HomeTourist mobility patterns, heritage and globalisation

Tourist mobility patterns, heritage and globalisation

Postdoctoral fellowship Labex Dynamite 2014

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Published on Tuesday, April 22, 2014 by Luigia Parlati


The 1980s saw the advent of a new phase of globalisation, a new phase of capitalism, a new era of heritage and a new era of tourism. While these evolutions have been clearly identified, they are often approached separately. If the changes relating to heritage can be explained by a crisis in our relationships with time, or even by a new "presentist" view of history, the new mobility patterns of tourism relate a new relationship with space that is typical of contemporary globalisation. The research project in which the post-doc candidate will be involved sets out to consider these dynamics of globalisation, heritage and tourism conjointly.


The aim is to explore the place of tourist mobilities (and tourism more generally as a total, globalised phenomenon) within the "production" of heritage, in an approach that simultaneously envisages globalisation of our heritage, and globalisation by way of our heritage- a "heritage-linked globalisation". This view proceeds in terms of processes (M. Rautenberg, 2004; A. Micoud, 2005) and scaled reconfigurations. It thus goes beyond the notion of multiple extensions (F. Choay, 1997) in the concept of heritage (Babelon, Chastel, 2008) and favours the notion of a qualitative leap and a change in logic - the shift from a selective approach to historical objects to an all-embracing view of heritage, and more fundamentally a change in their positioning in the social field: the "manufacture" of heritage is interfering more and more, in numerous forms, in many forms of globalisation (C. Ghorra-Gobin, 2001). Rescaling can be observed, first of all in the rising importance of international, supranational and transnational players in the production of heritage – UNESCO, the EU, the transnational elite, as well as the tourist industry and tourists themselves.

This new stage in globalisation is attended by a new relationship with territory, which reconfigures tourist mobilities, heritage, and the relationships between them. The arrival in an era of hypermobility (F. Ascher, 1983) and the appearance of a "nomadic" society (R. Knafou, 2002), facilitated by the new transport revolution and new relationships with borders, have led to an increasing complexity in touristic mobility patterns on different spatial and temporal scales.

But hypermobility is also radically altering the way in which heritage is produced, increasingly linked to mobility patterns. Far from rooting itself in territoriesas a bastion against movement (J. Beauchard, 1995), heritage is sometimes the very product of mobilities. It is the result of globalised capital transactions, flows, symbols, labels and experiences, where tourist mobility patterns serve to orchestrate, order or blend.

These trends show that new processes are at work, suggesting tourist mobilities should be seen as major factors in the social production of heritage, a theme that has been only marginally touched on in French and European research. It follows a fortiori that the consequences of these evolutions (on territories and their positioning, on the tourist economy, on the emergence of heritage "poles" and on identities) are still today widely unexplored, despite the considerable economic, social, political and geopolitical implications.

These considerations are central in the working group "L'Espace de la Mobilité" (the space of mobility), and they should provide original material for two of its main lines or research. This research, via its apprehension of mobility, and tourist mobility in particular, as a founding category of space and "heritage-linked" globalisation, should contribute to the construction of knowledge that is anything but a static and fixed approach to spaces and spatialities. Via an analysis of the trends in tourist mobilities, and in particular the emergence and the positioning of certain places, this post-doc research will also highlight the different facets of territorial re-composition processes, and the new relationships with territory that are appearing in our highly interconnected, globalised world.

The approach

Within the terms of this contract, the post-doc researcher is invited to conduct a comparative analysis of several sites, contexts or heritage objects, whether or not listed as world heritage sites, material or intangible, so as to study the way in which their formation, evolution and inscription affect tourist mobility patterns – or might even be the product of these mobilities.

An indicative list of heritage sites or objects that might be selected is provided below. However these will be re-discussed according to candidate profiles.

1. A UNESCO World Heritage Site

UNESCO world heritage sites forms an interesting "laboratory" for the study of relationships that may be national-global and local-global (heritage glocalisation, R. Robertson, 1997), global-global (interference between the globalisation of tourism and heritage globalisation). Angkor Vat (in Cambodia) could provide an interesting field of investigation, as an example of a site where not only its restoration, but also its exploitation is managed by an international consortium, while at the same time the restoration is partly dictated by tourist mobilities. The "heritage-linked" globalisation at work here involves the production of a "monumental object", or possibly a global tourist product.

2. An Intangible Cultural Heritage object

Kabuki dramatic art in Japan could illustrate this issue, on account of the exemplary nature of this vehicle for intangible cultural heritage "saved" by tourism. It could illustrate the way in which tourism contributes to the protection, conservation and commercialisation of the object by amplifying its role in issues of heritage-linked globalisation since Japan has opened up to Western influences.

3. An example of a "nationalised" international heritage, or an example of post-colonial heritage.

Here we can cite the international concessions in Tianjin. These concession can illustrate the way in which there has been a shift since their international creation to nationalisation, with the part played by Chinese national tourist flows.

These examples are merely indicative. It is for the candidates to propose examples and fields of research that they consider relevant. The examples selected will be processed according to a crossed analysis grid enabling "nodes", "bridges" and "boundaries" to be detected, and the way in which they fit into the globalisation context by or for tourism. Particular attention will be paid to tourists themselves, seen as the players - mediators or defenders - of the heritage objects in question.

Required skills and abilities 

The post-doc candidate recruited should have considerable skills and experience in both tourism and heritage issues, on the basis of doctoral research, scientific production, experience within national or international bodies and institutions working in the areas of heritage and/or tourism.

The candidate should master issues at the interface between tourism (political and geopolitical aspects of tourist mobility; sociology; geography; tourist economy) and heritage (full understanding of the notion of heritage and the production of heritage, and the implications).

He/she should be able to analyse the way in which he/she would take on the study cases proposed above, or else to provide arguments for other cases that he/she might propose. This call puts emphasis on cases in Asia which are of particular interest to the laboratories concerned. Candidates proposing a comparative approach involving other international settings will also be considered.

The candidate should have perfect command of French and English. Knowledge of a third language facilitating an approach to areas of Asia (or, if applicable, approach to other international settings proposed by the candidate) would be a clear advantage.

The main qualities required for this post are the ability to conceptualise, the ability to propose a research design that is comparative and multi-site, and the ability for teamwork on a theme that is common to several on-going projects.

Proceedings and schedules of recruitment

The application file should demonstrate the match to the profile (missions and required skills). Documents to be included:
- Application form,

- A cover letter,

- A Curriculum Vitae,

- The research project (5 pages max),

- A list of your publications,

- Two publications,

- Verification of completion by mentor (except for foreign students),

- A copy of your PhD degree (or attestation)[1],

- Two letters of recommendation.

Applications must be sent before 09th May 2014.

All applications have to be sent to: labex.dynamite@hesam.eu

As from 30th June 2014, selected candidate will be informed after examination of their application.

Scientific committee to be announced

[1] The PhD must have been defended no more than 5 years ago.

Additional informations

  • Beginning of the contract 01/09/2014
  • Lenght of the contract 1 year
  • Hosting Laboratory Name of the laboratory: EIREST + Geographie-Cités Address: IREST, 12 place du Panthéon, 75005 Paris
  • Supervisors: 
    • Maria Gravari-Barbas (EIREST),
    • Nadine Cattan (Géographie-Cités, UMR 8504)
  • Net monthly salary 2324€ net


  • Paris, France (75)


  • Friday, May 09, 2014


  • tourism, heritage, globalisation, capitalism, post doc


  • DynamiTe LabEx
    courriel : labex [dot] dynamite [at] hesam [dot] eu

Information source

  • Sophie Bantos
    courriel : labex [dot] dynamite [at] hesam [dot] eu

To cite this announcement

« Tourist mobility patterns, heritage and globalisation », Scholarship, prize and job offer, Calenda, Published on Tuesday, April 22, 2014, https://calenda.org/282990

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