Tourisme et curiosités : approche communicationnelle du légendaire dans les guides de voyage imprimés

Abstract : It is a widespread thought that legends are either traditional or modern, but never both at the same time. When traditional, they are supposed to be told in far away countries, in space and/or in time. These legends are usually studied by anthropologists. When urban, they stop being traditional and are not really legends anymore. They are called “rumours” and are mostly studied by “rumourologists”. However, their presence in travel guides shows that they do have an operativity as traditional objects in our modern culture. Starting with a semiotic analysis of some French-written travel guides conducted through a communicational perspective, this research aims to show that legendary speech – i.e. legends and the way they are told and commented in travel guides – is an object that can institute a specific relationship to culture identified as curiosity or uniqueness (“insolite” in French). The first part of the research enlightens the fact that legendary speech appears as an anecdotal object in travel guides. Indeed, these books suggest that legendary speech does say something extraordinary, but they also seem to believe or want to prove that it is insignificant from a cultural point of view. Anecdotal, legendary speech is also elusive. It is what the second part of the research shows focusing on the way travel guides manage to build up the impossibility to classify this kind of speech. When curious, legendary speech tells us about the strangeness of the world order. When unique, it says no more than its own incongruity. If legendary speech is at the same time anecdotal and elusive, what makes it cultural? The third and last part of the research answers this question. It shows that legendary speech does deal with culture precisely because it appears as both anecdotal and elusive. It is an object of discourse that allows the one who implements it to come out into the social world as an “author”, in the sense that one signs a cultural point of view characterized by a certain casualness towards the common hierarchy of values. It also shows that this speech is delivered to the reader/traveller in order to be reiterated. In other words, the possible circulation of this speech, from travel guides to tourists, suggests that it can be appropriated, so as to reverse or divert the cultural order, so as to inhabit, for the one who says it, the social world, the fractional time of its enunciation
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Hécate Vergopoulos. Tourisme et curiosités : approche communicationnelle du légendaire dans les guides de voyage imprimés. Anthropologie sociale et ethnologie. Université d'Avignon; Université du Québec à Montréal, 2010. Français. ⟨NNT : 2010AVIG1088⟩. ⟨tel-00585410⟩

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