Unravelling imaginative heritage.

Understanding a city through its crime fiction





Crime fiction, heritage imagination, media tourism, place-narratives


This paper focuses on media tourism - people travelling to places associated with film, TV-series, games or other forms of popular culture. In order to investigate the roles and impacts of the multiple stakeholders that are involved in this booming phenomenon, the concept ‘imaginative heritage’ is introduced. In particular, we refer to the multitude of popular, fictional narratives that have been projected upon or appropriated by specific sites throughout time and that together make up an important part of local place identity. As is argued here, imaginative heritage results from an active involvement of not only locals, fans and tourists, but also the media industries, the tourism industries and the local governments. By applying this concept to cases of crime fiction tourism and addressing the power configurations behind these heritage and tourism practices, this paper aims to contribute to a more holistic understanding of media tourism and, more in particular, the reciprocal nature of the relation between popular crime fiction, heritage and place.


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How to Cite

Reijnders, S., & van Es, N. (2023). Unravelling imaginative heritage.: Understanding a city through its crime fiction. Tourism and Heritage Journal, 4, 92–110. https://doi.org/10.1344/THJ.2022.4.6