Performing Identity: Touristic Narratives of Self-Change

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identity, personal narrative, performance, tourism, backpacking, self-change

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This article explores how identity is constituted through narrative performance. It contends that in an interpersonal context of narration, a profound experience of self-change is achieved intersubjectively, in-between narrators and audiences. Performatively, the narrators' adventurous travel-narrations, which are generated by a particular type of touristic practice--namely backpacking--collapse the divides between denotation and expression, between the narrated events and the events of their narration. A heightened experiential state is attained when performers conversationally position their audiences in a unique role, a role that subtly implicates the audience and suggests that it too is undergoing self-change while listening to narratives. Because performances are social events, the personal sense of self-change tourists establish materializes in the social realm, where the backpackers assume a desired social identity.

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Citation / Publisher Attribution

Text and Performance Quarterly, v. 24, issue 2, p. 115-138 .