Souvenirs of the other: Strategic authenticity and European identity negotiation in tourism discourse
Despite being frequently ignored as naive nitwits, tourists play an increasingly salient role in identity communication and negotiation. Tourism provides an ever-widening stage upon which groups can forward claims of 'authentic' heritage and collective identity membership. Building upon the concept of the polity identity, I examine the use of 'strategic authenticity' found in tourism branding associated with two cities in central Europe. Prague and Krakow, toward building and maintaining a specific political and cultural perception. Discourse analysis methods are employed to describe the deployment of pre-existing images and language that join reconstructed place meaning to broader European identity stereotypes. The understudied ramifications of such identity rhetoric bought by tourists---literally and figuratively---help strengthen European polity membership and participate in the use of European identity for national differentiation and subsequent political exclusion. As identity boundaries are redefined. European identity will necessarily change for polity members, old and new.