Title: The mediating role of literary tour guides: Saramago versus Mafra's National Palace

Authors: Marcelo G. Oliveira; Maria Do Carmo Leal; Maria Isabel Roque; Maria João Forte; Sara Rodrigues De Sousa; Antónia Correia

Addresses: CLEPUL, Universidade Europeia, Estrada da Correia, 53, 1500-210 Lisboa, Portugal ' Universidade Europeia, Estrada da Correia, 53, 1500-210 Lisboa, Portugal ' CIDEHUS, Universidade Europeia, Estrada da Correia, 53, 1500-210 Lisboa, Portugal ' Universidade Europeia, Estrada da Correia, 53, 1500-210 Lisboa, Portugal ' CEC-UL, Universidade Europeia, Estrada da Correia, 53, 1500-210 Lisboa, Portugal ' CEFAGE, Universidade do Algarve, Universidade Europeia, Estrada da Correia, 53, 1500-210 Lisboa, Portugal

Abstract: The growth of literary tourism in the past decades presents several challenges, especially given the existence of inevitable gaps between the expectations of visitors and the cultural reality of destinations. Tour guides play a decisive role in mediating those differences, helping reconcile the appeal of literature with the material and immaterial heritage of the spaces visited. The promotion and experience of Mafra's National Palace (Portugal) based on the novel Baltasar and Blimunda, by Nobel Prize winner José Saramago, constitutes a paradigmatic case, given the novel's clearly ideological stance. To ascertain the mediation strategies used by tour guides, a qualitative study was designed including participant observation of guided tours and interviews with the professionals involved. Although a challenge for tour guides, the use of the contrasting stance provided by the novel proved highly productive, allowing guides a greater discursive freedom and visitors a more differentiated and engaging experience of the site.

Keywords: literary tourism; heritage tourism; cultural tourism; cultural mediation; ideology; tour guides; guided tours; service experience; José Saramago; Baltasar and Blimunda; Mafra; National Palace; Portugal.

DOI: 10.1504/IJTP.2017.088305

International Journal of Tourism Policy, 2017 Vol.7 No.4, pp.309 - 326

Received: 28 Jan 2017
Accepted: 30 Jul 2017

Published online: 27 Nov 2017 *

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