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Title: Exploring narrative transportation in a literary heritage tourism context : the role and influence of authenticity
Author: Bailey, Chelsea
ISNI:       0000 0004 7425 541X
Awarding Body: University of Warwick
Current Institution: University of Warwick
Date of Award: 2016
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The primary focus of this thesis is the development of narrative transportation theory. Narrative transportation has been acknowledged as the immersive experience associated with reading for pleasure. This was later extended to include re-enactments (Escales, 2004), media (Green, Brock and Kaufman, 2004), education (Moyer-Guse, 2008), video games (Baranowski et al., 2008) and social media (Van Laer and De Ruyter, 2010). This discussion, whilst interesting, has failed to explore the full depth of application of the theory. As such, this thesis seeks to explore the conceptual breadth of the concept and offers support for an extension of the current conceptualisation. Insights from the well-developed field of authenticity will be used to enhance the discussion on and understanding of narrative transportation. Whilst there has been much discussion on the conceptualisation of authenticity (Pearce and Moscardo, 1985; Handler and Saxton, 1988; Bruner, 1994; Selwyn, 1996a, 1996b; Wang, 1999), there has been less exploration into visitor perceptions of authenticity and how the form of authenticity influences the visitor experience. The thesis seeks to explore narrative transportation and its conceptual breadth of application by investigating the motivations for visiting literary heritage sites and the interactions that occur amongst visitors. Specifically, the research focuses on the antecedents affecting participation, the resulting impact on engagement and the post-experience evaluation. The research adopts a case-study approach and utilises access at two literary attractions. One of these, Shakespeare’s Birthplace, is internationally known; the other, Sarehole Mill, is associated with J.R.R. Tolkien, author of The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit. The findings are informed by a two-year period of data collection, including an archival search, a document analysis, semi-structured interviews and small focus groups. The findings offer a full understanding of the variables that affect engagement and participation at literary heritage sites amongst a range of participants. The primary contributions of this study are to the development of narrative transportation theory. Narrative-transportation theory has been reconceptualised as cyclical – not linear, as previously suggested – and new elements have been identified, including a post-narrative-transportation effect. Several insights into the supporting theory of authenticity have also emerged; namely, elected authenticity, the role of costumed guides as a tangible hybrid, and a new perspective on the relationship between alienation and the search for the authentic. The development of the dual longitudinal focus-group approach offers a new development and dimension for discussion within the methodology literature. The relevance of these findings extends beyond the literary heritage setting to the wider tourism industry and service sector, where brand stories, identities and engagement with consumers are crucial.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: G Geography (General) ; PR English literature