Performing Transylvania: Tourism, fantasy and play in a liminal place

Authors: Light, D.

Journal: Tourist Studies

Volume: 9

Issue: 3

Pages: 240-258

ISSN: 1468-7976

DOI: 10.1177/1468797610382707


In recent years there has been increasing attention on tourism as a form of performance. Moreover, some recent work has focused on the role of tourist performances in the making (and remaking) of tourist places. This article explores these issues with reference to Transylvania, Romania, through ethnographic fieldwork with a group of Western tourists visiting Transylvania for Halloween. It was clear that, for these tourists, their visit to Transylvania was firmly grounded in what they brought with them from their home cultures. In particular, the whole visit was circumscribed by an enduring place-myth of Transylvania as the home of Dracula and vampires. During their holiday, these tourists enthusiastically engaged with this myth through fantasy, imagination-work and embodied play. Thus, these tourists were not simply encountering Transylvania — instead they were performing a Transylvania as they imagined it to be. In doing so, they were actively reconstituting the Transylvania place myth. © 2009, SAGE Publications. All rights reserved.

Source: Scopus

Preferred by: Duncan Light