Mythic Geographies of Representation and Identity: Contemporary Postcards of Wales
Channel View Publications
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This article explores how picture postcards contribute to the cultural production, performance and consumption of landscapes, places and identities. Drawing on cultural and critical studies, it scrutinises the postcard as a cultural text and as a site of cultural production. It begins by briefly reviewing the concepts of ethnicity and identity in relation to its case study country of Wales and suggests how its imagined communities and landscapes have a broad mythical structure that can be mapped across a series of discourses. It then outlines the study's approach to postcard analysis and locates the visual in social science research, confronting issues of interpretation, validity, sampling and reflexivity. The article subsequently presents a discourse analysis of a dozen contemporary Welsh-produced postcards from the archives of the National Library of Wales. In particular, it navigates the visual narratives that are privileging particular stories of place, culture and nationhood and analyses what is being invoked to epitomise contemporary Wales and what is being set aside in these postcard representations. It suggests these visual texts reflect an internal re-mapping of Wales that is celebrating the capital city of Cardiff as its metropolitan cultural core and marginalising alternative imagined communities of Wales, redefining them through spectacle and theatricality. Finally, the article concludes by suggesting how further analysis of such visual touristic texts could offer insights into the cultural production and consumption of identities, landscapes, and places.
Journal of Tourism and Cultural Change
Pritchard, A. and Morgan, N.. (2003) 'Mythic geographies of representation and identity: Contemporary postcards of Wales', Journal of Tourism and Cultural Change, 1(2), pp.111-130.
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