CFP: Tour Guides as Cultural Mediators (EASA, Tallinn)

The Technologies and Techniques of Guiding: Tour Guides as Cultural
Mediators

*Convenors*

Dr Jackie Feldman (Ben Gurion University of the Negev) jfeldman@bgu.ac.il

Dr Jonathan Skinner (University of Roehampton)
Jonathan.Skinner@roehampton.ac.uk

We invite you to submit papers on the theme of tour guiding for the 13th
EASA Biennial Conference Collaboration, Intimacy & Revolution: innovation
and continuity in an interconnected world. The conference will be organized
by the Department of Social and Cultural Anthropology at the Estonian
Institute of Humanities, Tallinn University, in Tallinn, the capital of
Estonia on 31st July – 3rd August, 2014.

Please read more about the theme here:
http://www.easaonline.org/conferences/easa2014/theme.shtml and proceed then
to propose your contribution to the upcoming conference here:

http://www.easaonline.org/conferences/easa2014/cfpan.shtml

*Short Abstract*

We invite papers examining the mediators of the tourism contact zone,
especially tour guides. What are the problems and complexities of this
position as staged, played out and (mis/auto)represented by the tour guide?
How are they shaped by power relations and new technologies of
representation?

*Long Abstract*

Besides serving as a major generator of revenue in the world economy and as
a source of income for local and indigenous communities, tourism has become
a venue for significant intercultural contact. Such contacts have often
served to perpetuate power relations inherent in colonialism and
Orientalist understandings, but they may also establish relations of
intimacy, respect and mutuality. This panel examines the mediators of these
spaces, specifically the tour guide.

What, then, is the position of tour guides in this process? How do they
foster or stage this engagement? As cultural mediators, cosmopolitans,
leaders, father figures and pathfinders, the tour guide negotiates a
complex terrain of physical mobility and virtual and existential
imagination. How do they overcome the economic, psychological, social or
linguistic disjuncts between guest and hosts? How do their performances
negotiate the economic and political interests of states, tour operators,
and the guides themselves? How do recent developments in technologies and
techniques of representation – from simple ‘schtick’ and microphone use to
sophisticated use of electronic media, from company branding to indigenous
self-advertising – play out in the contact zone? And what is the impact of
the tour guide’s actions and (auto-)representations on the visitor, the
visited and themselves? The anthropological shift in conceptualizing the
tourism encounter from one of host and guest to a focus on the mediators of
tourism develops our understanding of the tourism frontier area. This panel
welcomes further scrutiny, be it structural, visual and technological,
reflexive, legal and political, sociocultural, economic or sensual.

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