Accepted Paper:

Cultural heritage in Croatian tourist promotion: an analysis of Croatian tourist board websites  


Josip Lah (Institute for Anthropological Research)

Paper short abstract:

The paper analyzes representation of cultural heritage in the promotion of Croatia as a tourist destination. Websites of Croatian tourist boards are analyzed using multimodal discourse analysis in order to examine the role that cultural heritage plays in the process of discursive nation building.

Paper long abstract:

Drawing upon the theories of representation and discursive construction of identity, in this paper we will analyze official websites of local Croatian tourist boards, as well as the national tourist board as the primary creator of the promotional strategy of Croatian tourism. The aim is to analyze "politics of representation" in the tourist discourse of Croatia as identity-making practice.

Methods of critical discourse analysis and multimodal analysis will be used to critically examine visual and textual data, revealing implicit political and ideological levels of signification. The focus of the analysis will be placed on cultural heritage and its role in the process of identification and nation building. Heritage is seen as a result of ideologically motivated selection and/or invention of (national) tradition and the subsequent process of heritagization. The specific ideological goal of this process is a strengthened sense of common national past, making the "imagined community" a discursive and symbolical reality.

It will be shown that Croatian heritage discourse reflects the myth of the superiority of European culture and ideologically positions the nation at the intersection of the Mediterranean and the Central European cultural spheres, as opposed to the Balkans and the historical legacy of the Yugoslav era, which have served as the cultural "Other" in the process of ideological nation-building since the 1990s. Results also indicate a very limited view of heritage, best described as "authorized heritage discourse", dominant in modern European tradition, which naturalizes old, monumental, higher-class material heritage as a prestigious and prototypical form of heritage.

Panel Heri001
Heritage as a European product