Travel Reference
In-Depth Information
different (physical and narrative) postures
presented in fi eldwork interviews, I discuss vari-
ations of the gaze - or rather, as Veijola and
Jokinen suggest, different experiential 'sensuali-
ties and modalities' - as they can be found in
tourist settings in Central Australia.
with the wide open spaces and the harsh climate
of the desert as the desire for an authenticity -
or an authenticated experience - that to many
appears to have been lost in their sensually
restricted and densely populated urban home
environments. Not only are notions of authen-
ticity disputed (Pearce and Moscardo, 1986;
Wang, 1999; Olsen, 2002; Cohen, 2004), the
general Western turn away from the material
and towards a priority of the experiential sug-
gests that the tourist's quest is increasingly
directed towards an authenticity of experience
(MacNaghten and Urry, 1998; Steiner and Reis-
inger, 2006; Kim and Jamal, 2007). 5 Following
Wang's (2000) concept of an existential authen-
ticity, I suggest that the tourist interest is directed
less toward an authenticity of the object but
rather toward fi nding authentic modes of expe-
rience. As travel practices and experiences are
the expression and continuation of personal
narratives (Desforges, 2000; McCabe and Sto-
koe, 2004; Noy, 2004; White and White, 2004),
tourism also involves practices of self-knowing,
self-representation and self-actualization (Crang,
1999; Butcher, 2003). In this perspective, tour-
ism becomes a personalized search for an
authenticity of the self in which 'the concept [of
authenticity] becomes mobilized by different
tourists in different locations according to differ-
ent criteria' (May, 1996, p. 711). The experi-
ence of the authentic thus involves the expression
of the self in all its relations with the world
(Hetherington, 1998; Crouch, 2004; Steiner
and Reisinger, 2006). Tourists pitch their subjec-
tivities and their bodies as contact zones between
the self and the unknown, collecting, negotiat-
ing and testing knowledge as mosaic stones of
personal life-stories. Tourism is a 'knowing prac-
tice' that happens in the zones of embodied being,
feeling and imaginative processes. Knowledge
processes are combined and productive - rather
than consumptive - processes that simultane-
ously depend on the tourist's situatedness in
both metaphorical and material space.
Study Background - a Word in Favour
of the Tourist - and Methodology
The visual and embodied experience of the
tourists does not always follow the linear
narrative of entering, seeing and conquering.
The one who moves and gazes touches the
scenery in different ways, sensualities and
modalities: with passion, arrogance, violence -
(Veijola and Jokinen, 2003, p. 274)
The tourist has been described as the post-
modern successor of Benjamin's voyeuristic
fl âneur (Bauman, 1998; Urry, 2002), 3 a vaga-
bond who traverses other people's lives and
spaces but is incapable of forming responsible
human connections and meaningful relation-
ships (Bauman, 1998). The tourist thus widely
suffers from the ill reputation of both passing
consumer and neo-colonial invader: his or her
disembodied and detached 'camera eye', the
ultimate tool of visual consumption and imagi-
native appropriation, disciplines people and
places into images that can be cut out of their
meaning contexts. Stuck behind the camera
and in the hands of profi t hunting 'profession-
als' in the tourist industry (Urry, 2002), the tour-
ist is complicit in the destruction of 'authenticity',
as tourist photography, if seen as the continual
reproduction of signs, 4 enters and repeats the
endless rotations of what Urry calls the 'herme-
neutic circle' (Urry, 2002).
The questions and fi ndings of this chapter
arise from research into international tourists'
experiences of the Australian desert. I read the
Western, non-domestic traveller's fascination
3 Veijola and Jokinen (1997) discuss the fi gurations of the male gaze in the fl âneur, the tourist and other post-
modern fi gurations from a feminist perspective.
4 Contrary to this, Crouch (2002) and Larsen (2005) for example suggest the emphasis on tourist photography
as social performance and individual meaning making.
5 The experience of 'togetherness' with non-human bodies, for example has been described for tourists swim-
ming with dolphins in New Zealand by Cloke and Perkins (2005).
Search WWH ::

Custom Search