On the Trail of Joan of Arc
Keywords:Joan of Arc, Tourism Routes, Heritage Tourism, Iconic Figures, Actor Network Theory, Site Sacralization Theory
AbstractThe year 2012 marked the 600th anniversary of the birthday of Joan of Arc (Fr., Jeanne d’Arc) (1412–1431). Tributes to this national heroine can be found all over France. There are literally countless statues, streets and restaurants named after her and many sites dedicated to her life. However, despite widespread social and mechanical reproduction and cultural naming in relation to the Maid of Orléans, there is no official network or integrated signage in France to promote cultural heritage tourism to the numerous Joan of Arc sites and festivals, even though her life and death, by any measure, were seminal events in the country’s history. Unfortunately, the pilgrim who wants to follow or intersect with Joan of Arc’s trail through France, for cultural, historical or religious reasons, must do so without much help. Using Actor Network Theory and Site Sacralization Theory as framing devices, this paper explores human actors and tangible and intangible non-human factors that may have contributed to the lack of a unified tourism product despite the existence of an adequate Joan of Arc tourismscape. Insights gleaned from this research include Joan’s conflicted status as both/either saint and/or patriot, the existence of no cooperation or linkage between Joan of Arc sites, and cautious French tourism development policies. Several possible scenarios are suggested as suitable means to help implement or foster the creation of an on-the-ground or virtual Joan of Arc trail or tour.
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