Identity and Intercultural Exchange in Travel and Tourism

Next month we are publishing Identity and Intercultural Exchange in Travel and Tourism edited by Anthony David Barker. Anthony took a bit of time to tell us how the book came together.

Identity and Intercultural Exchange in Travel and TourismThe idea for the collection of essays comes out of the engagement of a group of scholars at the University of Aveiro in Portugal (and its various network of partners) with the changing face of modern travel and tourism. These changes have become of particular importance over the last decade when Portugal has struggled to stay above water economically. One minister recently described tourism as the precious jewel of the Portuguese economy. This level of commercial dependence got us all thinking about the ways in which imagination and enterprise could hope to capitalize on already fast-changing patterns of international mobility. The topic also expanded to include identity questions associated with migration and labour mobility. Just how people’s movements around the globe affect their sense of belonging (or otherwise) and in this way processes of identification with the places they visit are also brought into focus.

The first section of the volume deals with particular interactions of peoples, notably German settlers in Majorca, and new ways of experiencing the foreign which are being picked up on by entrepreneurs and marketed accordingly to niche groups. This includes various forms of ‘extreme’, dark and film-related tourism, as well as more ‘zen’ attempts to slow down the holiday experience and to cherish the ‘getting there’ (with its concern for stations, airports, trains and buses, as well as everything that can be experienced on foot) over the ‘being there’ of monuments, hotels, pools and beaches.

The second section looks at imaginative and literary treatments of holiday and travel experiences, exploring the extent to which the self opens and develops in contact with unfamiliar worlds. Both fiction and travel reportage are drawn upon for this investigation of the fluidity of personal identity.

The third section concerns itself with the case of Portugal. Specialised cultural, wine and food-related tourism are the focus of different chapters, and there is also a piece on spatial perceptions in the organization of holiday experience.

The collection of essays, Identity and Intercultural Exchange in Travel and Tourism is therefore a fresh take by 15 scholars on the issue of exactly what and how experience is exchanged and how change is experienced by both host and visitor cultures.

If you found this interesting please see our website for more details. You might also like: Tourism and National Identity by Kalyan Bhandari.

BAAL Book Prize Winner 2013

Laura accepting the BAAL Book Prize on behalf of Alastair Pennycook
Laura accepting the BAAL Book Prize on behalf of Alastair Pennycook

Looking back over 2013, it has been a very busy year for us at Multilingual Matters and we have published many exciting books.  However, one of the highlights of the year actually involves a book that we published last year, Alastair Pennycook’s Language and Mobility: Unexpected Places.  In September it was announced that the book had jointly won the annual British Association of Applied Linguistics (BAAL) Book Prize! A bit of excitement for our office and something for Alastair Pennycook to be really proud of.

9781847697639The book is comprised of a series of personal and narrative accounts and it explores aspects of travel, mobility and locality to ask how languages, cultures and people turn up in unexpected places. Among the materials and contexts included in the book are farewell addresses to British workers in colonial India, letters written from parents to their children at home, a Cornish anthem sung in South Australia, a country fair in rural Australia, and a cricket match played in the middle of the 19th century in south India. The result is a thought-provoking, original work and we feel it is a really worthy winner of the prize.

The prize was awarded at the annual BAAL conference (see Laura’s post on that here) and Alastair’s book now joins the 18 books which have won the award in the past – the full list of which is on the BAAL website.

Introducing our new book series ‘Language, Mobility and Institutions’

To tie in with the publication of the first books in our new series, the series editors Melissa Moyer (Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona) and Celia Roberts (King’s College  London) have written this post presenting the series.

We are very happy to introduce this new series on ‘Language, Mobility and Institutions’. The theme of this series and the manuscripts we seek to publish address a new sociolinguistic reality brought about by globalization. This worldwide social process challenges researchers dealing with language to adopt innovative perspectives in order to provide an improved understanding of how language is implicated in the various institutions of society. ‘Institutions’ in the title of the series is not just limited to established social, administrative, political or economic entities in the public, private or non-governmental sector but also to sites and contexts where institutionalized practices are produced and reproduced in the daily undertakings of people who move around the world.

Communicative Practices at Work

The first books in the new series are being published this autumn. We hope these will be the first of many which aim to link the experience of being mobile with the institutional responses to increasing diversity. Institutions, understood in a wide sense, are grappling with the conundrum of national or institutional ideologies which assume standardization or homogenous ways of thinking in situations of superdiversity. Meanwhile, migrants see their social and cultural capital leeching away or look for ways to resist and develop alternative strategies to gain agency and cope with inequality and social exclusion.

Sitting on the train in any major city in the world, it is commonplace to hear five or six different languages in a carriage. In everyday life multilingualism is a banal event. But how does this play out in institutions? Much of the time, it is swept under the carpet as a largely unrecognised and rarely remunerated workforce of multilingual people is expected to act as interpreters and translators. At the same time, linguistic gatekeepers are at work in selection panels, designing an oh-so-narrow gate for the few to pass through.

The present series seeks to bring forth the innovative ways people are pushing at these very gates which are being safeguarded by powerful institutions and how they are finding creative ways of contesting exclusionary practices by setting up their own businesses. Similarly, some organisations are championing communicative flexibility within their own workforces.

Language, Migration and Social Inequalities

And this is one of the themes of Jo Anne Kleifgen’s book which was published last week. Communicative Practices at Work is an ethnographic and sociolinguistic account of how one US firm is drawing on the multilingual and multimodal resources of its staff. In November Language, Migration and Social Inequalities edited by Alexandre Duchêne, Melissa Moyer and Celia Roberts takes a critical look at sites of control, selection and resistance across settings in Europe, Africa and Australia.

Both these books draw the reader into research sites quite far removed from the majority of books on sociolinguistics which tend to focus on language rights, education or local communities. With this new series, workplace settings such as high-tech factories, the marketplaces of South Africa or the world of the airline stewardess are explored. Similarly, light is shed on the backstage work of institutions where language use is negotiated as migrants’ lives are made bureaucratically processable.

We are finding the editorship of this series a pretty exciting experience since any one aspect of language, mobility and institutions is nested in wider contexts, discourses and interactions. Local and national politics, the forces of the neo-liberal economy, the multiple networks of migrant groups and the contact they maintain with their countries of origin and transit are all part of the tangled web which has language as its centre.

We welcome manuscripts or book projects that presents research that would contribute to the widely defined themes of the present series. If you think you have a proposal to make then do get in touch with Anna Roderick at Multilingual Matters and we will get back to you soon.

Celia and Melissa