Authenticity in Heritage Festivals in South Korea
Thesis or dissertation
University of Exeter
Reason for embargo
I intend to publish research papers.
The aim of this study is to explore the role of authenticity in heritage festivals in Korea. It compares and critically evaluates the commodification of heritage festivals in Korea by investigating the tourists’, the performers’ (ethnic community) and the policy makers’ perceptions of authenticity based on comparative case studies and detailed empirical investigations of two contrasting heritage festivals in Korea. As one of the most debated issues in heritage tourism, authenticity has been an important topic of discussion. However, current authenticity research has been dominated by the naturalistic tradition with a strong emphasis on theory building. This study addresses the gap between conceptual and detailed empirical research in the area of authenticity. Therefore, this study identified stakeholders; visitors, performers and policy makers’ perception of authenticity in two comparative cultural heritage festival. The Baudeogi Festival in Anseong was selected as the first case study as it is representative of a commodified heritage festival. The Baudeogi Festival was started under deliberate government strategy in 2001 to promote local development. The second cases study, the Danoje Festival in Gangneung, was selected as representative of ancient forms of festivals. The Danoje festival is preserved and inherited from generation to generation for centuries by the local community and was registered as world intangible heritage by UNESCO in 2005. 800 visitor surveys were conducted with 17 interviews from festival performers and policymakers in both case festivals to identify their motivations for participating and their perceptions of authenticity. Several important findings emerged. Firstly, visitors’ characteristics at both festivals showed slight differences reflecting the character of the local area. Danoje visitors were younger than Baudeogi visitors while most Baudeogi visitors were with a family group whereas Danoje visitors also had a considerable number of friend/colleague groups. Regarding motivation, Baudeogi visitors generally showed stronger motivation than Danoje visitors about heritage festival visitation. The motivation to visit heritage festival were reduced through factor analysis to four each dimensions: cultural learning; escape/family togetherness; the need for authenticity; and enjoyment/socialisation factor at Baudeogi while enjoyment/novelty authenticity/cultural learning, family togetherness escape/socialisation were divers to those attending in the Danoje Festival. Secondly, authenticity was understood differently by stakeholders. Among visitors’ motivation, existential authenticity was identified as a strongest predictor for overall satisfaction from both festivals. Otherwise, performers and policy makers largely showed objective-related authenticity providers of the festival. However, there were tactical variations: performers and policy makers displayed existential authenticity as a means of engineering visitor satisfaction. Furthermore, the commodified Baudeogi festival was commonly perceived as staged authenticity (Cohen 1979) by visitors, where performers and local government viewed it as real in a staged setting whereas central and regional government perceived it as contrived authenticity, as a staged festival. In contrast, Gangneung Danoje Festival was perceived as an authentic experience by all levels of governments and by performers as real in a real setting, while it was perceived as denial of authenticity by visitors as staged festival. This result indicated that the perception of authenticity was identified as depending on personal judgement (Cohen 1988). Finally, through linear multiple regression analysis, visitors’ motivation and perception of authenticity was identified as an influence to visitors’ post-trip behaviours (satisfaction, recommendation and revisit). For the Danoje Festival, visitors’ perception of authenticity showed effective causal relationship to visitors’ intention of recommendation. Also, visitor satisfaction more strongly affected to intention of recommend and revisit. Keywords: Local Cultural Heritage Festival, Perception of Authenticity, Commodification, Stakeholders, Motivation, Satisfaction
PhD in Management Studies