Tourism and culture

Authored by: Kevin Fox Gotham

Routledge Handbook of Cultural Sociology

Print publication date:  October  2018
Online publication date:  November  2018

Print ISBN: 9781138288621
eBook ISBN: 9781315267784
Adobe ISBN:


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This chapter examines the interconnections among tourism and culture by engaging several areas of scholarship, including the relationship between tourism and ethnicity/race, the rise of niche tourism, and constructions of authenticity in tourism. Culture and tourism increasing share similar themes, symbols, discourses, and interpretive systems. The chapter highlights the different processes by which tourism affects culture and how local culture can drive the development of tourism in a particular place. Discussion focuses on the ways in which tourism and culture can transform each other as different actors and organized interests compete over access to and control over political and economic resources. The chapter distinguishes between a “culture of tourism” that is premised on showcasing local culture to attract tourists, and “touristic culture” which refers to blurring the boundaries between tourism and other major institutions and cultural practices. Specifically, touristic culture is a process by which tourist modes of staging, visualization, and experience increasingly frame meanings and assertions of local culture, identity, authenticity, and collective memory.

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