This panel considers tourists as both holiday makers and as a metasociological category. The panel seeks to address issues of constructions and expressions of identity and selfhood through touristic practices and discourse within a broader framework of mobilities and ideas pertaining to home.
The category of 'the tourist' is understood in terms of both the holidaymaker and sightseer and as a metasociological conceptualisation of 'modern-man-in-general' (MacCannell 1976: 1): a trope for the existential condition of the human subject of late modernity and postmodernity. The central structuring and motivating feature of tourism has often been posed in terms of a search for difference or as a form of pilgrimage. Although elements of this exist in the tourism endeavour there have been few attempts to situate this construction of otherness in an understanding of projects of the self or as an outward expression of identity (nation, gender, and class) as they relate to the tourists. Viewed thus, the intersection between tourism and social life more generally can be seen to illuminate the habitus and to situate the tourist within a broader framework of mobile identities, subjectivities and questions of home. Understandings of the relationship between tourism and expressions, constructions and understandings of the self are discussed through terms that include, for example, embodiment, performance and experience. The latter provides an opportunity for explorations within an existential anthropological framework in which questions of social being and selfhood are foregrounded (Jackson, 2005). Papers are welcome that explore both the concept of the tourist as a mobile entity, as well as those that critically address the issue of 'the tourist', the constructedness of the tourist experience, and of understandings and expressions of selfhood and identity as linked to forms of tourist practice and discourse.