Why Sightseeing?

Dean MacCannell

in The Ethics of Sightseeing

Published by University of California Press

Published in print May 2011 | ISBN: 9780520257825
Published online May 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780520948655 | DOI:
Why Sightseeing?

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Sightseeing involves the whole person, mind and body, being and existence. This chapter notes that sightseeing is embedded in every other thing tourists do but not vice versa. Reexamining Claude Lévi-Strauss' multivolume masterwork on Native American myths shows an omnipresence of the themes of travel and sightseeing. There are stories of trips initiated for practical reasons: hunting, or to retrieve lost objects. Tourists whose lives were changed completely by their sightseeing are discussed. The tourists observed rain forest, the plaque, the fish, the buttress, the Hebrew lesson, the White House, and the horses at Pech Merle. These are all stoically indifferent to the transformations of being and existence taking place in their presence. If nothing happens in the mind or heart of a tourist, the attraction takes no notice. Attractions exist because of their influence on collective life as points of personal and cultural renewal held in common.

Keywords: sightseeing; Native American myths; tourists; travel; White House; Pech Merle; Hebrew lesson

Chapter.  2184 words. 

Subjects: Anthropology

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