The International Association for the History of Transport, Traffic and Mobility (T2M) invites proposals for papers to be presented at the Third International Conference on the History of Transport, Traffic and Mobility, to be held at the National Railway Museum, York, United Kingdom on 6-9 October 2005. Papers of the panel “Tourism in central and east European dictatorships in the 20th century” should address the historical relationship between tourism and transport, traffic and/or mobility linked to specific characteristic of socialist systems by comparison. Proposals exploring theoretical or methodological issues as well as those of a more empirical nature are very welcome. In this way we should be able to analyse the genesis, development and interaction of different cultures of travel in order to illuminate the various historical meanings of tourism. For more detailed information on the conference itself, please follow: http://www.t2m.org.
The conference language is English (only).The deadline for abstracts and a short cv (max. 1 page each; Word or rich text format only) is Tuesday 29.3.2005. Send proposals to the e-mail address provided below. I will forward all documents to T2M after designing a concise overview of what the session is about, why it matters, and how the papers each address the panel’s theme.
„Socialistic travelling“ considered as a serious subject of research means a lot more than dealing with oddities, generated by the media or in individual and collective memories. But even curios – as a first access - are able to show how „robust and vulnerable normality is“ (Vester, transl.). Therein the freedom of travel as a base right is central for transformation processes in 1989 and proved the explosive force of „secret geographies of the caged“ (Schuetze, transl.).
The development of socialistic countries – not only in aspects of tourism – often seems to be monolithic. But thereby national and individual varieties of life style are neglected. That is why tourism history in particular lends itself to a distinguished comparative consideration of socialistic states. Tourism always marked a domain not only regulated and controlled by the state, but also depending on partly autonomous mentally and culturally stamped conditions.
At first the rather little satisfactory research situation requires a consideration of tourism in principle. This means analysis of geographical, political, economical, judicial, transportation and cultural aspects, first of one selected country, later in comparison.
Thereafter there must be a distinction between regarding a country as a tourist destination or looking at travel customs of people of a specific origin. In first instance this is a matter of natural conditions – and therefore a different attractiveness of territories. After all the question is, which perspective of development was given for specific tourist regions and centers.
National and international travelling of socialistic countries’ citizens will be the focus point of the panel. In doing so, Marxism / Leninism is regarded as a spanning of ideology considering tourism primarily as a medium to recreate manpower in the working process. Only since the 1970s has it also been patronized as an expression of private need and desire.
Questions to single studies could be:
Which political and societal task had tourism?
To what extent developments appeared standardized due to Soviet guidelines (e.g. ideological and economic integration, nationalization of businesses, and rejection of a western orientation)?
How was the central control of tourist matters organized institutionally?
Of what relevance is looking at administrative structures in tourism policy?
Did single states react on the apparent inflexibility of centrally planned economies with basic approaches for reforms?
Which significance had the most important travel operators – trade unions and companies?
Which chances and/or risks did governance see organizing centrally led social tourism?
Did the ideological importance of social tourism anticipate necessary changes?
Which part did state subsidies play?
Was social tourism an important factor of legitimacy of particular or all countries?
How far did social tourism annul the western-style orientation of tourism on distinction of consumption and absorption of buying power?
Were there tourist businesses working like enterprises on the free market?
Which importance did travelling have in a society with bounded individual room for development?
Which options did people have travelling abroad?
In doing so, what did they desire (e.g. within the CMEA/Comecon consumption tourism, to western countries as voyages to the “promised land”)?
How did travel barriers change between socialistic countries but also towards western countries?
Why did states react differently, although all governances were feared of undermining the State’s sovereignty by journeys abroad?
How did experiences from abroad correspond to the (socialistic) everyday life of people?
How did the omnipresent (especially financial) shortage influence travelling?
Were there strategies to ease the consequential restrictions?
Did socialistic countries feature a collective – possibly successful – tourism model despite national differences?
If yes, did this model cause a handicap in the process of modernization only to be caught up in the transformation (Habermas)?
If not, can there be found classes of more open and more closed societies?
Since there was no linear and inexorable shift to a market system: Which development of tourism policy did single states take in transformation?
How did they deal with the rapid obsolescence of hitherto valid travel patterns and with the decreasing demand for travelling to eastern European countries?
In the session, the single contributions should result in a vivid exchange about so far largely unconnected research efforts. It is assumable, that a catalogue of spanning characteristics might connect the following: predominance of national tourism, especially social tourism; severe engagement of the governance, the trade unions and the companies; shortage and bad quality of tourist facilities; travel barriers in international tourism, especially with western countries; focussing of international tourism depending of natural attractiveness of countries; restricted commercial importance of tourism by controlled tourist flows between CMEA/Comecon countries.
A critical examination of tourism in socialistic states should clearly express the named problems, but also to map specific characteristics and qualities.
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