The Tourist in the Urban Symbolic

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:
The Tourist in the Urban Symbolic

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The Tourist City provides one take on tourism and urban symbolism. The proposed concept of the urban symbolic is close to Michel de Certeau's concept of “the city as a suspended symbolic order.” The tension in the urban symbolic is between tourist bubbles and strangers' paths. The tourist bubble is only the latest foregone conclusion of capital: the tourist as consumer and the urban symbolic as the bubble, halo, aura, or wrapping that surrounds the commodity. The ego reinforcement, the attraction that provides instruction about desire and the city as other, creates new foundations for existence. The two cultural strategies for the city emanate from two warring moieties of capitalism: desire to have and desire to create. The war between these two desires is capitalism's culture of symbolic contradiction, which will have to play itself out alongside its socioeconomic contradictions.

Keywords: urban symbolism; tourism; Tourist City; tourist bubbles; stranger's paths; desire; capitalism

Chapter.  10622 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Anthropology

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