The Said and the Unsaid: Performative Guiding in a Jerusalem Neighborhood

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Jerusalem, language, performance, Qatamon, tour guide, 1948 War

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This paper describes a guided walking tour of a formerly Palestinian neighbourhood in Jerusalem and an important battlefield in the 1948 Arab—Israeli War.The paper assumes a critical performance approach to guided tours in examining how through performative guiding, identities, histories and places are (re)constituted. We conceive of performative guiding as a situated event which both takes place in and simultaneously signifies and reconstructs the environment wherein it transpires. The tour we analyse was given by a Jewish-Israeli guide to a Jewish-Israeli audience, and was attended by the first author. The guide’s apparent inclination towards the Israeli and Zionist narrative regarding the story of the neighbourhood is highlighted through an analysis of the commentary given. Through an examination of things said and unsaid, we highlight the dual role of performative guiding: relaying historical information and reaffirming partisan narratives.

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Citation / Publisher Attribution

Tourist Studies, v. 10, issue 1, p. 19-33