Power of Language in Mass Tourism: Narrative Strategies of Finnish Tourist Guides

Reference work entry


The character of mass tourism knowledge in tourism studies has been highly categorized and hierarchical. In the grand story, comparisons and differentiations are regular. I wish to challenge this grand story and step inside narratives of mass tourism. Too little interest has been directed to the ways these versions of reality are being constructed. Language plays a central role in constructing the idea of mass tourism. The focus of this paper is on tourist guides and their narrative strategies. The material includes ten semi-structured interviews with Finnish tourist guides working in Crete for two large package tour companies. The narrative analysis concentrates on three types of talk in an interactive interview situation: categorizations, specific examples (clients, places, and paraphrasing stereotypical lines), and auto-biographical talk. The results indicate that all of these three types of talk contribute to more multifaceted understanding about mass tourism. Categorization is a usual way of generalizing reality, but it is not meant to be the whole truth. One step further are the examples and imaginary citations which suggest that there are more participants in the mass tourism than the interviewer or interviewee. The most intimate narrative strategy, telling about one’s own life, highlights the situated and incomplete character of participating in mass tourism. Different narrative strategies open several dimensions to mass tourism, and they could help take the analysis of mass tourism further. The results encourage researchers to further address the gap between talk about mass tourism and actual practices.


Mass tourism Language Narrativity Tourist guides 


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© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Geography Research UnitUniversity of OuluOuluFinland

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