Accepted paper:

Tourist narratives about the dissonant heritage of the Borderlands

Author:

Sabina Owsianowska (University School of Physical Education in Krakow)

Paper short abstract:

Tourism and its narratives is an important tool for spreading ethnic and national stereotypes by promoting cultural resources and performances that enable cooperation and mutual understanding. However, it can also be a source of potential conflicts by creating controversial tourist attractions.

Paper long abstract:

One of the important effect of the political transformation in Eastern Europe is the development of tourism and increasing mobility of citizens of many countries, previously separated by the "Iron Curtain". The process of economic and socio-cultural changes justifies the debate on the future but also on the dissonant heritage of the past, for example in the South-eastern Poland, neighbouring with the Ukraine and Slovakia. Tourism and its narratives is an important tool of spreading, strengthen or weaken ethnic and national stereotypes by promoting cultural resources and performances that enable the cooperation and mutual understanding. However, it can also be a source of potential fears or conflicts, for instance by creating controversial tourist attractions and stories about the historical events, such as the reconstruction of Volhynia massacre (1943). On the one hand, it was argued that the reconstruction, which was organized in Radymno in 2013, memorized the victims and could help in dealing with the past. On the other hand, it raises questions about the motives and limits of such initiatives, also in the context of dark tourism. These questions are open, especially if one takes into consideration the issues which still give rise to very strong emotions. In the paper, I present the voices of Polish inhabitants of the town and its neighbourhood, the representatives of tourist sector and a group of Ukrainian students. Moreover, a semiotic analysis of different tourist texts reveals some omitted or underrepresented aspects and hidden messages in dominant narratives about the Borderlands.

panel P004
Tourism in (post)socialist Eastern Europe (Anthromob; IUAES-TOURISM; EASA Europeanist Network)