“Terra Incognita in the heart of Europe” : representation of Belarusian national identity in tourism advertisements

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Title: “Terra Incognita in the heart of Europe” : representation of Belarusian national identity in tourism advertisements
Author: Lind, Alina
Other contributor: Helsingin yliopisto, Humanistinen tiedekunta
University of Helsinki, Faculty of Arts
Helsingfors universitet, Humanistiska fakulteten
Publisher: Helsingin yliopisto
Date: 2021
Language: eng
URI: http://urn.fi/URN:NBN:fi:hulib-202106012420
Thesis level: master's thesis
Degree program: Kulttuurienvälisen vuorovaikutuksen maisteriohjelma
Master's Programme in Intercultural Encounters
Magisterprogrammet i interkulturell växelverkan
Specialisation: ei opintosuuntaa
no specialization
ingen studieinriktning
Abstract: Due to historical and political reasons, a lot of Belarusians face a challenge regarding the understanding of their national identity. This thesis aims at analysing the ways tourism advertisements contribute to the nation’s representation to Belarusians. The study’s objectives concentrate on the formulation of the most recurring cultural representations of Belarusian nation portrayed in the advertisements and evaluation of their contribution to nation-building processes. In the following thesis, I am answering the research questions regarding the markers of cultural representation (e.g., signs, symbols) seen in tourism advertising contributing to Belarusian identity, their cultural connotations, and the differences in the representation of such symbols in governmental and private Belarusian tourist advertisements. Since the thesis is analysing Belarusian national identity features, I also provide a historical and political background of the republic since the thirteenth century. By doing so, the reader gets a comprehensive picture of the events that influenced the problem of national identity and the topicality of this issue nowadays. The data consist of 44 images and snapshots taken from Belarusian online travel resources. As a rule, these images have a direct connection to traditions, myths, and national heritage of the republic. The materials were classified according to their references to geography, leisure practices, cultural heritage, and social relationships. Such references facilitate the classification of the data and allow to identify the national identity markers in a structured way. In this research, I applied the semiology analysis method that analyses denotative and connotative meanings of an image. This method helps to identify “symbols” depicted in the tourist advertisements regarding Belarusian national identity which involves reading between the lines and understanding the historical and cultural “baggage” of the nation in question. This study demonstrated the most representative markers of cultural representation used in the tourist advertisements of Belarus, the way they “speak” to the citizens, and shape Belarusian national identity in the modern context.
Subject: National identity
visual semiotics.

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