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Title: The articulation of cultural tourism in Sardinia : a comparative study of La Cavalcata Sarda and Tiscali
Author: Azara, Iride Emma Grazia
ISNI:       0000 0004 2714 5760
Awarding Body: University of Derby
Current Institution: University of Derby
Date of Award: 2011
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Despite much tourism literature exploring the complex relationships loosely falling under the `tourism encounter'; this topic remains important. It remains important as tourism, culture and economy have become inextricably intertwined. As tourism continues to grow, sophisticated marketing and promotional strategies are devised. In a competitive environment, elements of local culture are transformed into spectacular narratives of `Otherness' to be consumed by tourists and into cultural tourism assets to achieve destinations' sustainable socio-economic development. Cultural tourism, today serves a multitude of social, political and economic agendas, designating and encompassing a multitude of products and practices.. These arguments are significant to many European Mediterranean islands, as limited socio-economic resources and cultural conservatism put them in prime position for the development of tourist-based economies that rely upon the commodification of cultural forms and practices and on marketing them as authentic relics of time past. This research enquiry evaluated these processes in Sardinia. In specific it evaluated the articulation of discourses of Sardinian culture and identity through tourism. This was done through a comparative study of a festival, La Cavalcata Sarda and a heritage site, Tiscali. Two popular cultural attractions, which were found contributing to sustain an overall romantic imagery of Sardinia-ness synthesising and conveying to a regional, national and international tourism audience, the cultural singularities and specificities of the region. Building upon a socio-constructionist paradigm and a qualitative and inductive research methodology, the enquiry explored how locals, tourists and local cultural intermediaries respond to these cultural representations and how the social relations gathered under the umbrella of tourism encounter may themselves influence the production and consumption of contemporary discourses of Sardinian culture and identity. This was done through the adoption of the two inter-related conceptual frameworks of embodied performances and the tourism encounter, which allowed making sense of how these categories performatively encounter discourses of destination authenticity and otherness within specific tourism settings such as festivals and heritage sites. The findings highlighted how the articulation of Sardinian-ness at La Cavalcata Sarda and Tiscali reflects the nature of the setting, Sardinia and thus they intersect broader national, regional and local discourses of social and economic development as well as cultural renegotiation through tourism. Whilst tourism on the island was found to play a critical role in activating these processes, enabling the transformation of cultural resources into tourism assets and popular tourist attractions. It was found to be the key in allowing the renegotiation, contestation and amendment of discourses of Sardinianness by all of the key actor categories studied within this enquiry including the local cultural intermediaries called to interpret and mediate the two attractions. Thus this study has developed an original contribution to knowledge by furthering the application of the metaphor of the tourism encounter demonstrating how all categories do not just passively accept discourses of destination cultural otherness and authenticity. Rather they are able to unpack and recombine and contest their meanings at both social and individual level and through an embodied encounter with the place and with people within that place.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available