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Narrative Construction of Authenticity in Pilgrimage Touring

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Publication Date: August 2001

Publisher(s): American Sociological Association

Author(s): Shaul Kelner

Special Collection: Berman Jewish Policy Archive

Topic: Social conditions (Social research)

Keywords: American Jews; Identity formation

Type: Report

Coverage: United States


This paper analyses the shift from constructivist to existentialist conceptions of authenticity in tourism. The author argues that the existentialist approach represents a withdrawal from an ongoing and unresolved debate, rather than the reconciliation that it has sometimes been presented as. Such an approach has divorced the notion of authenticity from any inherent relationship to the act of touring. Utilizing ethnographic data from a study of a Jewish-American pilgrimage tours to Israel, is argued that a shared narrative linking observer and observed can resolve the dichotomy between constructivist and existentialists notions of authenticity.