Mythogeography and Counter-Tourism
CrabMan and Signpost - authors of A Sardine Street Box of Tricks
Mythogeography 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.
And now Phil Smith has updated his thinking on Mythogeography in Rethinking Mythogeography.
Anywhere is the definitive 'implementation' of mythogeographical walking and writing. Read it and you
learn how to walk mythogeographically and how to write your own mythogeography of your own area. Anywhere covers parts of South Devon but its title tells you that it's more widely applicable than that... More on the book.
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' tries 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.
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.