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Tourism media dynamics: Narratives of the nation-state.
With the premise that the tourism promotional video "China, Forever" provides a crucial access to understanding how tourism engages in a wider circle of socio-culture formation, this dissertation research approaches tourism by examining communicative practices initiated by "China, Forever". In doing so, it seeks to reveal two...
With the premise that the tourism promotional video "China, Forever" provides a crucial access to understanding how tourism engages in a wider circle of socio-culture formation, this dissertation research approaches tourism by examining communicative practices initiated by "China, Forever". In doing so, it seeks to reveal two dialogues -- firstly, between the discursive construction of tourism representational language and China's nation-state ideology; secondly, between interpretations from overseas Chinese audiences and nation-state narratives delivered via the tourism media. In analyzing the first dialogue, this dissertation reveals that the pursuit of collective and monolithic national imagery has caused a representational violence -- one that is committed by the nation-state ideology operated through the organization of tourism language. The very representational coercion itself, however, signifies the nature of tourism media as a vehicle mediating the global gaze and China's self-representation; illuminating the fact that China's nation-state building is only to be understood as deeply-grounded in the complexity of postcolonial politics. Furthermore, in a dialectic view, such finding consolidates the nature of "China, Forever" as a cultural product that actively exists as a component in the overall social fabric, co-creating a wider circle of culture politics together with other genres of media products; thus, calling for a more comprehensive understanding of tourism media at large. In the second approach, this dissertation seeks to understand how the tourism video "China, Forever" mediates the relationship between tourism narratives of the nation-state and overseas Chinese individuals; thus bridging together tourism media and ongoing life experiences of the audiences chosen. The analysis reveals that audiences' interpretations heavily concentrate on resisting and fragmenting the hegemonic nation-state language in "China, Forever". While some interviewees seek to decentralize the nation-state perspective from aspects of aesthetics, representational style, and representational subjects in "China, Forever" by incorporating their individual memories and past experiences, to some others, the over-polished glorification of China in the mediated tourism discourse is only coercive to China's social realities experienced by the individual interviewees - the disheartening contrasts of poverty and affluence as well as other social inequalities. From the perspective of the audience group, the Chinese scholars and students at the University of Illinois interviewed for this dissertation research constitute a cohort of exiled audiences for the tourism video "China, Forever". The audiences subject themselves to voluntary interpellation, a process in which they find themselves defending, negotiating, and resisting the nation-state representation of China -- even though they are not its intended audience and have had no input into its production. Nevertheless, such process is one of identification, in which viewers articulate a subject position from which to speak of their own experiences, dilemmas and desires. The usefulness of tourism media discourse in mediating the nation-state narratives and the individual experience is amplified.
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