‘You MUST go Trek There’: The Persuasive Genre of Narration among Israeli Backpackers.
Narrative Inquiry, 12(2): 261-290.

Chaim Noy

This research explores narratives of personal experience narrated by young Israeli travelers upon returning to their homeland from an extended backpacking journey. By reflecting on the interaction that took place during the interview conversations between the backpackers and the researcher, the means by which the stories come to implicate and act upon their audience/listener are examined. The stories, describing experiences and adventures, are conceptualized as ‘persuasive’ stories, and are created and reiterated within an interpersonal and dialogical social space. They are genred as descriptions and prescriptions at the same time – they invite and impel their audience to join the journey, and they constitute and structure the experience shared by the narrative community of Israeli backpackers. While overtly the stories are descriptive, the value the tellers ascribe to the events charges the stories with prescriptive quality. Thus, this research sheds additional light on the view of narratives as an inherent dialogical and interactive form of human communication. Additionally, the article examines the ways in which a specific cultural context plays a role in the persuasive capacity of Israeli backpackers’ narratives.

Keywords: Persuasion; Intersubjective; Tourism; Backpacking; Israeli society.

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