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Heritage performance and meaning making

Heritage performance and meaning making
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What then are the heritage performances? the heritage performances of meaning making that visitors or tourists engage in when they go to different heritage places, what are they doing there, what are the ideas and meanings that they are making, and how are they doing it? One of the things that I’m particularly interested in looking at in terms of how they do that? Is the way in which emotions are activated at these sites and why tourists use their emotional responses to help them both construct meaning, but also disengage with meaning. So the ways in which emotions help the tourists’ experience. So from about 2004 to just last year I stopped, I did the last interview.
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The last is a interview I would do for a long time until last year in 2017. Visitors at all these sites, I have interviewed over two and a half thousand visitors. And I can tell you it is a too big sample because it part of my problem. That’s why I haven’t finish writing up this book is because it’s doing my headiness, as we say in English, how to analyze all this data. As I said, four and a half thousand interviews, the interviews were collected as people were accident in the sites. I would approach the visitors and ask them if they would be willing to talk to me and to have their interview recorded.
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There are a range of questions asked at all of these different sites. But there was a corps of these twelve questions that were asked to cross all sites in the study. And the responses, as I said, were recorded and were transcribed and then I went through each of the questions and coded those questions looking for the themes that emerged out of this data. So this is contrary to much research done in tourism, which tends to be far more quantitative in nature, so you tend to use questionnaires on a scale of one to five, how much do you agree or disagree with this statement?
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So I was very much concerned to get an organic sense of what people were doing to find out what was the narrative going on in people’s heads as they go through the sites. So, rather than getting them to tell me whether or not they agree with my own assumptions, which is much of quantitative research, I would argue does it an interpretive study? I chose sites either because they were of national importance. For instance, the sites like the Cowboy Hall of Fame in the United States spoke to a national understanding of America. Along with Presidential House is the famous side of Ellis Island, which is immigration site, and so on. They were sights that spoke to national identity.
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And then the other half of sites were sites that spoke to sub national identities. So it spoke to what we call dissonant heritage or controversial or uncomfortable heritage that would include, for instance, sites about working class history, such as the Industry and Labor Site in Youngstown the United States, or indigenous sites, such as Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park or the First Australians Gallery, which is about the aboriginal people in Australia, or sites of enslavement in the United States and England sites where with slaves were made to work or was sold and so on. All sites of immigration, which can be quite controversial in some parts of the population in England, United States and Australia.
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So sites were perceived national values and sites that were perceived to speak to particular stakeholder groups. Just to show you some good qualitative researches we do. We will show you the population that we interviewed. So that’s a breakdown of the numbers of people interviewed in each of the countries. you can see that they were roughly female. Female tending to dominate because that is what happens within heritage tourism. It tends to be slightly women that go to these sites. A slightly older population, fifty seven percent were aged over forty five.
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Again, about typical population, first of all, well educated, the university level, and of course, significantly for what I’m going to talk about is that most of the visitors were from the dominant ethnic backgrounds in their countries, that is they were white. British, Caucasian Americans or at what we call Anglo Celtic, Australian, that is basically white. Eighteen percent were overseas tourists to the country in which I was surveying. And twelve percent, a relatively high percentage came from non-dominant ethnic backgrounds. Now that, as I said, it a fairly typical profile of museum and heritage sites visitors, except for a slightly higher degree of non-dominant ethnic background. And that is because I interviewed at the sites of importance to
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people from non dominant ethnic or non dominant class backgrounds.

In this video, you will learn about what the embodied performances in heritage visiting are.

After watching the video, do you think what kind of role does heritage sites visiting play in national identity and sub national identity?

Please feel free to leave your comments in the discussion area.

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International Culture and Tourism Management: Cultural Heritage and Tourism Management

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