Literary Tourism As A Commemorative Practice Of Modernity

Abstract

In the current context of ‘deep transformation’, there is a growing interest among researchers in the issue of the preservation of cultural and historical memory. The market nature of relations, pluralism, the ‘contact type’ of social integrity and other factors of the global processes of the 21st-century society builds the conditions of depersonalisation of the individual, which can result in the unification of the personal narrative, i.e. individual memory. Unification processes of the individual can provoke a crisis of individual memory and identity, which, therefore, compromises the integrity of collective memory and social constructs. Thus, this paper examines the use of tourism practices as a special kind of commemoration. The purpose of it is development, support, renewal, etc. of cultural, historical and aesthetic knowledge and reinforcement of regional identity on different levels of society exemplified by literary tourism. In particular, the subject-functional evaluation of literary tourism commemoratives is carried out on the example of the Kemerovo region through hypothetic-deductive analysis. According to the results of the analysis, it has been found that the actualization of literary tourism can provide a range of relevant knowledge, both literary orientation and related to the history and culture of the region by structuring the tour around a personal narrative. Tourism is considered to be a special kind of chronotope within which the spontaneous development and apperception of tour elements, through which the process of personal self-identification intensification and the development of individual and collective memory can take place.

Keywords: Commemorative practices, literary tourism, memory development, tourist chronotope

Introduction

Since the 1980s, globalization has been one of the defining issues of our age (Steger, 2017). Although the impact of globalization processes on both society and the individual has repeatedly been the focus of research, in the absence of a unified definition, the temporality of the metamorphosis taking place in contemporary society makes it difficult to determine a clear vector. According to Shalmali (2007), globalization can be described as “the increasing economic integration of all countries of the world, connected with the liberalization and subsequent increasing volume and diversity of international trade, goods and services, falling transport prices, increased intensity of international capital penetration, the enormous growth of the global workforce and accelerated worldwide diffusion of technology, especially in the field of communications” (p. 523). However, globalization processes affect not only the ‘material’ but also the social and humanitarian fields of our lives. Thus, globalization should be perceived broader as a process that involves increasing diverse cross-national flows (of goods, services, knowledge, culture and people). Consequently, it increases the degree of interconnection, interdependence and integration among countries (Held et al., 1999).

Taking into account the prevalence of integration discourse when referring to the concept of globalization, most researchers of this trend tend to consider ‘trans’- (transcultural, transnational, transregional, etc.) aspects in the paradigm of creating homogeneous modes in which societal regulatory processes take place. One can cite the studies of Bandar (2021), Boussebaa and Faulconbridge (2019), Dewhurst et al. (2012), Boussebaa (2020) and others. Recently, however, the issue of the so-called 'identity crisis in the context of globalization and ways to address it has been raised greatly.

Ericson defines an identity crisis as a conflict between the current configuration of the elements of identity with its corresponding way of “fitting in” with the surrounding world and the changing biological or social market of the individual existence (Ericson, 1968). An individual in the age of globalization, having his own cultural, national, spiritual, etc. values, faces a ‘transcendental whirlpool’ of different narratives, which disadvantages not only historical memory but also makes the integrity of a personality, his self-identity vulnerable. “Many of us feel like a plaything in the hands of forces beyond our control... The feeling of powerlessness we experience is not a sign of our weakness but a reflection of the incompetence of our institutions” (Giddens, 2002, p. 36).

In such circumstances there is a need for detailed research of possible commemorative practices through which the necessary historical and cultural knowledge can be maintained, updated and shaped to structure individual (personal) and subsequently collective - 'individual' - memory to create a sustainable society at all levels of society. One such type of commemorative practice can be considered literary tourism. The article proves in detail the commemorative nature of this type of tourism on the example of literary tourism of Kuzbass.

Problem Statement

Literary tourism

The beginning of literary practices (tours, excursions, etc.) occurs when the popularity of a literary work or an individual author is such that “people are willing to visit the places the author wrote about or was associated with” (Busby & Klug, 2001, p. 319). Consequently, ‘literary tourism’ can be described as tourism which aims at visiting places related both to the plot, the storyline of a literary work (characters, places, etc.) and to the history of the author himself, including his surroundings (family, relatives, friends, etc.).

There are many classifications of literary tourism. One of the most comprehensive is the classification described by Samet (2020) of Bandirm from Onedı Ölül University in Turkey in his article “Literary tourism as a field of research over the period 1997-2016” in 2020.

The classification presents 8 types of tours about the place and category of aspiration of the subject (tourist) within the tourism act: 1. visiting places related to the author; 2. visiting significant places described in the work of fiction; 3. visiting places that were popular with writers; 4. visiting places using literature as a type of tourism resource that rule supreme in the whole region; 5. travel notes; 6. visiting places are shown in a movie based on a literary work; 7. literary festivals; 8. visiting bookshops. Apart from Samet’s detailed classification, it is also worth noting Gurov’s (2018) typology, where literary tourism is divided into three main types: 1. excursion form; 2. entertainment form; 3. educational form. In this article we do not aim to systematize and present all possible classifications of literary tourism for a deeper rethinking of the concept, however, given the above examples, we can say that the main subject of literary tourism is literary narrative - pragmatically composed information by organizers, in one way or another associated with a literary work or an author.

Even though literary tourism is a relatively new concept, which emerged only in 1997, it is an important growth sector of the tourism industry. Since the early 2000s, the concept has repeatedly found itself the subject of study by scholars in many aspects (e.g. Cassell, 2016; Baleiro & Quinteiro, 2018; Erkoçi, 2016; Topler, 2016). However, the specificity is that the term ‘literature’ itself, as an element of the system of cultural values, does not have clear conceptual outlines, which allows us to talk about the synthesis in literary tourism of a whole set of diverse attractors for scientific study.

Literary and event tourism in Kuzbass

Literary tourism has not become too much popular in Russia at present. Nevertheless, in recent years there has been a development of creative industries on the part of both the government and scientific and social institutions, which gives an impulse to the development of cultural destinations. The development of culture is directly linked to the construction of a cognitive-perceptual memorial narrative - historical and cultural knowledge and memory - which contributes to the self-identity of both individuals and society.

In 2016 the Department of Regional Ethnography of the V.D. Fedorov State Scientific Library of Kuzbass decided to hold the cultural and educational project ‘Literary and Event Tourism in Kuzbass’ for the first time in the SFD (Siberian Federal District) within the presidential grant. The aims of implementation were the following: 1. to develop the interest of the general public in regional literature, in the works of writers and poets of Kuzbass, 2. to develop domestic tourism, 3. to popularize the literary heritage of the Kemerovo region through the arrangement of literary excursion tours (Lavrushkina, 2020).

The impulse for actualizing this programme in 2016 was the design of another project in 2012, i.e. the electronic ‘Literary Map of Kuzbass’ (Lavrushkina, 2021, p. 32). During the whole period, about 28,123 literary works were uploaded, covering the time frame from 1936 to 2019. As of July 2021, the portal had about1,077,260 registered users. It was this electronic resource that served as the starting point for the first tour in 2016 to the village of Marievka, a native and favourite place for V.D. Fedorov, the famous poet of the Kemerovo region, and the basis for the active introduction of literary knowledge by reading literary works on the website both before and after the tours - in case the tourist shows interest. It should be emphasized that it was the transition of the library to the form of ‘literary tours’ that contributed to the active growth of the level of interest in the regional literary works: 2011-2015 there were 103,097 registered users; 2016-2021 there were 974,163 people (around 90.4% of the total number) of registered users.

Based on the above, we can say that literary tourism can be implemented as a special commemorative practice in which there is the active involvement of the population (tourists) in the conscious-cognitive activity of the regional literary heritage.

Research Questions

However, the question arises as to how exactly the implementation of literary activity can influence the commemorative processes, the construction of cognitive-commemorative narrative within the tourist act. In other words, it is necessary to define the subject-functional component of literary tourism within the processes of affective, namely regional identification of personality.

It is also necessary to define the scientific-theoretical framework of this kind of ‘travel’ through the use of literary historical information about literature, history, culture, etc. That is, to answer the question of what constitutes a tour as a special kind of commemoration from a theoretical point of view.

Purpose of the Studу

This paper aims to analyze literary tourism in the Kemerovo Region in terms of conceptual commemoration processes. Structuring the main elements of this type of practice is defining the qualitative characteristics of the proposed example of literary tourism. As a consequence, identifying the general structure of the practice of literary tours for further consideration and implementation of such practice in the territory of the Russian Federation.

An important task is also an attempt to justify theoretically the commemorative nature of literary tours as an important basis for explaining the relevance in modern conditions.

Research Methods

The following research methods are used in this study:

Hypothetico-deductive method. Based on the hypothesis that literary tourism is commemorative, capable of forming, updating and supporting the historical, cultural and aesthetic knowledge of the tour participants, the results of the empirical research conducted are analyzed: interviews and questionnaires.

Synergetics method. The literary tour is regarded as a complex multi structural system, which has its characteristic features. However, it corresponds to the general principles - the concept which defines the tour and is fundamental.

Eclectic Construction method. By synthesizing the philosophical theory of the conceptual chronotope and the data obtained through hypothetico-deductive and synergistic analysis, the hypothesis of the conceptual structure of tourism as a special kind of chronotope in which there is a commemorative development of knowledge is put forward.

Findings

Literary tourism in Kuzbass. Subject-functional characteristics

Since 2016, guided by the local history department of the V.D. Fedorov State Scientific Library of Kuzbass, literary tours have been held annually between May and November season. Every year 9 to 11 trips are made on average for groups of 13-15 people. Between 22.5.2021 and 31.7.2021 (6 tours) alone, the number of participants reached 86 (female: 85%; male: 15%). The average age of the participants in this period was about 59.4 years old (min. = 30 years old; max. = 83 years old).

Even though each tour has its unique concept, the overall structure of all tours is built on the same principle. Let us try to visualize this principle through a structural diagram (Figure 1.).

Figure 1: The qualitative structure of the literary tour of Kuzbass
The qualitative structure of the literary tour of Kuzbass
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Having analyzed the structure of literary tours, three main fields can be distinguished: central, semi-peripheral and peripheral. The central field refers to the personal narrative, namely the provision of information about the author (writer, poet, etc.). Each tour organized by the library is based on the ‘main theme’ of the tour - an author whose work is in some way connected with the Kemerovo Region. For example, ‘To Marjevka, to meet Vasily Fedorov’ - V. D. Fedorov, ‘Tales and legends of the Salair Ridge’ - M. A. Nebogatov, ‘A Day with the poet: Leonid Gerzhidovich’ - L.M. Gerzhidovich, etc. (Lavrushkina, 2020). Information about a particular author (of local origin or with a shared history with the Kemerovo Region) becomes a framework, the fundamental part on which the whole tour is built.

By the semi-peripheral field we mean information about the works of authors and places of creative writing, which is not the central theme, but is directly connected to the activities of great writers: Marievka village (birthplace of V.D. Fedorov), Guryevsk (birthplace of M.A. Nebagatov), ‘Kuzbass saga’ (novel in 4 volumes by S.M. Pavlov), poems by V. D. Fedorov, etc. It is the semi-peripheral field that is the platform for the most active, wide cognitive-commemorative activity of tourists according to the interests, motivation, level of apperception, etc. of each participant of the tour (for example, 1 tourist is interested in further reading the works; 2 tourist is interested in depicting as a picture the author’s places of residence; 3 tourist is interested in further watching a film about the nation to which the author belonged, etc.). In other words, the information (content) of the semi-peripheral field can most actively contribute to the development of historical, cultural and aesthetic knowledge, both subject-oriented - about the authors and related.

Finally, the peripheral field refers to the most distant kind of information provided, but it is no less important. The peripheral content gives tourists information about nature, local culture, regional folk art, visits to churches (religious aspect), the culture of Teleuts (indigenous population of Kemerovo Region), introduction to architectural monuments of architect K.K. Lygin, theatrical performances, creative master classes, White Birch Festival, etc.

During the analysis of the questionnaire answers from 22.5.2021 to 31.7.2021. (6 tours), numbering the three main fields of commemoration: 1 - centre, 2 - semi-periphery, 3 - periphery, it was found: among 86 people: 58% of the total (complete commemoration of all 3 levels), 53% (levels 1 and 2), 57% (only level 1), 11% (no response). The average commemoration index was 2.2 (max. = 3), percentages≈56% (not including ‘no answer -11%’).

Based on the above data, we can say that the example of literary tourism of Kuzbass has a high level of commemoratives, over 50%. The range of information provided ranges from providing both directly literary data (levels 1 and 2) and autochthonous data on the culture, history, religion, etc. of the region - the Kemerovo region. Which forms the basis of historical, cultural and aesthetic knowledge of the region in the process of effective identification of the individual, in the process of touring?

Tourist Chronotope. A memorable narrative development

What is a tourist act (in this case a literary tour) if in the process of implementation there is the development of a memorial narrative, which, in turn, can influence the affective-cognitive component of the tour participants?

The act of tourism is a kind of interval of time flow, within which the development of memorial structures takes place. One of the properties of memory is the connection, the cohesion of the flow from the past to the present. Also, if memories are formed, they become the foundation for the "subsequent", future time. It is tourism (tour) that absorbs the historical framework (knowledge) of the past, is actualized and influences the participants of the tour in the present, and is capable of laying the basis for supporting the psychological processes of the individual. That is, it is a kind of chronotope (Vovk, 2021, p. 12). “A chronotope implies a simultaneousisation of psychological time that is length involving past, present and future” (Zinchenko, 2000, p. 88).

Figure 2: Tourist Chronotope (illustrated by a literary tour)
Tourist Chronotope (illustrated by a literary tour)
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Illustrated by the literary tour, it is the knowledge of the central, semi-peripheral and peripheral fields, which constitutes the informative component, that becomes the ‘past’, the scientific theoretical-historical framework. The very realization of the tour provides tour participants with a special situation of commemoration, of interaction with ‘past knowledge’. It contributes to the active renewal, guidance and knowledge development, especially autochthonous knowledge, which takes an important part in implementing activities aimed at deepening the knowledge of homeland, small motherland, country, society, etc. - both personal and collective self-awareness.

Conclusion

Thus, the following conclusions can be drawn. The implementation of literary tourism can provide a wide range of relevant knowledge, both literary focus and related to the history and culture of the region by structuring the tour around a personal narrative (author: writer, poet, etc.). Illustrated by literary tourism in the Kemerovo region it has been found out that it is an integrated construction of the tour, by introducing not only literary but also autochthonous knowledge of nature, culture, folk art, etc. of the region, can achieve a high level of development of transcendental cognitive-memory narrative - historical, cultural and aesthetic knowledge about the native land.

This is facilitated by the existence of tourism (tour) as a special kind of chronotope, within which spontaneous development and apperception of tour elements take place. Through it, the process of personal self-identification, individual and collective memory development, etc., can take place.

Thus, we can conclude that the implementation of comprehensive literary tours can contribute to the active introduction of historical, cultural and aesthetic knowledge at all levels of society. It can contribute to overcoming the globalization destructive processes of modern society.

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Victoria, V. I. (2022). Literary Tourism As A Commemorative Practice Of Modernity. In & N. G. Bogachenko (Ed.), AmurCon 2021: International Scientific Conference, vol 126. European Proceedings of Social and Behavioural Sciences (pp. 1078-1085). European Publisher. https://doi.org/10.15405/epsbs.2022.06.119