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The Semiotics of Heritage Tourism


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Table of Contents

List of Figures Acknowledgments 1. An Introduction 2. Advancing Theory 3. Signing the Past 4. Marketing the Past 5. Remembering 6. Living with the Past 7. Conclusion References Index

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The book should become a must-read for everyone: those who are learning tourism, those who are managing tourism and those who are 'being' tourism. The messages of encoding and, more so, decoding are made evident through the authors' presentations of the heritage interpretations they encounter within the book. -- Alan Clarke, University of Pannonia, Veszprem, Hungary Journal of Heritage Tourism, 2015

About the Author

Emma Waterton is a Senior Lecturer at the Institute for Culture and Society, University of Western Sydney, Australia. Her interests include unpacking the discursive constructions of 'heritage'; community involvement in the management of heritage; the divisions implied between tangible and intangible heritage; and the role played by visual media. Publications include Politics, Policy and the Discourses of Heritage in Britain (2010) and Heritage, Communities and Archaeology (2009, with Laurajane Smith).Steve Watson is Principal Lecturer in Tourism at York St John University in the UK. His research is focused on the ways in which heritage is constructed and understood in tourism and the way that tourism acts as a vector for various social and cultural meanings. He has published widely in the field of heritage tourism and recent co-edited books include The Cultural Moment in Tourism (2012, with Laurajane Smith and Emma Waterton) and Heritage and Tourism: Place, Encounter, Engagement (2012, with Robyn Bushell and Russell Staiff).


It is an ambitious, seemingly impossible, task the authors set themselves. Within the narrow space of mere 123 pages the authors review classic perspectives on visuality and representation, discuss them against recent critical positions, and develops their own position that leaves room for embodiment, affect, and performance as a way into exploring the processes and spaces between performance and representation. They also propose a research agenda for heritage/tourism research. All in all, the authors meet the challenges brilliantly. The ambitions of the book combined with the clear and fast-paced style of argumentation and writing provides the reader with a book that easily can be used in graduate/postgraduate courses as well as short welcome reviews of the state-of-the-art of semiotic approaches to heritage, leisure, tourism with a focus on performance, affect and embodiment. -- Maximiliano E. Korstanje, University of Palermo, Argentina Annals of Tourism Research 50 (2015) 173-181 Semiotics is most usually conceptualized as a theoretical abstraction about an indivisible signifier/signified integer. Waterton and Watson go much further by considering the semiotics of heritage tourism as a sense-making process that is embodied, performed, felt and emotionally charged. In so doing, they begin to shift the ocular-centrism and the logo-centrism of heritage tourism theoretically and as a practice. This is a considerable achievement and demands our attention. Russell Staiff, University of Western Sydney, Australia This rare and wonderfully accessible book represents one of the finest pieces of theoretical scholarship in the heritage field. Waterton and Watson advance a theory of semiotics that goes beyond the visual to embody emergent fields of research in the realms of the representational and non-representational. The book represents a key text in heritage studies and is an exemplary landmark in heritage scholarship. Divya Tolia-Kelly, Durham University, UK Waterton and Watson skilfully integrate several emergent dialogues in critical heritage studies and tourism studies centred on theories of affect, the senses, memory, and meaning-making. The authors make a most extraordinary contribution to evolving conceptualizations of tourists as sensing, performing, subjectively situated agents engaged in inter-subjective, embodied encounters with the institutionalized semiotics of authorized and commodified heritage discourses, not passive consumers of such. Joy Sather-Wagstaff, North Dakota State University, USA The timely and provocative contribution made by Waterton and Watson to the general re-theorisation of heritage and tourism will doubtless find this concise volume a place on most reading lists and bibliographies across the discipline. Colin Sterling, UCL, in Papers from the Institute of Archaeology 24(1):8

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