Mythogeography and Counter-Tourism
CrabMan and Signpost - authors of A Sardine Street Box of Tricks
If organisations have been - and usually still are - run top-down and hierarchically, then a similar malaise afflicts heritage and tourist sites. The heritage 'industry' tends to try to impose a single, partial and highly idealised view of any site on the visitor. It gets the message across easily, contains things nicely and assures a smooth flow of wallets to the shop and tea room.
That's part of the story: counter-tourism is an invitation to tourists to completely transform their experience of the heritage-tourism industry and its many sites. Beneath the simple stories in the Visitor Guide and behind the locked gates marked PRIVATE in heritage sites, there lies a multitude of inconvenient stories, hilarities, wonders, absurdities, extremes and entertaining outrages. When Counter-Tourism opens the doors, tourism becomes a funny, shocking, revelatory, subversive and adventurous life-changing experience rather than a deferential procession through the unrevealing homes and castles of Heritage plc. More on the books.
Mythogeography takes a similar starting point. It looks at places where multiple meanings have been squeezed into a single and restricted meaning (for example, heritage, tourist or leisure sites) and emphasises their multiple nature and suggests multiple ways of celebrating, expressing and weaving those places and their multiple meanings.
Mythogeography is influenced by, and draws on, psychogeography – seeking to reconnect with some of its original political edge as well as with its more recent additions. As well as being a pedestrian pastime for any interested walker, it's also a serious academic discourse, engaging with subjects like geography, tourism studies and spatial theory. But it also draws on the forgotten, the overlooked, the occult and the anomalous.
More on the book.
Walking is the skill that underpins mythogeography, counter-tourism (and many other things). We have lots of good books about altWALKING here.
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