The digital turn is impacting tourism history in many ways. First, it has changed tourism itself by fostering new commercial, marketing, and organisational models, and has made it easier to shape new tourist experiences in terms of education, promotion of cultural diversity, and accessibility. It has done this also by exploiting the many opportunities provided by the re-conceptualization of cultural heritage and culture. The interaction of commercial and cultural dimensions is producing a re-design of tourist destinations. Secondly, the digital turn has influenced the way historians do their job, by increasing the role of digital sources and tools in designing research methodologies; innovating dissemination activities as suggested by public history; and devoting time and resources to the digitalisation process to build historical maps, datasets, digital collections, etc. Finally, access to a variety of online archives as well as the emergence of new social, economic, and environmental challenges is stimulating new research questions and interpretations. The tourism field is not a special case, as all history disciplines are facing a profound transformation. In addition, the pattern of changes varies in different countries. For instance according to Simone Lässig (2021), there are two main differences in digital history between North America and Europe: 1) in the former, research infrastructure and initiatives are bottom up and usually funded by private undertakings, while in the latter, state and public projects play a pivotal role; 2) in the former, digital history arose out of public history and, consequently, initially focussed on websites, databases, network analyses, digital imaging technologies, and Geographic Information Systems (GIS), that is, all the tools needed to reinforce the communication of history, whereas European historians initially focussed on tools that enable the analysis of great quantities of text. Finally, to complete the picture it is necessary to draw attention to economic history, which was one of the first disciplines to include computer and digital tools in its methodological approaches. In the United States, in the 1960s, a group of economists created new datasets and applied econometric tools to historical analysis. After many years the most prominent of them, Robert Fogel, was awarded the Nobel Prize along with the institutional economist Douglass North. In the meantime, the so-called cliometric approach spread in the United States and helped to bring economic history closer to economics and farther away from history. Its evolution was not linear, however. In the 1960s and 1970s, the new approach became dominant in the United States and Canada, then during the 1980s and 1990s, spread to the UK and then to continental Europe. Subsequently, US economists’ interest in the cliometric revolution rapidly vanished, such that economic history teachings were no longer included in economics PhD programs. Only recently, thanks to the diffusion of a new approach called “persistence studies”, there has been a revival of economists’ interest in history and an increase in the number of economic history articles in economic journals. Recently various papers have dealt with the unsatisfactory relationship between economic historians and economists and the emergence of the new approach of historical economics, which marks the complete abandonment of historical methodologies in favour of economic ones (Cioni et al., 2022). Since the beginning, the cliometric approach stimulated a vivid debate among Italian economic historians, that is still undergoing. Over the long run, the main result has been a decline in the number of economic historians in the economics department and an increase in the number of economists who publish papers based on historical data. The development of digital history (economic history included) in Italy is not far from the general trend described by Simone Lässig for Europe, and can be chronologically framed with three dates corresponding to the establishment of three new scholarly associations: the AIUCD – the Italian Association for Digital Humanities and Culture in 2011; the ASE – the Economic History Association in 2015 (although quantitative history in Italy extends back to the 1990s); and the AIPH – the Italian Association for Public History in 2016. Since 2017, the AIUCD has published Umanistica Digitale, a scientific journal based at the University of Bologna, which fosters debate on the challenges and opportunities of digitalisation by proposing papers ranging from the theoretical and methodological foundations of computational models in social science to the development and application of computational systems and digital tools in the humanities; and from the study of new phenomena in internet cultures, to the analysis of changes happening in scientific communication and in research infrastructure. ASE fosters and encourages quantitative history projects and publishes the Rivista di storia Economica (RSE) [Italian Review of Economic History], although it also welcomes papers using qualitative methodology. This association gives visibility to the quantitative approach (cliometrics) whose diffusion in Italy dates back to the 1990s. The most recent of these associations is the AIPH which has 478 members including scholars and professionals, and aims to promote historical knowledge, encourage multidisciplinary dialogue, and enhance practices and experiences that focus on the active involvement of groups and communities, also in the digital world. Like in North America, in Italy public historians contribute extensively to the use of digital tools, particularly web and multimedia (Salvatori, 2021). Following Douglas Seefeld and William G. Thomas, we can say that two of these Italian associations focus on the methodological level (the ASE and the AIUCD), while the third, the AIPH, more on communication and citizens’ science of the past. Until now, tourism historians have marginally contributed to these associations’ conferences and scientific journals: in Umanistica Digitale, no paper focusing on tourism history or cultural heritage valorisation has ever been published; the Italian Review of Economic History has received only one paper which focused on the reconstruction of the invisible part of the Italian current account from Unification to WWI (Incerpi,2019). We will come back to this essay later. As for the AIPH, although tourism studies are not public historians’ primary target, the association’s annual meetings usually feature papers dealing with the tourism valorisation of history and cultural heritage. For instance, in the first conference in 2017, tourism was the focus of three Sessions: “History as a reference for research and design of new cultural tourism products”; “The Liberated South: for a new narrative of South between tourism and business”; and “Cultural tourism”. Three sessions were dedicated to tourism issues also in the 2018 conference: “The valorization of the cultural heritage through the cultural itineraries as an element of touristic promotion of the territories”; “Moving in space in order to travel in time: widespread museums for contemporary history in Italy”; “Co-Heritage: examples of enhancement of the cultural heritage in Lazio Region”. The last Conference in 2022 experienced a further diffusion of tourism related topics. In conclusion, on the basis of the Italian journals promoting the digital turn in the humanities and economic history fields, so far tourism history has played only a marginal role. The picture doesn’t change if we take into consideration the other main Italian historical journals or Italian historians’ international publications released in the last 15 years, both in Italian and English. The first decade of the new millennium saw the major development of tourism history in Italy, particularly due to the engagement of the Istituto per la storia del Risorgimento italiano (Institute for the Italian Risorgimento/Unification, Naples committee), that from 2000 to 2018, published the Annali di Storia del turismo (editor Annunziata Berrino 2013, 2016, 2018) on a biennial basis. However, apart from this publication, very few articles on tourism history have been published in other Italian history journals. We can mention Diacronie, which in 2018 published a monographic issue on tourism history (no 4), and more recently Italia Contemporanea, where some papers were presented from 2020 to 2022. To complete the picture of Italian historians working on tourism, we need to include a few papers published in international journals (Journal of Tourism History, Business History, Revista de la historia de la economia y de la impresa, TST –Transportes, Servicios y Telecomunicaciones) and a dozen books. However, very few of these papers and books used digital tools or can be categorised as digital history. We will come back to these publications in the next section.

Digital archives as a tool to strengthen tourism research: the Italian case

Battilani Patrizia
2023

Abstract

The digital turn is impacting tourism history in many ways. First, it has changed tourism itself by fostering new commercial, marketing, and organisational models, and has made it easier to shape new tourist experiences in terms of education, promotion of cultural diversity, and accessibility. It has done this also by exploiting the many opportunities provided by the re-conceptualization of cultural heritage and culture. The interaction of commercial and cultural dimensions is producing a re-design of tourist destinations. Secondly, the digital turn has influenced the way historians do their job, by increasing the role of digital sources and tools in designing research methodologies; innovating dissemination activities as suggested by public history; and devoting time and resources to the digitalisation process to build historical maps, datasets, digital collections, etc. Finally, access to a variety of online archives as well as the emergence of new social, economic, and environmental challenges is stimulating new research questions and interpretations. The tourism field is not a special case, as all history disciplines are facing a profound transformation. In addition, the pattern of changes varies in different countries. For instance according to Simone Lässig (2021), there are two main differences in digital history between North America and Europe: 1) in the former, research infrastructure and initiatives are bottom up and usually funded by private undertakings, while in the latter, state and public projects play a pivotal role; 2) in the former, digital history arose out of public history and, consequently, initially focussed on websites, databases, network analyses, digital imaging technologies, and Geographic Information Systems (GIS), that is, all the tools needed to reinforce the communication of history, whereas European historians initially focussed on tools that enable the analysis of great quantities of text. Finally, to complete the picture it is necessary to draw attention to economic history, which was one of the first disciplines to include computer and digital tools in its methodological approaches. In the United States, in the 1960s, a group of economists created new datasets and applied econometric tools to historical analysis. After many years the most prominent of them, Robert Fogel, was awarded the Nobel Prize along with the institutional economist Douglass North. In the meantime, the so-called cliometric approach spread in the United States and helped to bring economic history closer to economics and farther away from history. Its evolution was not linear, however. In the 1960s and 1970s, the new approach became dominant in the United States and Canada, then during the 1980s and 1990s, spread to the UK and then to continental Europe. Subsequently, US economists’ interest in the cliometric revolution rapidly vanished, such that economic history teachings were no longer included in economics PhD programs. Only recently, thanks to the diffusion of a new approach called “persistence studies”, there has been a revival of economists’ interest in history and an increase in the number of economic history articles in economic journals. Recently various papers have dealt with the unsatisfactory relationship between economic historians and economists and the emergence of the new approach of historical economics, which marks the complete abandonment of historical methodologies in favour of economic ones (Cioni et al., 2022). Since the beginning, the cliometric approach stimulated a vivid debate among Italian economic historians, that is still undergoing. Over the long run, the main result has been a decline in the number of economic historians in the economics department and an increase in the number of economists who publish papers based on historical data. The development of digital history (economic history included) in Italy is not far from the general trend described by Simone Lässig for Europe, and can be chronologically framed with three dates corresponding to the establishment of three new scholarly associations: the AIUCD – the Italian Association for Digital Humanities and Culture in 2011; the ASE – the Economic History Association in 2015 (although quantitative history in Italy extends back to the 1990s); and the AIPH – the Italian Association for Public History in 2016. Since 2017, the AIUCD has published Umanistica Digitale, a scientific journal based at the University of Bologna, which fosters debate on the challenges and opportunities of digitalisation by proposing papers ranging from the theoretical and methodological foundations of computational models in social science to the development and application of computational systems and digital tools in the humanities; and from the study of new phenomena in internet cultures, to the analysis of changes happening in scientific communication and in research infrastructure. ASE fosters and encourages quantitative history projects and publishes the Rivista di storia Economica (RSE) [Italian Review of Economic History], although it also welcomes papers using qualitative methodology. This association gives visibility to the quantitative approach (cliometrics) whose diffusion in Italy dates back to the 1990s. The most recent of these associations is the AIPH which has 478 members including scholars and professionals, and aims to promote historical knowledge, encourage multidisciplinary dialogue, and enhance practices and experiences that focus on the active involvement of groups and communities, also in the digital world. Like in North America, in Italy public historians contribute extensively to the use of digital tools, particularly web and multimedia (Salvatori, 2021). Following Douglas Seefeld and William G. Thomas, we can say that two of these Italian associations focus on the methodological level (the ASE and the AIUCD), while the third, the AIPH, more on communication and citizens’ science of the past. Until now, tourism historians have marginally contributed to these associations’ conferences and scientific journals: in Umanistica Digitale, no paper focusing on tourism history or cultural heritage valorisation has ever been published; the Italian Review of Economic History has received only one paper which focused on the reconstruction of the invisible part of the Italian current account from Unification to WWI (Incerpi,2019). We will come back to this essay later. As for the AIPH, although tourism studies are not public historians’ primary target, the association’s annual meetings usually feature papers dealing with the tourism valorisation of history and cultural heritage. For instance, in the first conference in 2017, tourism was the focus of three Sessions: “History as a reference for research and design of new cultural tourism products”; “The Liberated South: for a new narrative of South between tourism and business”; and “Cultural tourism”. Three sessions were dedicated to tourism issues also in the 2018 conference: “The valorization of the cultural heritage through the cultural itineraries as an element of touristic promotion of the territories”; “Moving in space in order to travel in time: widespread museums for contemporary history in Italy”; “Co-Heritage: examples of enhancement of the cultural heritage in Lazio Region”. The last Conference in 2022 experienced a further diffusion of tourism related topics. In conclusion, on the basis of the Italian journals promoting the digital turn in the humanities and economic history fields, so far tourism history has played only a marginal role. The picture doesn’t change if we take into consideration the other main Italian historical journals or Italian historians’ international publications released in the last 15 years, both in Italian and English. The first decade of the new millennium saw the major development of tourism history in Italy, particularly due to the engagement of the Istituto per la storia del Risorgimento italiano (Institute for the Italian Risorgimento/Unification, Naples committee), that from 2000 to 2018, published the Annali di Storia del turismo (editor Annunziata Berrino 2013, 2016, 2018) on a biennial basis. However, apart from this publication, very few articles on tourism history have been published in other Italian history journals. We can mention Diacronie, which in 2018 published a monographic issue on tourism history (no 4), and more recently Italia Contemporanea, where some papers were presented from 2020 to 2022. To complete the picture of Italian historians working on tourism, we need to include a few papers published in international journals (Journal of Tourism History, Business History, Revista de la historia de la economia y de la impresa, TST –Transportes, Servicios y Telecomunicaciones) and a dozen books. However, very few of these papers and books used digital tools or can be categorised as digital history. We will come back to these publications in the next section.
2023
Battilani Patrizia
File in questo prodotto:
File Dimensione Formato  
2023-tourisme-6258.pdf

accesso aperto

Tipo: Versione (PDF) editoriale
Licenza: Creative commons
Dimensione 304.2 kB
Formato Adobe PDF
304.2 kB Adobe PDF Visualizza/Apri

I documenti in IRIS sono protetti da copyright e tutti i diritti sono riservati, salvo diversa indicazione.

Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/11585/951505
Citazioni
  • ???jsp.display-item.citation.pmc??? ND
  • Scopus ND
  • ???jsp.display-item.citation.isi??? ND
social impact