Accepted paper:


pdf download Marketing and social impacts of roots tourism in contemporary Ireland


Caroline Legrand (CNRS)

Paper short abstract:

Paper long abstract:

At a time when genealogy has become more than a very popular phenomenon but a kind of social obligation for everyone to dig up his past, some states developed the idea they could use people interest for ancestors and identity as a means to develop the market of tourism. This is especially true from countries, like Ireland, which had experienced important waves of migrations in the past. This paper relies on empirical data that I collected in Ireland. It explores first, the way Irish politics have transformed roots-tourism into a massive heritage industry since the late 1980s and how they have instrumentalized Irish Diaspora needs for identity in order both to perform their local economy and to claim Ireland post-modernity. The second part of this paper critically describes activities that people of Irish decent do when periodically returning to their ancestral home (as searching biographical data into parish or civil registers, visiting close or distant relatives, or taking part in clan gatherings). After questioning these practices' social impacts, I will turn to my final point. My argument is that Roots-tourism does not only favour interconnectedness between past and present, between people of Irish descent and so-called "Irish people at home". It also challenges people identity (that is to say the identity of Irish natives and tourists) as well as social representations of genealogy in Ireland.

E-paper: this paper will not be presented, but read in advance and discussed

pdf download Download the full paper (67285 bytes)
panel C2
Roots tourism