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J.B.I. (Januschka) Schmidt, MA

PhD Student

Tourism Intruders? Negotiating Place Meanings at Sacred Heritage Sites (PhD thesis)

The perception of tourism as a threat to local well-being and liveability (over-tourism) is a rising phenomenon in dire need of research. To answer this call, this project investigates how tourists affect the relationship local residents have with significant places in their community. I propose to apply the concept of conflicting place meanings (i.e., conflicting functions of, and bonds with the place) to over-tourism at sacred heritage sites, that are essential to the experience of spirituality and fulfil many social, symbolic, and emotional functions important to well-being, identity, and liveability of the local community. To do so, I take the example of sacred heritage sites in Japan, where I (1) analyse the different meanings of sacred sites and the link between meanings and spirituality. (2) I then study which local meanings of place are threatened, and (3), look at how local community members come to experience challenging place meanings. Thereby, the project offers a more comprehensive and contextual understandings of the interplay of place meanings, spirituality, and tourism; and facilitates local empowerment in dealing with over-tourism.

Last modified:25 June 2022 4.46 p.m.