Tourism: a visual leisure pursuit
This paper explores the ways in which tourism is located within an inner/outer dualism with respect to it being a perceptual experience. Sightseeing serves to construct social & personal worlds in the sense of literally guiding the tourist to what should be viewed & how these are then translated in ‘experiences’ of place. This kind of perceptual-cognitivism is a cultural commonplace, actively maintained in the accomplishment of a range of social practices, including the production of literature associated with tourism such as travel guides. The notion of tourist ‘sites as sights’ is therefore actively constructed and comes to define the nature of what counts as tourism as a leisure activity. Such sites might include buildings, religious sites, natural scenery & so on. Some may be listed as ‘must see’ whilst others are included in terms of a more leisurely or wider interest. This activity & social practice preserves an ideology of tourism as the journeying of psychological individuals seeking to add to their experience. It is argued this maintains an economy of tourism rooted in a psychological discourse of perception & this is related to examples of Barcelona as a tourist destination.
Moir, J. 2008. Tourism: a visual leisure pursuit. In: 1st International Sociological Association, Barcelona September 5-8 2008