The 'sex' of tourism?
Susan Frohlick (University of British Columbia)
Series E: Enchantment
Start time:
12 April, 2007 at 11:30
Session slots:

Short abstract:

This panel explores how anthropologists studying tourism have (not) addressed sexuality, and thus examines the reticence to study pleasure, desire, fantasy, sensuality, consumption, and corporeality. It aims to incite possibilities for thinking about intersections between tourism and sexualities.

Long abstract:

This panel will explore how anthropology has (and has not) addressed sexualities in the context of tourism, and in turn to critically examine the reticence of anthropologists to study a number of formations including pleasure, desire, fantasy, sensuality, consumption, and corporeality. How and why do anthropologists studying tourism and tourists shy away from sexuality as an analytical and ethnographic focus? Might anthropologists more resolutely engage issues of sexuality with the study of tourism in attempt to broaden the scope of a new embodied anthropology of tourism? Might anthropologists glean insights about global processes and formations of global tourism by looking at how sexuality and desire for intimacy in a globalized world play out in different contexts and places? The growing global phenomenon of sex tourism demands much more anthropological attention, especially with regards to the production of nuanced, culturally sensitive, and empirically grounded accounts. Yet "sex tourism" dominates the scant body of literature in anthropology on sexuality and tourism when there is such a wide range of intersections between formations of tourism and formations of sexuality to be explored! These few questions posed here are meant to incite new possibilities to think about the intersection of tourism and sexualities, and thus to suggest that sexualities is an important lens through which to comprehend contemporary tourist formations, tourism phenomena, and globalization/transnationalism. More broadly this panel seeks to examine ongoing taboos within anthropological fields to do with both sexuality and tourism as pleasure-oriented social relations and practices.