developers’ preferred reading of these advertisements. In addition to testing the applicability of discourse theories to advertising in Amman, this article helps stimulate critical readings of real-estate advertisements, which can undermine the role advertisement texts and images play in shaping the city’s built environment and its perception.

Keywords

imaging; advertising discourse; megaprojects; globalisation; city image; Amman.

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