CFP: Special Issue of The Journal of Popular Culture



Guest Editors      

  • Lincoln Geraghty, University of Portsmouth, UK
  • Vassilios Ziakas, Plymouth Marjon University, UK
  • Christine Lundberg, University of Surrey, UK


Popular culture tourism encompasses destinations featured in popular culture expressions (e.g. film, television, literature, music, fashion, sports) and the people who travel to these places because of their association to the expression. Traditionally, popular culture tourism research has focused on either one of these perspectives, exploring topics like commoditization, staged performances and authenticity; these focus on the extent to which a tourism experience is organized for visitors and to what degree it can be regarded as “genuine”. Popular culture tourism destinations often experience a strong marketing push to cultivate niche products and experiences in the wake of being featured in a popular culture medium. Thus, unique destination marketing opportunities follow this kind of tourism, such as the shaping of destination images and brands for example through the re-imagination of historical pasts and fabrication of a modern heritage.The tourists who visit these destinations exhibit somewhat more complex motivations than traditional tourists’ travel motives. Some have a passionate interest (i.e. fans) in a particular popular culture phenomenon, whilst for others the popular culture association of the place attracts them to visit for of added value. For fans, the drama, entertainment, social interaction as well as community connections are central to the experience.

Perhaps the most frequent criticism aimed at popular culture tourism is whether it is sustainable in the long term. To what extent should destinations dare to invest in a tourist attraction that is based on something as transient as a popular culture phenomenon? Previous studies on such phenomena have shown that direct effects, in the form of increased travel flows to a destination that result from filming in the region, can be expected to decline after four years. However, these studies do not include the sometimes extensive, indirect effects of the same phenomenon. The fact that a destination has been portrayed throughdifferent forms of popular culture, such as films, books or music, canconstruct the consumer’s ‘mental map’ before travelling;thus, in turn, making the destination more appealing to tourists.Nevertheless, one of the biggest challenges facing the tourism industry when investing in popular culture is building a cooperative relationship with the creative industries, which follow different business logics. One example that best illustrates this is thedissemination of information. The tourism industry is built upon the dissemination of information about destinations and attractions to large target markets, while the film industry’s logic is built upon limiting the spread of information about filming locations during pre-production and shooting. Additionally, potential tourist attractions such as former filming sites are often private or public areas with limited opportunities for adaptation for tourism once production is over. A vital element of cooperation between the industries is negotiating the use of copyrighted materials for use by the tourism industry in future advertising opportunities. Therefore this special issue welcomes papers focusing on Tourism and Popular Culture – The Intersection between Two Industries.

The importance of popular culture tourists being able to visit places that are linked to their interestsand laden with symbolic meanings is well documented. This form of travel has been described as a modern form of pilgrimage in which the tourist walks in his/her favourite character’s footsteps, sees what the character saw, does what the character did and feels what the character felt at that specific place. The environments, or servicescapes, that are visited by popular culture tourists may either be adapted to the visitors (for example, with signs, themed products and souvenirs) or non-adapted (places that are completely devoid of clues to its popular culture usage). Storytelling is a significant tool in these experiences. It can take the form of different themed products through which a story is told, but also via personal audio technology and tourist guides, who use their own stories to create authentic experiences. The major challenge as regards popular culture sites is how to use them while maintaining them for tourism purposes. It is also about finding a balance between exploiting a place for the purposes of popular culture tourism and retaining the place’s authenticity, such as its local history and identity. Therefore this special issue welcomes papers focusing on Places, Storytelling and Authenticity.

Fan tourists comprise a specific form of tourism and a target group that builds on people’s deep involvement with various films, television shows, books, sport or music. For many fans, this involvement means that it permeates several aspects of their lives, such as fashion, personal relationships, blogging, education and travel. Besides this, it is often an involvement that remains for a long time, making them a type of loyal customer who is happy to spread their interest to others. These are important qualities for the development of tourism. Tourism is driven by people’s needs and wishes to move themselves from a place in everyday life to somewhere more desirable, more fantastical. They are attracted by the different aspects of a destination that offer the potential to fulfil wishes and bring them closer to their favourite pop culture pastimes. However, fans are also driven by psychological and sociocultural motives that are more emotionally charged, seeking aesthetic pleasure, drama, interaction with icons and symbols, and fellowship in a group which shares, routines, rituals and a common fan language. Individual fans form close links between themselvesand the phenomenon in which they are interested, but social identity in relation to other fans is also important. Groups of fans create shared meanings for each other; media networks, both online and offline, make it possible for them to exchange experiences and stories before, during and after visiting tourist spaces. Therefore, this special issue welcomes papers focusing on Fans, Fellowship and the Media.

The purpose of the special issue is twofold. First, it aims to explorefrom a multi-disciplinary perspective the emergent intersections between popular culture, fandom and tourism as a debatable consequence of the increasing processes of mediatisation and globalization. Second, the special issue aims toinvestigatehow the manifestation ofmeanings induced by popular culture andcommunal fan identification in search for authenticity influence the place-making practices of destinations.

Authors are invited to submit manuscripts relevant, but not limited, to the above themes:

  • History of the intersection between popular culture and tourism
  • Economic and socio-cultural theory underpinning the development of the popular culture tourism phenomenon
  • Globalization, mediatization and the transformation of popular culture and tourism
  • Popular culture as a means of tourism development: issues, opportunities, and controversies
  • Heritage, popular culture tourism and authenticity
  • Popular culture production and consumption patterns inducing tourism
  • Fandom, neo-tribalism and co-creation in popular culture tourism
  • Integrated destination place-making, management and marketing for popular culture tourism
  • Non-representation theory, space, place and popular culture tourism
  • Popular culture tourism and sustainable development


The call welcomes and encourages theoretical or empirical papers taking an interdisciplinary perspective from academics and practitioners who form part of the wider research community, where interests align with the themes identified above. For all proposals, authors should submit an abstract (250 - 300 words) to the guest editors*, by the date indicated in the timeline below.


  • Saturday 1 November 2018: Submission of abstracts (to guest editors)
  • Monday 19 November 2018: Response to abstracts and acceptance
  • March/April 2019: Submission of full papers to ScholarOne Manuscripts
  • April/June 2019: Anonymous Peer Review via TJPC (4-8 weeks)
  • June/July 2019: Initial decisions / reviews sent back to authors
  • Late August/Early September 2019: Submission of final papers to ScholarOne Manuscripts
  • Mid-September/Early October 2019: Copyediting
  • Friday 18 October 2019: Submit papers for typesetting

Length of the papers

It is anticipated that papers included in this special issue will be between 5,000 and 7,500 words. Manuscripts exceeding this length will be critically reviewed and if appropriate can be extended.

Submission guidelines

Manuscripts will undergo blind peer review. Please indicate in the title page that your manuscript is a candidate for the special issue. Submissions  to  The Journal of Popular Culture  are  made  using  Scholar One  Manuscripts  -  the journal  online  submission  and  peer  review  system.  Registration and access is available at:

Papers must be formatted in strict accordance with The Journal of Popular Culture style guidelines. To  view  the  complete  instructions  for  authors,  please  go  to:

*Editors’ Contact Information (Please copy in and submit abstracts to all three editors):


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