Saturday, May 26, 2012

The multivocality of choice

In his 1966 essay "Models of social organization", social anthropologist Fredrick Barth proposed that human cultures were not absolute controlling entities for the people within them. Rather, Barth claimed that values and norms were emergent phenomena, that all people made choices in their lives depending on their perceptions of the possibilities and limitations surrounding them - on both cultural and material levels. Barth's work influenced much of subsequent ethnographic research, not least more recent studies on the 'multivocality' of cultural groups. These ideas eventually also reached the realm of tourist advertisements. At any rate, the Romanian tourist board introduced their slogan "Romania - Land of Choice" in 2009, with video spots, billboards and ads in various international publications. The insinuation was that since celebrities have various ideas on what Romania was, visitors could also experience the country in any number of ways. MY Romania would not necessarily be the same as YOUR Romania. Since then, however, the slogan has been changed to the more specific regional focus of "explore the Carpathian garden".

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