Festivals and Living History. Tourism in the Age of Edutainment

Friday, July 18, 2014: 10:30 AM
Room: 423
Oral Presentation
Marxiano MELOTTI , SUM Foundation - Foundation of the Italian Institute for Human and Social Sciences, Milan, Italy
The festivals of living history are perhaps among the most interesting aspects of the new cultural tourism and the new tourist culture based on festivals. These innovative processes of individual and collective identity construction entail complex interaction between re-enactors, tourists and local community; strategies of tourist and territorial marketing; and new forms of exploitation of heritage. At the same time, however, we can single out some salient features of society and tourism in the late modernity: the consolidation of forms of leisure, tourism and cultural fruition intertwining education and entertainment; the increasing loss of historical knowledge; the growing need of territorial and historical authenticity; and the acceptance of new forms of relative authenticity.

The festivals of living history are effective instruments of governance and tourist development and can meet the needs of different types of tourism. However, in many contexts – as in the case of Italy - local authorities and scholars appear unable to take full advantage from the contribution of these activities and do not support them properly. Furthermore, the "seriality" of the festivals devoted to local authenticity or the new culture of slowness, as well as the inability to properly manage edutainment, are stifling not only the potentiality of living history, but, more generally, of the whole tourist culture related to festivals.