Official Tourism Websites: A Discourse Analysis Perspective

Author: Richard W. Hallett, Judith Kaplan-Weinger

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Channel View Publications
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210mm x 148mm

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Official Tourism Websites: A Discourse Analysis Perspective investigates the construction and promotion of identity of tourist locales by the designers of the official websites for destinations such as Santiago de Compostela, Spain; the Baltic states of Latvia and Estonia; New Orleans, Louisiana and Gary, Indiana; Myanmar/Burma; US Sports Halls of Fame; and, in recognizing the influence and popularity of such sites, three websites parodying the imaginary nations of Phaic Tan, Molvania, and San Sombrero. Analysis addresses how tourism websites foster social action and, therefore, contribute to the (re)construction of nations and other communities by variably fostering re-imagination, rebirth, renaissance, promotion and caution, and patriotism. Recognizing that tourism texts can function to both construct and embody identity for their respective locales, this investigation employs critical discourse analysis, multimodal discourse analysis, and visual semiotic analysis in the investigation of web texts and images.

The discourse of tourism is a discourse of identity construction, promotion, contestation and acceptance. It is a discourse created through linguistic and visual texts and increasingly today, through the internet on a whole range of travel-related websites, including those of destination management organisations and a plethora of social networking sites. In this immensely informative and provocative text Rick Hallett and Judith Kaplan-Weinger take to task the role of the World Wide Web in mediating the construction of identities. Theirs is a timely and thought-provoking book which makes a major contribution to the task of making the meanings of these sites transparent through discourse analysis. The book is scholarly yet hugely readable and well-illustrated; it readily communicates the authors' command of their subject.

Professor Annette Pritchard, University of Wales Institute, Cardiff

Hallett and Kaplan-Weinger's book Official Tourism Websites is a timely and pertinent publication, as international travel becomes the norm and the internet a major venue of information…In an effortless manner, Hallett and Kaplan-Weinger guide their readers through new and rough terrains. Their in-depth analyses of the rich web data provide critical insights into meanings and functions of official tourism websites, a prevalent but somewhat neglected field…In short, Official Tourism Websites is a successful and accessible exploration of issues such as tourism discourse, identity construction and representational practices in the information age.

What the book is: a collection of very interesting case studies that nicely exemplify aspects of the tourism discourse such as the use of metaphors, the importance of visual semiotics and the active use of texts for constructing destinations as places worth visiting; an important contribution to understanding the political nature of tourism discourse; an illustration of the usefulness of discourse analysis as a research method. Researchers and practitioners interested in these areas will certainly find very compelling examples in this book.

Official tourism websites represents a fascinating preliminary venture into an as yet underexplored field. The authors describe the text as an "initial foray into the analysis and understanding of the role of the internet in fostering identity construction for tourists and destinations" (121), and they invite further analysis building on their innovative approach.

Erica Fontana, Anthropology, University of California in Language in Society 41 (2012)

Richard W. Hallett is a Professor of linguistics at Northeastern Illinois University in Chicago, IL. He received his PhD in linguistics from the University of South Carolina. In addition to the discourse of tourism, his research interests include second language acquisition, sociolinguistics, and World Englishes.

Judith Kaplan-Weinger is Professor of linguistics at Northeastern Illinois University in Chicago, IL. She earned her PhD in linguistics from Georgetown University. Her teaching and research interests lie in, aside from language and tourism, the multi-modal discourse analysis of grief and mourning.

1. Introduction 2. Identity and the World Wide Web Methods of Analysis 3. Narrative of the Nation: Baltic Tourism Websites in the Post-Soviet Context 4. The Tourist as Pilgrim, The Pilgrim as Tourist: Santiago de Compostela 5. Rebirth of an American City: New Orleans, Louisiana 6. '100 Years…Steel Strong': Forging an Identity for Gary, Indiana 7. The Tourist as Patriot: Sports and Nationalism 8. Balancing Promotion and Warning in the Construction of National Identity in Travel Guides: The Case of Myanmar/Burma 9. Constructing Self vs. Other in Parodic Travel Guides 10. Conclusion: On Tourism, Identity, and the World Wide Web
Postgraduate, Research / Professional, Undergraduate
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