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Ways of seeing, ways of being: spectatorship and participation through tourism
Felicia Hughes-Freeland (SOAS)
Felicia Hughes-Freeland
Series C: Identity, memory, imagination
Start time:
11 April, 2007 at 16:30 (UTC+0)
Session slots:

Short abstract:

This panel will explore vision and visuality in the tourist experience. It will consider whether models of participation and embodied vision are more appropriate than purely visual ones for explaining existing and emergent patterns of touristic activities.

Long abstract:

This panel invites analytical papers or practice-based work which reflect on vision and visuality in the tourist experience. We will explore ways of seeing in different tourist situations and contexts, and consider whether visuality is the constitutive foundation 'being a tourist'. Dance scholars have suggested that tourists have tended to respond to the physical presence of others visually, often through attending spectacular events. It is important to recognise the role of the visual in shaping impressions although it produces stereotyping, but it is also important to move beyond knowledge based on the gaze, and for tourists to engage in a more physical and participatory manner. In this way relations of exchange can be transacted between hosts and guests to transcend commodification and stereotypes, making the transaction a learning experience for all parties concerned.

This gives rise to the following questions. Is there a way of seeing particular to tourist experiences? Does seeing necessarily promote stereotypes and confirm preconceptions? Is a participatory model preferable to a visual one? Is there a way to relate seeing and participating as complementary instead of oppositional? What model of embodied seeing might be appropriate for explaining existing patters of tourism, and for thinking about emergent and future activities?