Cultural tourism as memories: cultural representations as memories of European holiday making among Edinburgh residents

Thornycroft, Fiona Marjorie Elizabeth (2001). Cultural tourism as memories: cultural representations as memories of European holiday making among Edinburgh residents. PhD thesis The Open University.



Whereas previous literature has tended to focus on tourism in terms of motivation, expectation or presence (Prentice 1996), this thesis considers how tourism can be understood in terms of memory. During two periods of data collection (June 1997 to October 1997 and September 1998 to February 1999) interviews were conducted in the homes of respondents who had taken a European cultural holiday within the last three years. These respondents were selected from two 'middle-class' wards in Edinburgh. A full discussion of the methodology and process of analysis is presented in chapter two.

The first phase of the study focused on incidents remembered by tourists who have undertaken a European cultural holiday and how these are conveyed through social discourse. The second phase investigates how tourists represent their memories in other tangible forms such as photographs and souvenirs. The meaning and symbolism of these memories are analysed using discourse analysis, while content analysis was used to provide an indication as to the extent of behaviours.

The thesis presents a number of models which might be used to provide an understanding of tourism as memory. These include Faulk and Dierking's model of 'interactive experience', which was developed within a museum context; topological models such as those developed by Cohen (1979) and Smith (1978); hierarchical typologies such as those developed by Driver-Brown (1980) and Beeho and Prentice (1995); and the theory of laddering technique (Reynolds and Gutman 1988). Drawing on these models a 'composite model of remembered experience' is proposed which serves to integrate the literature and thus produce a better understanding of memory within the context of cultural tourism.

In the first three data chapters the 'composite model of remembered experience' is reviewed, based on data gathered during the first phase of the investigation. The interview data suggest that key areas of remembered experience within the cultural holidays are learning, authenticity and relaxation. These subjects therefore form the bases of chapters three, four and five and each subject is explored in the context of remembered experience. Chapters six and seven are based on the second phase of data collection and investigate the use of souvenirs and photograph as memory prompts. Again the 'composite model of remembered experience' provides the basis of these chapters, the emphasis in each chapter reflecting the points expressed in the respondents' narrated memories. In addition to this, these chapters investigate the context of display and non-display, and question the extent to which such items are actually used as memory prompts. In each of the data chapters the potential benefits of recalling holiday memories (both privately and in public) are discussed, including the role such memories may play in enhancing past tourists' appreciation of other cultures and the possibility of selecting certain memories in order to enhance social status.

The data chapters are framed by an initial chapter, in which relevant literature is reviewed, and a concluding chapter, which returns to the issues raised in chapter one, and shows how the data may be used to further the understanding of both memory and cultural tourism.

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