Navigating contested memories in a commercialised setting: conflict avoidance strategies in Kyiv city tour guiding
journal contributionposted on 26.08.2020, 08:53 by Simon Schlegel, Alena Pfoser
While the tourism industry is oriented towards creating attractive images of destinations, histories of violence and suffering have increasingly been incorporated into tourism offers and are often actively promoted by states and tourism organisations. A growing body of scholarship has focused on how difficult pasts have been represented and have analysed the driving factors behind the rise of such heritage. Commercial tourism offers such as guided city tours have however largely been overlooked as arenas for communicating difficult pasts. This article provides an in-depth examination of memory work of commercial guides, focusing on the example of Russian-language tour guiding in Ukraine’s capital Kyiv. Drawing on participant observations of 20 guided city tours and interviews with 18 tour guides, the article identifies a wide range of narrative strategies that guides adopt to navigate pasts that have been subject to memory conflicts. During tours, guides adjust how much they say, what evidence they provide, what aspects of the past they present as relevant as well as their manner of speaking. These conflict avoidance strategies are part of a pragmatic approach to memory that deserves greater attention in the study of difficult pasts.
Read the paper on the publisher website
Tourism as memory-making: heritage and memory wars in post-Soviet cities
Economic and Social Research CouncilFind out more...
- Social Sciences and Humanities
- Communication and Media
- Social and Policy Studies