This special issue invites submissions focusing on the multiple connections between tourism, memory and place. Tourism entertains a complex and intricate relation with memory, intended both as the personal ability of recalling the past and as the social act of reconstructing it.
At an individual level, the cognitive act of remembering has a fundamental role in tourists’ experiences: whilst tourists long to live memorable experiences, an important part of the material and sensory dimension of their personal journey is projected towards “bringing back memories”. Thus tourists take pictures, purchase souvenirs or collect mementos in order to construct and evoke a personal narration. On a different register, places of memory become often tourist attractions, and are considered fundamental to the tourist’s understanding of a place. In memory sites, the past is rendered present in a social and collective way. As there are many ways to address and narrate the past, the process of making memory available as a tourist product always involves a mechanism of interpretation, construction and validation of the past. An act that implies the confrontation of sometimes conflicting powers and discourses: political, moral, cultural, economic. In some cases, the reconstruction can be part of an institutional political agenda, as a form of categorisation and dominance. In others, it can be used as an active form of resistance, as a mechanism for dislocating hegemonic narratives and foster a plurality of discourses.
In these processes, local communities find themselves in the ambiguous position of actors, producers and recipients of narrations and discourses about their own past. A deeper understanding of the relation between tourism and memory as a social phenomenon would therefore help to disentangle the intricate relations between these different levels of discourses and ways of transmission.
How is memory appropriated in tourism? How is tourism useful in the shaping of memory? To which extent tourism in memory sites, intended as a way of narrating a story to ′outsiders′, can function as a mechanism to soothe, share and process a trauma? Is the relation between tourism and memory mainly embodied in the commemoration of conflicts, crimes and/or tragic events, - as it is the case in dark tourism? How is memory commodified in tourism spaces? What role do emotions play in tourism at memory sites? And finally, which diverse purposes does memory fulfil in tourism sites – from the simple act of recognition that something occurred, to educational purposes, to the need of commemoration, demanding absolution and forgiveness?
It has been said that memory is far from absent from tourism studies. This special issue is an invitation to a critical investigation of the diversity of possible modes in which memory is produced, appropriated and negotiated in tourism experiences and places. It welcomes submissions from various disciplines, including social anthropology, history, sociology, geography, tourism studies, cultural studies, heritage and museum studies, as well as collaborative work by interdisciplinary research teams are sought. Both empirical and theoretical papers are welcome.
Topics appropriate for this special issue include, but are not limited to, the following subject areas:
- Tourists' practices and the shaping of individual and collective memories
- The role of tourism in the production of memory sites. Which memory, whose memory? Politics, remembrance, identity and the influence of hegemonic discourses
- Collective memory, tourism and heritage-making processes
- Contributions to the conceptualisation of "memory tourism(s)": dark tourism, roots tourism, diaspora tourism, battlefield tourism etc. Different typologies of memorial institutions
- Tourism and the commodification of Nostalgia (Bartoletti, 2010)
- Mechanisms of transmission at memory sites: imaginaries, practices, representations
Submission of manuscripts: 29 February, 2016