TOUR GUIDES AS CULTURAL MEDIATORS

in Ethnologia Europaea
Author:
Jackie Feldman Ben Gurion University of the Negev]> <email>jfeldman@bgu.ac.il</email></aff> <aff id="aff2"><![CDATA[University of Roehampton jonathan.skinner@roehampton.ac.uk

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Jonathan Skinner

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This special issue devotes comparative and ethnographic attention to the topic of the tour guide as cultural mediator. Based on studies in a panoply of countries (UK, Israel, Peru, Cuba, La Réunion, Germany) and sites (museums, pilgrimages, casual street guiding, mountain treks, folkloric displays), we demonstrate how various settings, power relations, and tourist gazes enable or constrain intercultural guiding performances. Tour guides embody a wide range of roles, cultures and positions on the tourism stage. Their presentation of “their” culture to others carries a certain authority and implicates them in positions towards aspects of their own culture and those of the tourists that they may come to acknowledge, appreciate or resist over time. Thus, approaching tour guides as cultural mediators offers new insights into the anthropology of tourism and cultural contact as a whole.

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