WP219 Tourism and postcolonial performativity

Collection: Key word


Colonialism tends to be an inevitable component of heritage tourism in postcolonial contexts. In this paper, I investigate how tour guides respond to the colonial aspects of the ” tourist gaze ” (Urry, 1990; Urry & Larsen, 2011), the collection of normative and social expectations of tourists when they take part in the activity of tourism. I argue that their strategic use of multimodal and stylistic resources should be approached using the framework of postcolonial performativity (Pennycook, 2001), which highlights the ” ?historical understanding of language use, a non-essentialist stance emphasizing appropriation and hybridity, and focus on local contexts of language ” (p. 68). As a framework, postcolonial performativity highlights the types of imperialist oppression that emerges in the context of tourism, without assuming rigid structural relations or complete freedom of agents. Instead, it foregrounds the performativity of language and discourse as playing a key role in reproducing and transforming colonial relations. This allows us to appreciate the possibilities available to tour guides to resist the seemingly oppressive and colonial backdrop of the tourist gaze. Using an ethnographic approach, this paper examines one tour guide in Intramuros, a Spanish heritage city in the City of Manila. I argue that the multimodal and metalinguistic resources allow tour guides to surreptitiously index their own postcolonial stances as they simultaneously respond to the demands of the tourist gaze.