It is generally thought that
It is generally thought that the nature of a memorial and the meaning attributed to it KU60019 mg by a tourist determines, at least in part, the behaviour that is socially appropriate (Mayo, 1988). Duncan (1995) argues however, that certain places are structured in such a way that they facilitate ritual practice, and it is through this activity that visitors can create meaning. Following Duncan (1995) and Bell (2009) this paper argues that the military cemeteries are structured for remembrance practice in the form of ritual activity, in which tourists play an important role. One of these rituals is to write in the visitor books, and this study sought to ascertain the existence of ritual, and how it may manifest in the written comments. In particular, the study aimed to analyze in detail, the way in which this specific remembrance practice may operate as a mechanism for the creation and transmission of a social memory. Tyne Cot Cemetery in Belgium was selected for this study because of its location, size, design, and its high level of visitation by tourists.
Remembrance, rehearsal and ritual An important part of maintaining memory is that it must be recalled or rehearsed in order that it is remembered. There may also be a concern to forget some events which conflict with the memories that are thought to better serve social needs. As previously noted, acknowledgement of the hardship suffered by survivors and civilian populations was avoided in remembrance of the war, reflecting the nature of memory, which results from processes that select as well as exclude certain people and events (Baddeley, 1999, Connerton, 1989, Dyer, 1994, Edensor, 2000, Winter, 2006). ‘Remembrance’ refers to acts that are specifically designed to rehearse memories of war, with public and official remembrance ceremonies typically involving formal proceedings that are conducted on certain dates and at specific times and places (Baddeley, 1999, Connerton, 1989, Dyer, 1994, Edensor, 2000, Winter, 2006). Over time, and in this way, ‘ritual’ performances are created. Tourism has been shown to be an important part of remembrance, where the presence of large numbers of tourists on battlefields helps to inform the memory (Iles, 2006, Seaton, 1999, Winter, 2009). The characteristics of ritual are inherent within remembrance: the behaviours involved are those which have been sanctioned as appropriate and in accordance with the nature of the memories and for the society and culture within which cytokinins are practiced (Bell, 2009, Connelly, 2009, Noy, 2008). Acts of remembrance tend to demonstrate the characteristics of ritual, particularly formalism, in “the use of a more limited and rigidly organized set of expressions and gestures” using a “restricted code” of linguistic preferences (Bell, 2009, p. 139). Bell (2009) argues that formality helps to signal and distinguish a special event from a mundane one, and this also creates meaning for a place. The practices tend to be invariant, having “a disciplined set of actions marked by precise repetition and physical control” (Bell, 2009, p. 150). Rituals appeal to tradition and at war commemorations there is usually a core of activities that represent military burials, including wreath laying, recitation of verse and bugle calls. Official practices of remembrance are performances involving “the deliberate, self-conscious ‘doing’ of highly symbolic actions in public” (Bell, 2009, p. 160). The place for the enactment of a ritual is often integral to meaning, and as Duncan (1995, p. 12) argues: “[A] ritual site of any kind is a place programmed for the enactment of something. It is a place designed for some kind of performance. It has this structure whether or not visitors can read its cues”. Edensor (2000, p. 323) observes that some tourists may ‘read’ “the symbolic meanings and spatial organisation of sites, although some more than others are able to “respond to its various cues” (Duncan, 1995, p.8)