Toward an Ethics of 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:
Toward an Ethics of Sightseeing

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Sightseeing occurs during gaps and breaks from the serious and consequential constraints of the workaday world, and is also a moment of reflection and relief. The tourist embodies every modality of classical discourse on ethics: desire, freedom of choice, habit, repetition, character, and ultimate ideas about what is good, or what defines the good life. This chapter argues that modern day tourists are mainly unaware, and fall short of being heroic Aristotelian or Kantian figures in the field of ethics. An account of fantasy is missing from Aristotle's Ethics. The natural domain of pleasure is fantasy, which the image of the sightseeing experience in tourist marketing brochures and travel posters draws upon and enables. Tourist experience is never actually congruent with the fantasy, and is never pure or unmixed with incidental distractions.

Keywords: sightseeing; ethics; tourist; Aristotle; fantasy

Chapter.  6879 words. 

Subjects: Anthropology

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