W104
Eastbound: perspectives on tourism in Central and Eastern Europe

Convenors:
Irena Weber (UP, Faculty for tourist studies)
Tom Selwyn (SOAS)
Location:
012
Start time:
28 August, 2008 at 9:00
Session slots:
2

Short abstract:

The workshop addresses a broad range of ideologies and practices of tourism in Central and Eastern Europe in the socialist and post-socialist period. Comparative anthropological and historical approaches are particularly encouraged while perspectives from other disciplines are also welcome.

Long abstract:

Histories of tourism in Central and Eastern Europe reveal diverse and complex practices of tourism during the socialist period not only between different countries but also within them. Socialist ideologies that have 'guided' tourists and prescribed the forms of socialist tourism were coupled with rather flexible practices that reflected the economic, social and political changes during different decades. When facing economic crises, for instance, tourism demonstrated great adaptability, not least by applying the principles of mutuality (eg between tourist agencies and clients or between tourists themselves). The political and economic transition brought some abrupt and radical transformation yet this does not imply complete eradication and no continuities. The workshop thus proposes to address a broad range of ideologies and practices of tourism in Central and Eastern Europe both in the socialist and post-socialist period. Some of the pertinent issues raised may be: How does mutuality of the socialist period reflect in contemporary tourism practices? The role of privatisation and foreign investment that influence structural inequalities? In what way are heritage sites being constructed or appropriated by the local, national and global authorities? How do coastal areas (Adriatic, Baltic and the Black sea resorts) navigate the construction of new identities? How is socialist and post-socialist tourist imagery constructed in travel guides, travelogues and fiction writing? Comparative anthropological and historical approaches are particularly encouraged while perspectives from other disciplines are also welcome.