On the uses of travel guides in the context of German tourism to Scotland

Gavin Jack, Alison Phipps

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

11 Citations (Scopus)


Travel guides are a paradigmatic form of modern travel writing. Recent historical and textual analyses of guides regard them as sites of ideological struggle and indices of shifting cultural understandings about the purpose and nature of travel itself. This article builds upon this text-based research by using ethnographic data to explore the functions and uses of guides in the everyday life of tourism before, during and after actual travel. We place particular focus on exploring guides as forms of apodemic literature1, that is as didactic literature that has important performative and agentic functions. We consider the ways that actual tourists use these guides to do important identity-work and pay particular attention to the historical and sociological specificities of German tourism to Scotland in substantiating this. We conclude by suggesting that travel guides perform important ontological as well as epistemological roles for tourists and that as an artefact of modern culture, their use can also be interpreted in liminal terms when articulated against the wider connections between Modernity, life and death.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)281-300
Number of pages20
JournalTourist Studies
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2003
Externally publishedYes


  • apodemic literature
  • death
  • ethnography
  • German tourism to Scotland
  • modernity
  • travel guides

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