Beyond Disciplinary Communities TFDC 1.18
Jul 06, 2023 13:30 - 15:00(Europe/London)
20230706T1330 20230706T1500 Europe/London 7.12. Memory and Tourism II: Performances and infrastructures

As the only session about tourism at the last MSA Annual Conference stated, 'tourism – one of the central ways of how mobility is organised and experienced in late modernity – remains underresearched in the field of memory studies.' While there has been a lot of preoccupation with travelling memory following the 'transcultural' (Bond and Rapson, 2014) and 'transnational' (Erll and Rigney, 2018) turns, particular forms of mnemonic movements such as those the enabled by communication technologies, migration processes, international politics and social movements have been privileged. The two panels "Memory and tourism I and II" respond to the dearth of research on memory-making in tourism by centering tourism as a popular means through which memory travels across time and space. They seek to advance the discussion on tourism and memory-making in several ways: firstly, the panels intend to form an interdisciplinary dialogue between different approaches to studying memory and tourism and draw attention to the diversity of agents and sites of memory-making in tourism. The panels contribute to the MSA thematic stream on Beyond Disciplinary Communities by bringing together a range of theoretical and empirical reflections from different disciplines (cultural studies, film studies, literary studies, geography and anthropology) and subjects (return tourism, nostalgic tourism, 'red tourism', heritage tourism and cultural tourism, political tourism). On the individual level, they explore how tourists make sense of the past through remembering and imagining their trips in relation to sociocultural contexts. On the collective level, they look at the production of cultural memories in tourist sites and guided tours as they try to stabilise or destabilise cultural memorie ...

TFDC 1.18 MSA Conference Newcastle 2023 conference@memorystudiesassociation.org
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As the only session about tourism at the last MSA Annual Conference stated, 'tourism – one of the central ways of how mobility is organised and experienced in late modernity – remains underresearched in the field of memory studies.' While there has been a lot of preoccupation with travelling memory following the 'transcultural' (Bond and Rapson, 2014) and 'transnational' (Erll and Rigney, 2018) turns, particular forms of mnemonic movements such as those the enabled by communication technologies, migration processes, international politics and social movements have been privileged. The two panels "Memory and tourism I and II" respond to the dearth of research on memory-making in tourism by centering tourism as a popular means through which memory travels across time and space. They seek to advance the discussion on tourism and memory-making in several ways: firstly, the panels intend to form an interdisciplinary dialogue between different approaches to studying memory and tourism and draw attention to the diversity of agents and sites of memory-making in tourism. The panels contribute to the MSA thematic stream on Beyond Disciplinary Communities by bringing together a range of theoretical and empirical reflections from different disciplines (cultural studies, film studies, literary studies, geography and anthropology) and subjects (return tourism, nostalgic tourism, 'red tourism', heritage tourism and cultural tourism, political tourism). On the individual level, they explore how tourists make sense of the past through remembering and imagining their trips in relation to sociocultural contexts. On the collective level, they look at the production of cultural memories in tourist sites and guided tours as they try to stabilise or destabilise cultural memories.
Furthermore, the panels also explore the consequences of memory-making in tourism. We will discuss tourism's potential as a tool for intervention across a range of contexts and social phenomena including, but not limited to, identity formation, conflict recovery, and social justice. In doing so, we also ask how tourism is imbricated with other forms of travelling in memory-making, analysing how transnational, transgenerational and postcolonial movements of memory are enabled or disabled by tourism.

While Memory and Tourism I centred on mediated memories, Memory and tourism II focuses on the role of performances and infrastructures in the touristic production of memory. It presents processual and performative approaches that emphasise the role of the body, emotions and materiality and analyses the political economy in which tourism memories are produced and circulated.



Andong Li

The articulation of mediated and embodied memories: Re-membering and de-membering 'Taiwanese compatriots' through tourism

Studies of memory and tourism have barely dealt with how tourists remember their travel experiences in sociocultural contexts. On the other hand, the relationship between tourism and the everyday, though getting much attention after the 'performative turn' in tourism studies, has been less discussed regarding how tourist memories are intertwined with other quotidian memories to make sense of the trips. Considering these two limitations, this paper draws on Stuart Hall's 'articulation' to explore how mainland Chinese tourists articulate their embodied memories of travelling to Taiwan with their mediated memories of 'Taiwanese compatriots' learnt primarily from institutional channels in everyday life.

Tourism from the Chinese mainland to Taiwan was first permitted in 2008. Before that, Chinese people had had almost no opportunities to set their foot on the soil of Taiwan. Tourism as embodied encounters thus adds to the official discourse of 'Taiwanese compatriots' that frames Taiwan as part of China and Taiwanese people as 'compatriots'. This idea has been hitherto contested but only in mediated ways, and tourism offers a chance to investigate the articulation of mediated and embodied memories, through which 'Taiwanese compatriots' are re-membered and de-membered.

Based on interviews and focus groups with 29 mainland Chinese tourists, the paper first identifies two elements of remembering 'Taiwanese compatriots' as a claim of intimacy ('we are a family') and ownership ('we own Taiwan'). These earlier memories are then articulated with travel experiences to make sense of Taiwan by either hegemonising or resisting the two elements, which further leads to three positions of articulation: hegemonising intimacy and ownership, hegemonising intimacy while resisting ownership, and the opposite. Each position responds differently to cross-strait relations and entails divergent levels of potential for reconciliation. In the current geopolitical context, these positions reveal the paradox between intimacy and ownership, which becomes increasingly visible due to the new possibilities of visiting Taiwan in person. Theoretically, these findings suggest that embodied memories of tourism should be understood by their articulation with mediated memories in everyday life.


Michal Huss

The Transgressive Art of Walking: Entanglements of transcultural memory activism and tourism in Berlin and South Tel Aviv

This paper will map two grids of city walking tours, conceptualizing them as expressions of transcultural memory activism. The first are walking tours in Berlin, guided by Syrian refugees, which use memorials of local traumatic history to testify to refugees' current traumas. The second are walking tours in an impoverished neighbourhood of south Tel Aviv, that inter-weave African asylum seekers' traveling memories as part of the story of those streets. By studying these distinct political interventions together, the paper will articulate a broader argument concerning the agency of refuges to impact and expand the public memory of the cities they inhabit or traverse through. It will also inquire into the political potentials and limitations of the mixture of tourism and transcultural memory activism – demonstrating how attempts to manipulate urban divisions cannot fully evade the complexity of power relations that characterize urban societies. Walking has a dual significance to this paper as a topic of study and a research method, demonstrating a participatory method of 'walk-along' ethnography conducted between 2018-2020 that entailed joining dozens of tours and interviewing tour-guides and participants. Utilizing this framework, the paper will illustrate how tours led by forcibly displaced persons offer a significant decolonising and cosmopolitan understanding of the places, space-times, and geopolitics of the city. Based on this, it will argue that architectural theory and memory studies research should include not only the material environment but also consider ostensible 'others' can animate those material landscapes through their political performances. The paper therefore wishes to merge and advance two theoretical avenues in memory studies that remain largely separate: the transcultural turn, which can benefit from greater attention to the materiality of transcultural memory, and research on the materiality of memory that can be advanced by transgressing beyond the analytical categories of nation states and distinct ethno-national groups.


Katie Markham

Post-conflict tourism, communities and museums in Northern Ireland

So-called 'troubles tourism' has been on the rise in Northern Ireland since the signing of the Good Friday Agreement. Initially an 'unofficial' part of Northern Ireland's tourism industry, where they were primarily run by those with direct experience of the conflict, political tours of cities like Belfast and London/Derry have become increasingly central to Northern Ireland's tourism offer in recent years. Key developments, such as Belfast's 2017 City Centre Social Outcomes Fund, which saw the Council invest millions of pounds of investment in grassroots tourism initiatives in both East and West Belfast, as well as provide capital funding for a number of conflict-related museums, means that conflict tourism is now being formally embedded into Northern Ireland's infrastructure.

This paper will examine these recent policy changes, and will assess their impacts on the development of local memoryscapes in East and West Belfast. Focusing in particular on the relationship between political tourism, and Belfast's independent museum sector, this paper explores the ways in which these evolving infrastructures and memory cultures have reshaped international outlooks and perspectives on the Troubles, and explores the impacts of this for people living in Northern Ireland.


Alena Pfoser (co-author: Sabine Stach)

Beyond difficult pasts: understanding memory-making in tourism

Despite being a crucial field for the public production and circulation of memories, tourism has been notoriously underexamined in memory studies research. This is evidenced by the small absolute number of studies on the memory-tourism nexus in books, articles and at conferences. Moreover, research has been thematically narrowed to sites and phenomena associated with 'dark tourism'. With notable exceptions (see Marita Sturken and Sabine Marschall), existing research on memory production in tourism has been predominantly concerned with difficult and painful pasts, including studies of Holocaust tourism, battlefield tourism, tourism to sites associated with violent conflict, terrorist attacks, slavery and communist repressions. This paper argues for a thematic expansion of research in relation to three key areas: sites, modes and scales of remembering. Firstly, we advocate for an examination of non-musealized heritage sites including iconic buildings such as the pyramids, the Eiffel tower or cathedrals as well as considering non-site-based forms of memory production such as guided tours. Secondly, drawing on Ann Rigney's critique of a focus on the traumatic, we contend that memory-making in tourism lends itself well to examining memories of joy and happiness as well as ambiguous and playful modes of memory production. Finally, the paper seeks to expand the scales of analysis to include the personal memories of tourists as well as examining interscalar movements including the reterritorialisation of transnational memories in tourism. Our argument is twofold: On the one hand, an expansion of research allows us to gain a fuller perspective on memory-making in tourism. On the other hand, tourism provides us with an opportunity to expand the agenda of memory studies more generally. It not only allows us to study memories of happiness and joy but also to bring questions of commodification and performativity more centrally into memory studies research. 

PhD candidate
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King's College London
Postdoctoral researcher
,
The Hebrew University of Jerusalem
Lecturer
,
Newcastle University
Loughborough University, London
Senior Lecturer
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King's College London
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