Rapid Changes in Approaching First-Time Destination Historical Cities

Rapid Changes in Approaching First-Time Destination Historical Cities

Annamaria Silvana de Rosa (Sapienza University of Rome, Italy), Elena Bocci (Sapienza University of Rome, Italy) and Laura Dryjanska (Biola University, USA)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-7998-3473-1.ch117
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Abstract

Within the theoretical framework of social representations this chapter features the web-based multi-faced sources of information about three European capitals: London, Madrid, and Warsaw. In line with the “modelling approach to social representations”, the research verifies a set of three hypotheses concerning each considered web-based media source (a: institutional municipal websites; b: social networks; c: Google Earth) and its relationship with more traditional forms of communication. The communicative capacity of the municipal websites and the manner of creating virtual itineraries by Google Earth are related to the overall self-rated importance of sources of information about cities; while exchanges about the same target cities through social networks reflect the interactive nature of interpersonal communication. The results from web-based media studies will be also compared with those based on the field study, involving 420 first-time visitors from France, Germany, Italy, Poland, Spain, UK, and USA, contacted before and after their first-time visit.
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Theoretical Background

Within the theoretical framework of social representations (Moscovici, 1961/1976; Farr & Moscovici, 1984; Moscovici & Duveen, 2000; de Rosa, 2011; 2013a; Sammut et Al., 2015; Lo Monaco et Al., 2016), this chapter features the web-based multi-faced sources of information about three European Capitals: London, Madrid and Warsaw.

The social psychological construct of social representations introduced by Moscovici (1961/1976) has been successfully applied to urban studies since decades. Milgram (1984) conceptualised cities as social representations, attributing as much importance to the characteristics of neighbourhoods’ residents as to physical features of places. Subsequently, the construct of social representations has been used to explain how urban entrepreneurs influence perception of the city to their convenience (Hubbard, 1996). In urban context, the theory of social representations provided a more complex manner of considering residents’ attitudes towards tourism (Andriotis & Vaughan, 2003). However, in the contemporary hustle of European Capitals it becomes increasingly common to find more tourists or commuters than actual residents, at least in some areas. In fact, for years the theory has also been applied to study how tourists represent cities as a whole as well as specific places or urban areas before and after the visit (de Rosa et Al., 1995; de Rosa, 1997, 2013b; de Rosa & D’Ambrosio, 2011).

Key Terms in this Chapter

Modelling Approach: A paradigmatic approach to Social Representations developed by de Rosa (2013a , 2013b ).

Social Representations: A complex construct created by Serge Moscovici (1961) AU9: The in-text citation "Serge Moscovici (1961)" is not in the reference list. Please correct the citation, add the reference to the list, or delete the citation. , which, according to de Rosa (1994) AU10: The in-text citation "de Rosa (1994)" is not in the reference list. Please correct the citation, add the reference to the list, or delete the citation. , can be operationalized on three different levels: a) social representations as a phenomenon; b) theory of social representations; c) meta-theory of social representations.

European Capitals: Capital cities in Europe, which include an area that can be identified as a historic center (sometimes called “Old Town”, like in the case of Warsaw).

Urban Tourism: A form of tourism aimed at visiting a city while traveling for recreational purposes.

First-Time Visitors: People who visit a given place (for example a city) for the first time in their lives.

Social Networks: In the definition of social networks, inter-relationality among diverse social actors, such as individual private users and organizations, is a core element.

Geo-Cultural Context: Specific geographic location that takes into account the cultural characteristics of inhabitants, such as common language, history, customs or art; for example, insular, Mediterranean or North-European geo-cultural contexts.

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