|ON A QUEST FOR AUTHENTICITY TO AN IMAGINARY PLACE: A NARRATIVE ANALYSIS OF THE EXPERIENCES OF BRITISH LITERARY TOURISTS|
|Monday, 22 June 2015 10:29|
About the Author:
Evgenia Amey completed a Master’s Degree in Tourism Studies in Social Sciences at the University of Lapland in Finland and her thesis focuses on the experiences of tourists from the UK whose main motivation to travel to a certain place comes from fictional literature and for whom a literary trip has personal significance.
Literary tourism is a sub-sector of cultural tourism and relates to travelling to places connected to fictional texts and the authors of those texts. Sites visited by literary tourists can be connected to the writer or literary work: places associated with writers, actual places featuring in the fictional text or places that inspired the work of fiction can act as literary sites. Although literary tourism is an old form of tourism and lies at the foundation of classic European Grand Tour, it has not received much academic attention until recently and a number of qualitative studies on literary tourist experiences is still limited.
This study aims to address the lack of knowledge on literary tourist experiences by producing and analysing rich qualitative data in the form of written narratives of literary tourist experiences. The research objectives are, firstly, to explore how respondents prescribe meanings to their literary tourist experiences; secondly, to discover how authenticity appears in narratives of literary tourist experiences; and, thirdly, to find out how respondents construct their narratives of literary tourist experiences;
My particular focus was on the role of authenticity in literary tourist experience. An ongoing discourse on authenticity in tourism saw the emergence of different views and resulted in proposition of three general types of authenticity, namely objective authenticity, constructive authenticity and existential authenticity. The first two types concern tourist objects, therefore they are viewed as object-related, while existential authenticity is subject (or tourist)-related and is based on personal experience.
Collected data included seven narratives, written by respondents on their literary tourist experiences. Another cluster of data included travel journal jointly produced by members of after-school study group on their literary tourist experience and group supervisor’s notes on the effects of literary tourism on students. Apart from content analysis, structural analysis of narrative was conducted using Greimas’s actantial model.
The research results support the assumption that all three types of authenticity can be important in literary tourist experience and that object-related (objective and constructive) authenticity can facilitate subject-related (existential) authenticity. The study further confirms that literary tourists are a heterogeneous group and authenticity is perceived and consumed differently by individual literary tourists based on their motivations, expectations and levels of knowledge and dedication regarding the writers and literary works.
The results of the study can be utilized in management of literary destinations. Future research on the subject of literary tourist experiences can concentrate on the specifics of tourists’ age and gender, literary touristic communitas and literary tourism as family activity.
Keywords: Authenticity in tourism, cultural tourism, literary geographies, literary tourism, narrative analysis, tourist experiences, tourism studies.