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Identities across Media and Modes: Discursive Perspectives

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Edited By Giuliana Elena Garzone and Paola Catenaccio

The recognition that identity is mutable, multi-layered and subject to multiple modes of construction and de-construction has contributed to problematizing the issues associated with its representation in discourse, which has recently been attracting increasing attention in different disciplinary areas. Identity representation is the main focus of this volume, which analyses instances of multimedia and multimodal communication to the public at large for commercial, informative, political or cultural purposes. In particular, it examines the impact of the increasingly sophisticated forms of expression made available by the evolution of communication technologies, especially in computer-mediated or web-based settings, but also in more traditional media (press, cinema, TV). The basic assumption shared by all contributors is that communication is the locus where identities, either collective, social or individual, are deliberately constructed and negotiated.
In their variety of topics and approaches, the studies collected in this volume testify to the criticality of representing personal, professional and organizational identities through the new media, as their ability to reach a virtually unlimited audience amplifies the potential political, cultural and economic impact of discursive identity constructions. They also confirm that new highly sophisticated media can forge identities well beyond the simply iconic or textual representation, generating deeply interconnected webs of meaning capable of occupying an expanding – and adaptable – discursive space.

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GIULIANA GARZONE Identity in Tourist Communication on the Internet: Italy’s and Spain’s Web Sites Contrasted 29

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GIULIANA GARZONE Identity in Tourist Communication on the Internet: Italy’s and Spain’s Websites Contrasted 1. Identities in tourism Tourism, as a complex, multi-layered global process, involves the dynamic interplay of numerous different identities: social, national, cultural and ethnic, pertaining to countries, places, organizations and individuals. Some of these identities are more clearly defined and stable, while others are fluid and mutable, and therefore more elusive and difficult to capture. However, in the so far not very rich literature on identities in tourism, produced mainly by tourism management experts, anthro- pologists and sociologists, it is possible to identify some recurrent notions. As concerns local social identities and cultures, it is now widely recognized that although in tourism attractions vary, cultural elements, including social identities, will invariably be included as part of the ‘product mix’ (Ritchie/Zins 1978: 257; Greenwood 1989: 183). In many cases in order to be offered to tourists for consumption, identities will be adapted with a view to reducing the impact of the difference between the visitors’ and the visited’s cultural back- grounds. In this way social identities are used as commodities (Burns/ Novelli 2006b: 3-5). Hence worries about cultural expropriation and/or appropriation involved in this process and about the hypocrisy surrounding attempts at cultural ‘preservation’ (e.g. Greenwood 1989; Crick 1996; Franklin 2003). And if for more developed and touristically mature Western countries the main risk is the perpetration of stereotypes, for lesser developed countries there is a danger that they are depicted as ‘Other’, generating simplistic and discriminating...

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