Start Encyclopedia69 Dictionary | Overview | Topics | Groups | Categories | Bookmark this page.
dictionary -  encyclopedia  
Full text search :        
   A   B   C   D   E   F   G   H   I   J   K   L   M   N   O   P   Q   R   S   T   U   V   W   X   Y   Z   #   



Tourism, Anthropology Of

  Tourism (from Greek tornos, ‘lathe’, ‘compasses’), both domestic and foreign, is a key feature of modern societies across the world. It is a leisure phenomenon that has proliferated this century due to the increasing travel, communication and tourism industry networks, but it has had its historical antecedents as far back as recorded time in the form of explorers and merchants. Also included in the records are pilgrimages, journeys to spa-towns, the activities of colonial administrators and missionaries in Asia and Africa, and those pursuing tours for the enhancement of their own education and status, for instance the ‘Grand Tours’ of the 17th and 19th centuries by the sons of aristocratic or wealthy European families, who visited the great Classical and Renaissance sites, particularly in Italy.

Tourism began to receive theoretical attention in the 1970s. One school of thought considers all tours as essentially the same, likening them to rites of passage. This view envisages travel as a separation from the normal place of residence and familiar acquaintances. This leads to a social and spatial displacement in which everyday responsibilities are either suspended or reversed, and tourists share a sense of community in their common goals and activities while on vacation. Afterwards, there is the return home when the tourist resumes his or her mundane activities, but usually at a higher social status in view of the prestige attached to travel in the modern society.

Others claim that there is a distinctiveness about modern-day tourism due to factors such as industrialization, the availability of relatively cheap and comfortable transport, the development of paid holidays, and the re-evaluation of leisure activities as worth-while pursuits.

In 1976, Dean MacCannel argued that as meaningful structures are ‘smashed’ in modern societies there is an accompanying sense of alienation. Tourism fulfils the need to search, experience and gain something authentic, a kind of nostalgia for something that is felt to be missing in the tourist\'s own society. Tourism is, therefore, a modern sociological version of a sacred journey, characterized by a search for something that is symbolically ‘sacred’, such as tourist sites, souvenirs and other tokens of travel.

More political theories suggest that tourism on a global scale is more often from the industrially-developed nations to less-developed nations. A modern form of imperialism, in which ideas of conquering space and subjecting other countries to the demands of the ‘developed’ nations continue to persist.

In 1978, Valene Smith argued against a uniform way of considering tourism and proposed different types of touristic experiences. These different experiences include cultural tourism, which has its roots in the Grand Tours, historical and ethnic tourism. There is also natural tourism (the ‘sun, sea and sex’ variety) and environmental tourism, for example, recreational and camping holidays. A more recent development is that of ‘green’ tourism, a term applied to measures and tour packages geared to preserve the environment. Similarly, Eric Cohen argued for a typology of different types of tourists. These range from tourists who continue to identify with their own society and go on holiday primarily to raise their own status back home, to those who acquire a new spiritual centre on their travels, choosing to identify with the society they have travelled to.

Further themes in the anthropology of tourism centre on how host societies accommodate tourism and the ways they interact with the tourists. The study involves considering links between sex and tourism, developmental and economic aspects of tourism, tourism\'s part in creating a cultural or national industry, and a focus on the visual factors of tourism, for instance in the decoding of brochure images, advertising and photography, and how together they may condition the ‘tourist gaze’ to concentrate only on certain aspects of tourist locations. RK

See also authenticity; development; status; space; visual anthropology; Westernization;Further reading Dean MacCannel, The Tourist: a New Theory of Leisure Class; , Valene Smith (ed.), Hosts and Guests; , John Urry, The Tourist Gaze: Leisure and Travel in Contemporary Societies.



Bookmark this page:



<< former term
next term >>
Town Planning


Other Terms : Individualism | Number Systems | Decoration
Home |  Add new article  |  Your List |  Tools |  Become an Editor |  Tell a Friend |  Links |  Awards |  Testimonials |  Press |  News |  About |
Copyright ©2009 GeoDZ. All rights reserved.  Terms of Use  |  Privacy Policy  |  Contact Us