Skip to Main Content
Have library access? Log in through your library

Tourism: Between Place and Performance

Simon Coleman
Mike Crang
Copyright Date: 2008
Edition: 1
Published by: Berghahn Books
Pages: 260
  • Cite this Item
  • Book Info
    Book Description:

    Many accounts of tourism have adopted an almost paradigmatic visual model of the gaze. This collection presents an expanded notion of spectatorship with a more dynamic sense of embodied and performed engagement with places. The approach resonates with ideas in anthropology, sociology, and geography on performance, invented traditions, constructed places and traveling cultures. Contributions highlight the often contradictory, contested and paradoxical constructions of landscape and community involved both in tourist attractions and among tourists themselves. The collection examines many different practices, ranging from the energetic pursuit of adventure holidays to the reading of holiday brochures. It illustrates different techniques of seeing the landscape and a variety of ways of creating and performing the local. Chapters thus demonstrate the mutual entanglement of practices, images, conventions, and creativity. They chart these global flows of people, texts, images, and artefacts. Case studies are drawn from diverse types of tourism and destination focused around North America, Europe, and Australasia.

    eISBN: 978-0-85745-713-4
    Subjects: Sociology, Anthropology

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-vi)
  3. List of Illustrations
    (pp. vii-vii)
  4. List of Tables
    (pp. vii-vii)
  5. Acknowledgements
    (pp. viii-viii)
  6. List of Contributors
    (pp. viii-viii)
  7. Preface
    (pp. ix-x)
    Jeremy Boissevain
  8. Grounded Tourists, Travelling Theory
    (pp. 1-18)
    Simon Coleman and Mike Crang

    The authors of this collection examine how tourism shapes particular sites and how activities become scripted in certain locations. Our argument is that several theoretical stories about tourism have relied upon a number of assumptions about places and tourist practices which need to be recast. We suggest that, instead of seeing places as relatively fixed entities, to be juxtaposed in analytical terms with more dynamic flows of tourists, images and cultures, we need to see them as fluid and created through performance. By analysing a number of Western tourist locales in relation to the varied, often contested performances of ‘visitors’...

  9. The Place of Nature

    • The Accelerated Sublime: Thrill-Seeking Adventure Heroes in the Commodified Landscape
      (pp. 21-37)
      Claudia Bell and John Lyall

      Natural landscape is the overwhelming imagery of many tourist destinations: towering snow-capped mountain peaks, softly waving palm trees and turquoise lagoons, dark rugged forests reflected in mirror lakes. Meanwhile, the study of landscape has gone through two major shifts this century. First, and essentially modernist, the history of landscape as basically the history of landscape photography, following the nineteenth-century tradition of landscape painting. Second, in postmodernist terms, landscape has been decentralised in favour of the semiotic and hermeneutic approaches that treat landscape as an allegory of psychological and ideological themes, which may be decoded as a body of determinate signs....

    • Making The Scene: The Poetics and Performances of Displacement at the Grand Canyon
      (pp. 38-53)
      Mark Neumann

      Along the trail on the Grand Canyon’s South Rim, I have been watching and listening to the tourists confront the world famous scenic wonder. This afternoon, not far from the national park visitor centre, I listen to Joe and Kaye, a semi-retired couple from Massachusetts, tell me about their vacation. They are pulling a camping trailer around the United States, and seeing the American West for the first time in their lives. Along the way, they have purchased a video travelogue of Yellowstone and Yosemite national parks, and they are considering buying a video about the Grand Canyon as well....

    • The Scottish Highlands as Spectacle
      (pp. 54-72)
      Fraser MacDonald

      Since the early explorations of Scotland in the late eighteenth century, debates over tourism and tourist representation have been prominent in the cultural politics of the Scottish Highlands. From Samuel Johnson’s search for the ‘noble savage’ in 1773 to more contemporary tourist encounters via theme parks and multimedia, Highland places have been transformed in accordance with the tourist imagination and the logic of capitalism. Although tourism is increasingly dominant in strategic economic plans for the region, local dissent is evident in the social practices of crofting, the prevailing mode of agricultural life. Curiously, much of this local dissent is manifestly...

  10. Back to the City

    • Acting Local: Two Performances In Northern Italy
      (pp. 75-91)
      Paola Filippucci

      Gina and Luisa live in Bassano, a small town in North-East Italy.¹ Both, in recent years, have periodically gone ‘out in the square’ wearing unusual clothes, acting in unusual ways in front of audiences. Gina has done so as a member of a folklore group called ‘ Arti per Via’ (ApV) (‘Trades on the Road’), performing traditional street-trades for audiences in Bassano and elsewhere. Gina has also, like Luisa, taken part in Carnevale (Carnival), a yearly festival when people go out wearing unusual costumes and masks and, ideally, behave outrageously.

      In Bassano, both the ApV and Carnevale are presented as...

    • ‘Cose Paesane’: Tourist Performances and Contested Localities in the Italian Alps
      (pp. 92-107)
      Keith Ridler

      Some ten years ago, in the Val Rendena in the Western Dolomites in Northern Italy, I was invited to film aFerragóstocelebration. The termFerragóstorefers both to Assumption Day itself and also, by extension, to the August holidays period. It is observed in various forms as a religious and/or secular holiday throughout Mediterranean Europe.The festivity takes place at a time when mass-tourism, both domestic and international, is at its peak. In rural communities, it also coincides with the most intensive period of agricultural work.

      In the Val Rendena, before mass-tourism arrived, the day ofFerragóstoprovided a welcome...

    • Go Athens: A Journey to the Centre of the City
      (pp. 108-127)
      Penny Travlou

      For many theorists, contemporary tourists are modern pilgrims who carry guidebooks as devotional texts and follow their advice as to what they should and should not see (Horne 1984; Urry 1990). For some others, however, the guidebook is not a Bible to follow but an ideology of travel that is not actually that of mere tourists. It is a meaningless necessity – some sort of a placebo – imposed on them as part of tourist culture (Elissalde 1986; Cazes 1989; Urbain 1991). The tourists buy the guidebook to do exactly what other tourists do and feel secure that they have with them...

    • Adventure Tourists and Locals in a Global City: Resisting Tourist Performances in London’s ‘East End’
      (pp. 128-140)
      John Eade

      This chapter considers three related questions: What role do guidebooks and guides play in the exploration of local space by tourists as they move from tourist centres into the periphery? In what ways do local people resist the performances provided for the tourists by their guides and local businesses? What are the specific conditions shaping the interaction of tourists and locals in a global city? Before examining these questions in detail I shall explain my approach towards the general issues contained within them.

      Contemporary debates concerning globalisation have placed so much emphasis upon the power wielded by transnational corporations and...

  11. Distanciated Places

    • Welcome to Flintstones-Land: Contesting Place and Identity in Goreme, Central Turkey
      (pp. 143-159)
      Hazel Tucker

      In Goreme village at the heart of the Cappadocia region in Central Turkey, a group of five local men were planning to open a new office called ‘Bedrock Travel Agency’. When asked why they would give this name to the new business, one of the men answered ‘ Why not, Goreme is Bedrock, isn’t it!’.¹ Many other tourism businesses in the village also follow this theme; there is the Flintstones Cave Bar, Flintstones Motel-Pansiyon,² Rock ValleyPansiyon, and so on. The businesses and their professionally crafted sign boards displaying these names incite a particular view of Goreme among tourists. As...

    • Performing Place: A Hyperbolic Drugstore in Wall, South Dakota
      (pp. 160-175)
      Eve Meltzer

      In the southwest region of the state of South Dakota, in the eastern part of Pennington County, at 43 degrees, 59 minutes and 63 seconds north latitude and 102 degrees, 14 minutes and 55 seconds west longitude, to be exact, waits the town of Wall (Fig.3). The heart of Wall (and perhaps its belly, or indeed any other anatomical metaphor we could think up) is its drugstore, “Wall Drug,” the only pharmacy within a 5000-square-mile area. In what follows I will pursue the case of this little cow-town with a population of about 800 residents, and its drugstore, which opened...

    • Farming, Dreaming, and Playing in Iowa: Japanese Mythopoetics and Agrarian Utopia
      (pp. 176-190)
      Charles Fruehling Springwood

      In 1993, Hori Haruyoshi, a forty-three year-old Japanese freelance copywriter living in Hiroshima, decided to build his very own baseball field. The field he wanted to build would be a replica of a baseball field in Dyersville, Iowa. Dyersville is where Hollywood’s 1989Field of Dreamswas made, a film about an Iowa farmer, Kinsella, who is guided by mysterious voices to destroy his cornfield and replace it with a baseball field. He obeys this voice, and as a result, a surreal world of magical events unfolds, and ultimately, Kinsella’s deceased father is brought back to life. The real-life owners...

  12. Bringing it all Back Home

    • The Power of Metaphors in Tourism Theory
      (pp. 193-206)
      David Chaney

      In their introduction to a recently published collection of papers on social theories of travel and tourism (Rojek and Urry 1997), the editors provocatively attempt to capture tourist studies within the broader project of cultural studies. The tourist industry, in the number of people it employs, in the scale of economic transactions involved, and in the range of social, cultural and environmental impacts, has become a dominant feature of the modern environment and is therefore a topic relevant to all the social sciences. Rojek and Urry, however, seek to initiate a ‘cultural turn’² in tourist studies and believe their book...

    • Surrounded by Place: Embodied Encounters
      (pp. 207-218)
      David Crouch

      In this chapter I seek to articulate tourism as an encounter with space and as something that is made through space. Tourism is a practice and is made in the process. In making these claims I challenge familiar representations of tourism as product, destination, consumption. A central feature in making an interpretation of tourism as encounter is the importance of mediation. In encountering place in tourism our bodies are important mediators of what happens and of what we comprehend to be ‘there’. I present tourism as mediated by our bodies in an animation of space that combines feeling, imagination and...

  13. References
    (pp. 219-236)
  14. Index
    (pp. 237-246)