Call for Papers: Authenticity and Authentication of Heritage

School of Community Resources and Development

Center for Sustainable Tourism

September 6, 2017 - ASU Community Resources and Development faculty member Deepak Chhabra is serving as guest editor for a special issue of the Journal of Heritage Tourism, on "Authenticity and Authentication of Heritage." Read the full call for papers below.


Journal of Heritage Tourism

Special Issue: Authenticity and Authentication of Heritage

Guest Editor: Deepak Chhabra, PhD, Arizona State University

The contentious concept of authenticity continues to be valorized in heritage tourism (Bryce, Murdy & Alexander 2017; Cohen 2007; Timothy 2011). Most authenticity discussions have anchored on three dominant ideologies (objective, existentialist and constructivist) with mixed efforts to bridge them in a meaningful manner (Dueholm & Smed 2014; Rickly-Boyd 2011; Wang 1999). Proponents of the objective dimension continue to fossilize/legitimize tangible and intangible heritage and offer a moral map. For many scholars, objective authenticity remains a common reference point especially in the context of heritage tourism (Chhabra 2010, 2012; Peterson 2005). Worthy of note is also the constructivist (commodified) notion popularly embraced by the marketing agents. Brand authenticity is considered the new technique to attract seekers of ‘alternative hedonism.’ Others focus on the over-arching existentialist dimension which is anchored in the self (in the context of social, self-identity, and self-actualization) (Wang 1999). More recent work on existentialist authenticity underpins the relevance of alienation in authenticity (Rickly-Boyd 2013). Furthering this probe from a technological perspective, Tribe and Mkono (2017) use the context of super-connectivity (information and communications technology (ICT)). They inquire into the manner in which super-connectivity shapes authentic experiences. The authors refer to e-lienation to examine the degree to which ICT helps or resists an alienated experience or setting.

Furthermore, recent studies have moved beyond the conceptual dissection of authenticity to examine the dynamic process of authentication. Cohen and Cohen (2012) refer to authentication as a social process through which authenticity is confirmed. Zhu contends that “authentication has become a governance strategy to legitimize inclusion and exclusion and to allocate economic, moral and aesthetics values” (2014, p. 12). Aligned to this, Xie (2011) examines authentication in the context of power relations and actors involved in legitimizing authenticity.

Multiple insights are needed to critically deconstruct and construct these areas of exploration to enrich understanding of authenticity and its authentication in heritage tourism. This special issue seeks to broaden the discursive parameters of authenticity and identify power mechanisms that shape the manner in which authenticity is produced, marketed and consumed. This is an attempt to share contemporary views on how the contemporary notions of authenticity are derived, interpreted, applied, processed and legitimized in local and global contexts. It is also timely to critically engage in relevance with ontological alienation and e-lineation perspectives to further advance the complex notion of authenticity and its authentication in the knowledge era. Given the scholarly progress in this field, it is surprising that academic dialogue on authentication of heritage and impact of digital toxicity on different dimensions/experiences of authenticity is still meager.

Almost three decades ago, while summarizing an annual meeting of the American Society for Applied Anthropologists, titled ‘Social Science for the next generation’ Shackley posed a question: are we, in heritage tourism, displaying a frozen ethnographic moment or a process that is undergoing continual cultural evolution? (1994, p. 396). So, is authenticity a never ending story (McAuley & Pervan 2014) or is it a story of floating fixity (Latham 2016)? Who can tell the story and who decides what elements to fossilize? Is digital detoxification necessary to sustain and experience authenticity? Questions like these have emerged in recent literature and I invite conceptual, empirical and theoretical explorations to identify and engage with such inquiries. The call for discussion is open to multifaceted and multidisciplinary research initiatives, and the purpose is to present both case study-specific and theoretical research papers. The special issue invites papers that attempt to critically address the key emerging areas related with authenticity including (but not limited to) the following themes:

¨ Emerging trends in heritage authenticity

¨ Authenticity as a marketing brand and brand authenticity in heritage tourism

¨ Authenticity, alienation, and e-lineation

¨ Authenticity, ICT, and digital reproduction

¨ Impact of digital toxicity (addictive Internet use) on interpersonal and intrapersonal authenticity

¨ Authenticity as a moving target and a never ending story

¨ Authenticity, quality of life, and wellbeing

¨ Authenticity and authentication of the self

¨ Authenticity and alternative hedonism

¨ Authenticity and ethical consumption

¨ Authentication, legitimacy, and power relations

¨ Authenticity and authentication for sustainable planning and development of heritage tourism

Due Dates:

Abstracts (up to 500 words): December 15, 2017

Notification to submit full paper: January 15, 2018

First drafts: June 30, 2018; Final drafts: October 31, 2018

Publication: 2019

All submissions will be subject to the normal Journal of Heritage Tourism double-blind reviewing process. For process, style guidelines, templates etc., please see:

For more information, and or to submit an abstract, please contact:

Deepak Chhabra, PhD                                                                                           

Associate Professor & Senior Sustainability Scientist 

 School of Community Resources and Development

411 North Central Avenue, Suite 550

Arizona State University, Phoenix, USA; 1+ (602) 496-0172


Bryce, D., Murdy, S. & Alexander, M. (2017). Diaspora, authenticity and the imagined past. Annals of Tourism Research, 66, 49-60.

Chhabra, D. (2010). Sustainable Marketing of Cultural and Heritage Tourism. Abington, Oxon (UK): Routledge.

Chhabra, D. (2012). Authenticity of the objectively authentic. Annals of Tourism Research, 39(1), 499-502.

Cohen, E. (2007). ‘Authenticity’ in Tourism Studies: Aprés la Lutte. Tourism Recreation Research, 32(2), 75-82.

Cohen, E., & Cohen, S. A. (2012). Authentication: Hot and cool. Annals of Tourism Research, 39(3), 1295-1314.

Dueholm, J., & Smed, K. M. (2014). Heritage authenticities–a case study of authenticity perceptions at a Danish heritage site. Journal of Heritage Tourism, 9(4), 285-298.

Latham, K. F. (2016). The Curious Case of Floating Fixity (and its Relationship to Authenticity). Proceedings from the Document Academy, 3(2), 2.

McAuley & Pervan (2014). Celtic Marketing: Assessing the authenticity of a never ending story. Journal of Consumer Behavior, 13, 81-87.

Peterson, R. (2005). In Search of Authenticity. Journal of Management Studies, 42(5), 1083-1098.

Rickly-Boyd, J. M. (2012). ‘Through the magic of authentic reproduction’: tourists’ perceptions of authenticity in a pioneer village. Journal of Heritage Tourism, 7(2), 127-144.

Rickly-Boyd, J. M. (2013). Alienation: authenticity's forgotten cousin. Annals of Tourism Research, 40(1), 412-415.

Shackley, M. (1994). When is the past? Authenticity and the commoditization of heritage. Tourism Management, 15(5), 396-397.

Timothy, D. J. (2011). Cultural heritage and tourism: An introduction (Vol. 4). Channel View Publications.

Tribe, J. & Mkono, M. (2017). Not such smart tourism? The concept of e-lienation. Annals of Tourism Research, 66, 105-115.

Wang, N. (1999). Rethinking authenticity in tourism experience. Annals of tourism research, 26(2), 349-370.

Xie, P. (2011). Authenticating ethnic tourism. Bristol: Channel View Publications.

Zhu, Y. (2015). Cultural effects of authenticity: contested heritage practices in China. International Journal of Heritage Studies, 21(6), 594-608.