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Rediscovering the imagination: investigating active and passive visitor experience in the 21st century

By Richard Voase


The experiential nature of visits to cultural and heritage attractions is theorised. Contemporary discourses posit the emergence of a thoughtful consumer and a paradoxical dumbing-down of culture. The discursive links between active consumption and thought/learning, and of passive consumption with dumbness/fun, are argued to be fallacious; the meanings of active and passive are in need of re-evaluation. Dumbing-down is suggested to be a discursive term for the lowering of the threshold of engagement by cultural producers, implying neither dumb content nor dumb consumers. Postmodernisation has eroded the protocols governing access to culture, producing two simultaneous effects: the augmentation of opportunities for thoughtful engagement, and increasing commodification giving rise to a smart consumer with an initial focus on transaction. A popular threshold of engagement is a recommended and rational strategy for attracting and engaging both thoughtful and smart consumer

Topics: N800 Tourism, Transport and Travel
Year: 2002
DOI identifier: 10.1002/jtr.390
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