Paper short abstract:
The paper is focusing on the role of remembering and forgetting historical past in the narratives of contemporary Polish tourists to the countries of the former USSR. On the basis of ethnographic research we attempt to reconstruct the role of history in constructing contemporary tourist practice.
Paper long abstract:
Since 1989 tourism from Poland to the former USSR constitutes one of tourist flows on the decline in numerical terms. Considerably higher numbers of tourists have been choosing Western destinations after 1989. At the same time among certain socio-economic groups the countries of the former Soviet Union are considered an attractive tourist destination, their choices being informed by their identity and social status quest as well as by a certain degree of resistance to mass tourism and mainstream public discourse representations of the area, e.g. in the news. In our paper we would like to concentrate on the role of remembering and forgetting historical past in tourist practices, since there is a long history of mutual dependence tainted by conflict and domination between the countries of the former USSR (Russia in particular) and Poland. We aim at establishing if and how the history of mobility other than touristic one (volunteer and non-volunteer, i.e. work and forced displacement) is reflected upon in contemporary tourist narratives. We compare the past and the present routes and maps of Polish presence at the territory of the former USSR and ask questions regarding the historic reflexivity of contemporary tourist practices, memory and oblivion of historic past, and the production of knowledge about the destination in tourist accounts. In doing so we rely on the ethnographic material and travel writing narratives collected within the two research projects that were undertaken in 2008-2012 among tourists going to Russia and to countries of the former Soviet Union, respectively.
Tourism in (post)socialist Eastern Europe (Anthromob; IUAES-TOURISM; EASA Europeanist Network)