E4
The cultural politics of touristic fantasies: addressing the 'behind-the-scene' scene

Convenors:
Federica Ferraris (Sussex University)
Paolo S. H. Favero (University of Antwerp)
Chair:
Federica Ferraris and Paolo Favero
Stream:
Series E: Enchantment
Location:
GCG08
Start time:
11 April, 2007 at 16:30
Session slots:
1

Short abstract:

Addressing tourism as a key research arena for understanding the contemporary world, the panel tackles the cultural politics surrounding the fantasies about the world re-produced by tourism and considers the political and ideological dimensions underlying the spectacularizing practices of tourism.

Long abstract:

This panel addresses tourism as a metaphor and a key research arena for understanding contemporary late-capitalist societies. Tourists, tourism and 'the touristic', we suggest, playfully produce fantasies about the world and its diversity. Such fantasies, accentuating the particular and the exceptional are tightly connected to wider industries of representation promoted by media, film, NGOs, politics, etc. Playing with the notion of bringing cultures and people into dialogue, tourism simultaneously also draws borders across the world (an issue whose centrality is evident in the post 9\11 world-order). Hence, reading it as a particular way of seeing the world may constitute an opportunity to understand the dynamics though which knowledge about the world is contemporarily produced. We aim at discussing how the relentless touristic spectacularizations of everyday life, cultural diversity and natural beauty build upon a strategic play of hide and reveal. Post-colonial, racial, gender and class gaps are 'spectacularly' hidden behind the beautifying touristic enterprise. Playfully (and seemingly innocently), tourism re-produces notions loaded with strong political and ideological undertones. The panel does not focus on particular geographical areas. Rather it invites contributions addressing the connections between tourism and cultural politics, and between tourism and wider industries of representation. What view of the world does tourism tend to reproduce? What is the impact of tourist marketing modalities and touristic practices in such reproduction? To what extent can we approach tourism as a political and ideological field? What knowledge about the contemporary world do we gain by conducting research on tourism?