MYTHOGEOGRAPHIC PERFORMANCE AND PERFORMATIVE INTERVENTIONS IN SPACES OF HERITAGE-TOURISM
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Abstract MYTHOGEOGRAPHIC PERFORMANCE AND PERFORMATIVE INTERVENTIONS IN SPACES OF HERITAGE-TOURISM by PHIL SMITH This thesis offers new models for participatory and performative interventions in sites of heritage tourism through a theorized practical engagement. Drawing on both Tourism Studies and Performance Studies, the primary aim of these interventions is to reveal and provoke ways of seeing and using these sites as places of multiple meanings rather than as ones constricted and bounded by normative heritage narratives in their production and management. The experimental phase of the project discussed in the thesis includes three contrasting case studies: GeoQuest, Sardine Street, and Water Walk. These are each analysed and evaluated through my development of a ‘mythogeographic’ framework that includes the performative techniques of layering, rhizomatic interweaving, the making of 'anywheres' and the self-mythologising of the activist. The thesis charts a trajectory through praxis, from developing models for ambulatory, signage-based and ‘mis-guided’ interventions to be undertaken by performance ‘specialists’, towards a dispersal of their tactics for use by heritage tourists in general. It thus describes a related change in the balance of the research methodology from ethnographic participant observation towards practice-as-research (PaR), the latter of which both generated and enacted knowledge and understanding. This PaR took the form of various visits and forays to and across heritage sites and landscape, and also the production of a ‘toolkit’ of handbook, pocketbook, website and online short films for the dispersal of tactics and a strategy that is eventually called ‘counter-tourism’. The thesis thus includes the publications A Sardine Street box of tricks, Counter-tourism: the handbook, Counter-tourism: a pocketbook and the DVD, Tactics for counter-tourism, as well as their fully theorized critical contextualisation. These represent a PaR enquiry that attempts to creatively express my research findings from productions made in the field through a popular form of writing and presentation that is capable of inspiring general, ‘non-specialist’ tourists to make their own performance interventions in heritage sites.
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