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Title: Cities of imagination : staged authenticity in historic cities
Author: Lovell, Jane
Awarding Body: University of Kent
Current Institution: University of Kent
Date of Award: 2013
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A major issue for many places has been retaining and capitalising on the 'auratic' (Benjamin, 1931) within the context of mass-reproduction, flows and globalisation, which could imbue the urban environment with a sense of 'placelessness" (Relph, 1976). The research takes the form of an urban spatial study examining how staged authenticity (MacCannell, 1973; Cohen, 1979) is perceived by tourists and tourism managers in fifteen key English historic cities. Labadi (2010, p.78) uses the term 'post authenticity' and the degree of restoration and recreation are recognised as playing an important part in preserving built and intangible heritage. With the growth of the 'experience economy' (Pine and Gilmore, 1999) and 'festival market places' (Ritzer and Liska, 1997; Bryman, 2004) it could be argued that the historic cityscape provides a 'throwntogetherness' (Massey, 2005) of forms of staged authenticity, including the historic built environment, new cultural attractions, architecture, street scene, traditions, events and spaces, all of which act as forms of historic interpretation. The research utilises a visual methodology, including Visitor-Employed Photography, analysing over 1,200 historic city tourist and tourism manager photo-diary entries using Lightroom software. Findings suggest that simultaneous, fluid spaces of authenticity are perceived by participants, as the past emerges and retreats flows during the urban tourism experience (Massey, 2005). The spaces use Fjellman's axiomatic combinations of fake and real to examine, firstly, the more affective, softer, intuitive original heritage city; where tourists and placemakers ignore the staged and experience performative and personal authenticity (Knudsen and Waade, 2010). Secondly, the restored city involves participants choosing their images because of mechanistic authenticity, rather than their aesthetic impact. Lastly, the staged city is perceived as recreated rather than restored, which can create a placebo heritage effect, with new culture augmenting the heritage product, providing a contemporary contextual streetscape.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available