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Liverpool’s Urban Imaginary: The Beatles and Tourism Fanscapes

Wise, NA, Melis, C and Jimura, T Liverpool’s Urban Imaginary: The Beatles and Tourism Fanscapes. The Journal of Popular Culture. ISSN 0022-3840 (Accepted)

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Abstract

Destinations continually seek creative ways to market their destination by celebrating popular histories or individuals. For Liverpool, there is one band with such international recognition that the city seeks to capitalize on. Popular Beatles fanscapes are woven into the fabric and narrative of Liverpool and they are part of the city’s unique music identity. Geographers (Kruse), destination marketers (Whang, Yong, and Ko), popular culture experts (Julien), and cultural historians (Stark) have conducted previous academic research acknowledging the Beatles. However, no study has positioned the Beatles alongside literatures that unite tourism with authenticity and fanscapes using co-constructed autoethnography. This paper utilizes a method of autoethnography to critically position meanings that align with place identity and authenticity, along with tangible and intangible heritage—thereby creating sentiment of popular memory. The four members of the Beatles, John Lennon, Paul McCartney, George Harrison and Ringo Starr, are from Liverpool and in many ways are synonymous with the city as they are embedded in the story of Liverpool since they became famous in the 1960s (Cohen). To attract Beatles fans from around the globe, destination managers, planners, and private stakeholders have found creative ways to display and disseminate sites and places of and for the Beatles. Notable spaces and places around Liverpool include: The Cavern Quarter, Hard Days Night Hotel, The Beatles Story (in the Albert Dock), John, Paul, Ringo, and George Statues in Pier Head, Magical Mystery Tour, Penny Lane and Strawberry Fields, John Lennon Airport, as well as numerous features hidden in the city, each memorialize the Beatles as part of the city’s urban imaginary and popular music culture. This study critically explores these spaces and places of popular fandom, developed as an autoethnography (of the authors who are Beatles fans and new Liverpool residents). I (first-author) critically reflect on experiences as they relate to tourism and Liverpool’s urban imaginary. The co-authors (second-author and third-author) help reinforce, confirm, and challenge place meanings, popular imaginaries, and the consumption of the Beatles. Conceptually this paper contributes to the popular culture studies literature by focusing on a band, fanscapes and the urban imaginary, using a critical self-reflective approach and personal experiences while referring to academic literature on placemaking and authenticity.

Item Type: Article
Subjects: G Geography. Anthropology. Recreation > G Geography (General) > G149 Travel. Voyages and travels (General) > G154.9 Travel and state. Tourism
Divisions: Liverpool Business School (closed 31 Aug 19)
Publisher: Wiley
Date Deposited: 02 Sep 2019 10:47
Last Modified: 02 Sep 2019 11:00
URI: http://researchonline.ljmu.ac.uk/id/eprint/11257

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