Tourism and National Identity in Scotland

29 July 2014

Last month we published Kalyan Bhandari’s book Tourism and National Identity. Here Kalyan gives us some background to the book.

Tourism and National IdentityIt is imperative that I explain the background that has shaped this study and the reason for this book. The materials in this book are based on my doctoral research. The topic was conceived slightly earlier during my MLitt programme in Tourism, Heritage and Development at the University of Glasgow. The first few weeks of the MLitt programme immersed me in Scottish history and culture and I realised that there was a deeper interaction of tourism with the Scottish nation as the touristic heritage of Scotland persistently represented its cultural identity, national image and distinctive characteristics.

I wanted to pursue this area more and in the middle of my MLitt course I transferred to a PhD programme. I felt I could be more objective as I am from Nepal, a country that has no colonial relation with the United Kingdom. In Nepal, the United Kingdom is understood as a unitary entity and the existence of other ‘national’ units within the UK is largely unknown. Thus, the interpretation in this book is informed by my background as a Nepali national and my perception of the UK until coming to Scotland for my postgraduate studies.

My question in this book is:  What role does tourism play in the imagining of the Scottish nation in contemporary Scotland? This question is informed by two important considerations: i) that tourist sites are socio-cultural constructions and different tourism regions, spaces and sites may produce different narratives for tourists; ii) that not all tourism sites or images and icons run a single discourse, as each touristic region or area is different from others in terms of the history it represents and the image and icons they are associated with. I was aware that many people believe the image of Scotland in tourism is unfairly tilted towards one region, the Scottish Highlands, and that this has resulted in a highly stereotyped identity of Scotland favouring this region. Thus, in this book I have chosen the relatively less known southwest and the central belt as my field.

The choice of the southwest region was largely informed by my own home experience. I come from that part of Nepal which is not strongly connected with the popular tourism areas of Nepal. The region does not fit within the stereotypical image of Nepal and is considered largely neglected in terms of tourism development. This correlates strongly to the southwest region of Scotland. In terms of academic orientation, my previous post-graduate qualification in sociology has greatly shaped this book.  However, this work was conducted whilst based in the School of Interdisciplinary Studies of the University of Glasgow and I was constantly interacting with scholars whose disciplinary backgrounds were varied. These facts have strongly influenced my approach in this book.

If you would like more information about the book please see our website.


Tourism and Souvenirs

10 July 2013

This month we published Tourism and Souvenirs by Jenny Cave, Lee Jolliffe and Tom Baum. We asked Jenny to tell us a little about her inspiration for the book.

Tourism and SouvenirsSouvenirs mark the identity of travellers and are ubiquitous ways that people share their experiences of travel with others, whether they are purchased at home to take to travel destinations or are purchased away from home. My background in heritage, museums and operational realities of the cultural industries has meant that I have developed an interest in material culture, which I share with my co-editors Lee Jolliffe and Tom Baum. I am also a weaver and come from a family of artist/producers so that this interest in material heritage crystallises around the challenges earning an income based in cultural and local natural resources.

As lead editor I also share some common academic interests and backgrounds with my co-editors. Both Lee Jolliffe and I are graduates of the Masters of Museum Studies (formerly Masters of Museology) at the University of Toronto (Canada). Lee and I share a common interest with Tom Baum in Island Studies and tourism, and I had the opportunity to visit Lee in both New Brunswick and Barbados to start some joint research there on souvenir purchases by cruise passengers, which while not specifically reported on in the book, influenced the development of my own co-authored chapter on souvenirs at a New Zealand Cruise port.

My co-editors, Lee Jolliffe and Tom Baum and I have worked with the developmental aspirations of many cultural communities around the world so have experienced first-hand the complex phenomenon of souveniring production, marketing, distribution and purchase processes. The unique glocal focus of the volume is a logical extension of our collective experience and profoundly different significations that are born of local and global place and identity, yet there are also commonalties when you compare locations and cultures. Tom’s participation in the project was pivotal to extending the reach of the research into the hospitality arena and in framing the concepts in the initial chapter.

Personally, as lead editor I felt that it was important to raise the unconsciously expressed mutual influences that tourist purchasers and producers have on each other. Further, I wanted to get beneath the surficial view of souvenirs and repeated emphasis on a handful of key authors that appear in this literature, and to push the boundaries of understanding of the tourism as a sustainable industry, exploring this issue through the lens of souvenirs, providing a new foundation for future research.

For more information on Jenny’s book click here and if you found the subject of this book interesting you might also like other books in the Tourism and Cultural Change series.


Tourism and the Shifting Values of Cultural Heritage

25 April 2013
Chiang Kai-shek Memorial Hall

Chiang Kai-shek Memorial Hall

Earlier this month I attended the Tourism and the Shifting Values of Cultural Heritage conference, organised by the Ironbridge Institute for Cultural Heritage, University of Birmingham and National Taiwan University. The conference was held at the Chiang Kai-shek Memorial Hall, Taipei – easily the most impressive conference venue I’ve experienced!

Lee Jolliffe and Joyce Yeh in front of the CVP stand!

The conference was well-attended by Channel View authors, Mike Robinson was one of the conference convenors, and Lee Jolliffe, Philip Xie, Kevin Hannam and Rick Hallett all presented papers. There were a lot of delegates from different disciplines such as history and anthropology. A lot of the attendees remarked on the high quality of papers and I managed to get to a few of them – spices, anime and aboriginal tourism among the subjects.

Mike Robinson closing the conference

Mike Robinson closing the conference

Among the conference highlights were study visits round Taipei,  a 10-course banquet at the Grand Hotel which offered amazing views of the city, and an evening of karaoke – with some brilliant performances from delegates!

Taipei is a great city to visit – I’d highly recommend it :)

Sarah


An Interview with Dallen Timothy

4 August 2011

With his new textbook Cultural Heritage and Tourism just published we asked Dallen Timothy a few questions about what inspires his research.

What inspired you to study tourism and in particular heritage tourism?
While I was undertaking my undergraduate studies, I had an opportunity to become the co-owner of a travel agency, so I changed my major from linguistics and international relations to geography, which is where the tourism degree was situated at my undergraduate institution. The business deal fell through, thankfully, but I ended up being devoted to geography and in particular to the geography of tourism. As I began learning about the world of tourism and its many perspectives and manifestations, I became more interested in furthering my education to understand the phenomenon of tourism. I completed a master’s degree in political/cultural geography at the University of Western Ontario, Canada, and then completed a PhD in the geography of tourism at the University of Waterloo, Canada. I was blessed to work with great mentors like Lloyd Hudman, Richard Butler and Geoff Wall during my undergraduate and graduate years. How could one not be interested in tourism research with these remarkable mentors? As for heritage, since I was a small child I have always been interested in archaeological sites and historic places, and the events and people that accompanied them. It is a truly deep passion for me, not just a job, but a lifelong, serious endeavour. Naturally I gravitated to this subfield within tourism studies, and it has been extremely satisfying.

What makes your book different from others that have been published before?
It provides the most comprehensive overview of cultural heritage and tourism heretofore published and is a state of the art assessment of the field. It focuses on the social science aspects of heritage tourism but also delves into many of the management issues and how these can be dealt with to make heritage places more sustainable and the tourism that revolves around them more destination-friendly. Also unique is the book’s second half, which examines various subtypes of cultural/heritage tourism in greater detail and relates each one’s characteristics and concerns back to the important concepts of sustainability, authenticity, identity, dissonance, interpretation, conflict, and the like.

Which researchers in your field do you particularly admire?
As I mentioned earlier, I have great admiration for Lloyd Hudman (who passed away in 2009), Dick Butler and Geoff Wall. Professor Hudman wrote a couple of pioneering textbook during the 1970s and 80s that were widely used in tourism courses as the field was just beginning to grow. He was a wonderful undergraduate advisor, who gave me a taste of the good life in the tourism academy. I took courses from Professor Butler at the University of Western Ontario, and it was he who really helped me develop a fascination with scholarly research in tourism. Professor Wall was an amazing PhD supervisor, who provided a lot of insight, encouragement and constructive criticism, and also pointed me in the right direction as a researcher. Identifying others is hard, because there are so many excellent tourism researchers, but in my work on cultural heritage I have developed a particular fondness for the writings of Valene Smith, Mike Hall, Stephen Page, David Lowenthal, Greg Ashworth, Brian Graham, Erik Cohen, Richard Prentice, Myriam Jansen-Verbeke, Alan Fyall, Brian Garrod, Graham Dann, Anna Leask, David Herbert, Dean MacCannell, Gianna Moscardo, Alison McIntosh, Bob McKercher, Greg Richards, Tony Seaton, Hilary du Cros, Myra Shackley, John Tunbridge, Melanie Smith, Deepak Chhabra, Joan Henderson, David Airey, and Yaniv Poria. I admire the work of so many brilliant scholars, so it is very hard to narrow this one down.

As a tourism academic you must get to travel to some exotic locations. Where is the most unusual place you have travelled to for work?
I think it’s a toss-up between Greenland and Bhutan. While these are two very different places, they are both extremely unique and fascinating. I have been privileged to have visited more than 120 countries, and I hope to visit many more in the years ahead. Every place has a unique heritage, and I am prone to be interested in the details of every individual place’s past and present. That’s what makes travelling most interesting for me.

What do you think you might have done if you hadn’t pursued a career in academia?
I would probably be in government. I had always wanted to work in the Foreign Service for the US government as some sort of diplomat. I’m glad to have become an academic, however.

And finally, what is your next research project?
Just one? I never have just one, so here’s a more long-winded answer. Presently, I am co-writing two books (and developing three more), which should be published in 2012 by Channel View Publications, one on tourism trails and the other on Christian travel. I also have several ongoing and near-future research projects. First is an examination of divided cities throughout the world to address the dynamics of cross-border management of cultural resources in cities that are partitioned by international borders. The second project looks at borders as a form of geopolitical heritage and the meanings of this designation. Third is a series of surveys in Israel and Palestine with colleagues there to assess the meanings and adaptations of Christian souvenirs and Christian tourism in the Holy Land. Fourth is an exciting new project in six countries of Central America looking at several tourism phenomena, including Mayan culture, intra-regional migration, borderlands shopping and trade, and cross-border cooperation in planning and development. The fifth project, which is in its initial stages of development, examines the role of slave heritage and sugar culture in the Caribbean. Finally, I am finalizing a project that looks at the relationships between religious tourists and destination residents in Nepal and India.


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