Beyond multicultural ‘tolerance’: guided tours and guidebooks as transformative tools for civic learning

Ormond, M.E.; Vietti, Francesco


In bringing people together that otherwise might have little more than passing contact with one another, tourism is appreciated for its potential to transform mindsets by fostering multi-perspectivity, a cornerstone of global citizenship education, among both ‘tourists’ and ‘locals’. Hence, while tourism plays a significant role in marginalising and exploiting immigrants’ bodies, labour and heritages, it also holds significant potential as a critical pedagogical tool for transcending the limits of multicultural tolerance discourse and combatting exploitation and xenophobia. In this article, we reflect on two Europe-based global citizenship-inspired initiatives bringing together migration and tourism in novel ways: Migrantour guided walking tours and the Roots Guide guidebook. They endeavour to rework guided tours and guidebooks, two of tourism’s most common pedagogical tools, into ‘good company’ that supports the Arendtian practice of ‘visiting’ as a key mode of civic learning. In so doing, we explore the representational and structural opportunities and challenges that these two initiatives encounter as they seek to co-create multi-dimensional narratives and routes in ways that recognise guides’ diverse experiences and perceptions of the places they call home, avoid stereotypical representations of ‘communities’ and hold space for the real-life frictions that accompany diversity