Free Guided Tours : Storytelling as a means of glocalizing urban places
Summary, in English
This article poses the question of how storytelling takes place in free guided tours. It aims to explore guides’ contributions to the glocalization of urban places. Theoretically, the study departs from the concepts of glocalization, place, and storytelling. Empirically, it builds on data from Copenhagen, Berlin, Warsaw and Tallinn, collected by means of participant observations and document studies. Results show that storytelling in free guided tours is based on recognizable narratives from the twentieth century. These in turn, relate both to local urban and to national histories. Likewise, storytelling is influenced by global influences formed by free guided tours as an international business model. Global influences are embodied in the guides, whose biographies accentuate their international experience as travellers. Their guiding practices have a strong influence on the practice of history. They have the power to choose attractions, movements, and stories. In the end, new forms of guiding practices and storytelling emerge. Important factors for this are: the collaborative business model, internationally experienced guides, guests’ previous knowledge, and the cities’ local context. The practices combine local context and cosmopolitan culture and thereby contribute to the glocalization of urban places.