Politics of memories: identity construction in museums

Carol X. Zhang, Honggen Xiao, Nigel Morgan, Tuan Phong Ly

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    This paper adopts collective memory theory to reveal processes through which heritage tourism stakeholders (re)construct contested national identity. Theoretically sensitised to identity crisis, the study analyses how Hong Kong and Macao heritage managers utilise complex transnational memories to (re)construct an identity aligned with, yet distinct from, that of China. Through a critical discourse analysis of interviews and discursive exhibition and museum texts, the article reveals that museum managers formulate heritage imaginings and a sense of belonging(s) through defining the collective memory for “Self” and “Other”. The article concludes that, by collective memory-building, museum professionals make tangible statements of national identities through legitimating negotiations and resistance in heritage tourism discourse. Implications for heritage tourism studies and museum management are also discussed.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)116-130
    Number of pages15
    JournalAnnals of Tourism Research
    Early online date1 Oct 2018
    Publication statusPublished - 1 Nov 2018


    • Heritage tourism
    • Transnational collective memory
    • National identity
    • China
    • Postcolonial representation


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