The Cultural Moment in Heritage Tourism

New perspectives on performance and engagement
Ask most tourists and they will tell you that visiting heritage sites is primarily about ‘having a nice day out’. Recreation, leisure and sometimes a desire for education or the expression or demonstration of cultural ‘taste’ are all well documented motivations for touristic activities.

But what cultural work does the act of visiting cultural sites actually do?  What, in cultural and social terms, is achieved by having ‘a nice day out’?  What also, beyond the economic, is obtained by the delineation of cultural sites and places for touristic consumption?

This work explores the cultural and social work that both the act of visiting, and the provision of heritage sites for touristic use, does – it aims to capture the cultural moment in heritage tourism.

In identifying and capturing this ‘moment’, the volume also aims to explore what this may mean for a critical understanding of both tourism and heritage itself.

In providing a deeper and nuanced understanding of the motivations, on-site activities, meaning construction and other cultural work by both tourists and tourist operators, the work aims to provide a critical and holistic understanding of the interrelation between heritage and the tourism industry.

We therefore invite contributions from established scholars across a range of fields who might want to address, refine, take issue with or replace some of the following questions:

  • How are cultural encounters best understood in tourism contexts?
  • To what extent are moments of engagement premeditated or random?
  • Can such moments be created, and what does this imply about agency and subjective understandings?
  • How are cultural moments configured in cyberspace, with the advent of Web 2.0 in particular?
  • To what extent is the cultural moment constitutive of other social relations such as power and authority, gender and history?
  • How is the moment embodied? What movement is revealed? What senses are involved?
  • How is performance modulated by moments of engagement, and what are the reciprocities of engagement and performance in tourism places?

It is our intention to present a collection of chapters to explore these and other related questions that our contributors may offer. We invite theoretical and conceptual contributions; the results of empirical research; reflections on lived experience; and applications of emergent theory to cases preferably of international significance. To be considered for this publication, you should submit a 300-word abstract to Laurajane Smith, Emma Waterton and Steve Watson at no later than 31st March, 2010.