A Matter of Perspective: A Discursive Analysis of the Perceptions of Three Stakeholders of the Mutianyu Great Wall

Jieyun Feng*, Luyao Dai, Jinlin Jiang, Rining Wei

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Citations (Scopus)


This study aims to investigate the different and competing perspectives of stakeholders of cultural heritage sites by examining the Mutianyu Great Wall in China. Literature review: Most studies focus on investigating the tourism destination image from the perspective of only one stakeholder, and only a small amount of research has attempted to integrate the perspectives of competing stakeholders into a single study. Research questions: 1. How did the business operator perceive the Mutianyu Great Wall? 2. How did UNESCO perceive the Mutianyu Great Wall? 3. How did international tourists on TripAdvisor perceive the Mutianyu Great Wall? 4. What are the dynamics among the three stakeholders' perceptions? 5. In those dynamics, what are the contested issues in the Great Wall's heritage preservation and tourism development? Methodology: The study adopts a discursive approach to social constructivism in examining the images of the site as perceived by the three important stakeholders. It incorporates qualitative thematic and multimodal discourse analysis with quantitative high-frequency word analysis, supplemented by an interview with the heritage site administrator and a field trip. Results: The business operator perceived the Mutianyu Great Wall as a scenic spot for modern rural tourism, UNESCO emphasized its historical and cultural significance, and international tourists perceived it as a hybrid image. Conclusions: The study identified a preservation-growth continuum and showed different and even competing perspectives. It also discussed two contested issues in the field. The study contributes to heritage studies by developing an interdisciplinary discursive framework and suggests practical implications to heritage management and professional communication.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)22-47
Number of pages26
JournalIEEE Transactions on Professional Communication
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2018


  • Cultural heritage site
  • discourse analysis
  • social constructivism
  • stakeholder


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