Variation and Belonging. The Use of Variation in Tourism for Indicating Forms of Belonging
2022-04-14, 15:30–16:00 (Europe/Vienna), Room 5

Social belongings and identities depend on “situations and stages of life” (Cornips/de Rooij 2018:2). Being multi-layered as well as fluid (Hirschauer 2014) and sometimes even conflicting (Jones/Krzyżanowski 2011:42–47), belongings are constructed across social categories and differences. A fruitful approach is the definition of belonging as “an emotionally charged social location” expressed by sharing values, relations and practices (Pfaff-Czarnecka 2011:201, Anthias 2008:8). Among these shared practices, language plays an important role. Up to now, the concept of belonging was mainly applied in the context of migration. Only very recently, Auer/Røyneland (2020) transferred the notion of indicating belonging to “new speakers”, thus the (second) generation of migrants, who adopt the local/regional nonstandard varieties.
In our presentation we will apply the concept of belonging to shorter and mainly impermanent stays, investigating the role of variation for the indication of (non-)belonging in touristic encounters (cf. e.g. Dürr 2011, Remlinger 2018). Tourism provides a perfect setting for such an undertaking as it brings together people from different variational backgrounds who come to or stay in a region due to different purposes (leisure, work, living) and for mostly pre-defined spans of time (e.g. one night, a week, a working season, several years, or a lifespan).
Our analysis is based on a corpus of 29 interviews (in total more than 26 hours) with three generations of owners of different family run enterprises (hotels, service providers etc.) and tourism offices in rural areas of Tyrol/Austria. In this area, local varieties are still widespread and frequently used. The majority of tourists come from Germany, seasonal workers are from the region but also from Germany and from (South) Eastern Europe. Therefore, there is a mix of local/regional varieties used for the expression of local identity as well as for commodification (Dannerer/Franz/Ortner 2017, Dannerer acc.). However, there are also varieties brought to the regions by employees and tourists. We assume that all these groups – local owners, staff, tourists – search for different forms, intensities and feelings of belonging.
The presentation will deal with the following questions: Are varieties seen as a form of indicating (non-)belonging? What are the main practices reported by the interviewees? Is accommodation (Giles 2008, Dannerer/Franz/Ortner 2017) presented to attract or reject claims of belonging? At a meta-perspective, we will take up the question how the complexities of the concept of belonging can be traced in interviews. Applying a discourse analytical approach, we will analyse the reported perspectives on interactions and the functions of varieties in tourism concerning feelings and politics of belonging.


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