Professor Emeritus Dean MacCannell has two pet projects at the moment. His long-term research on "landscaping the unconscious" has taken on new proportions to include work on the "future of the city. In addition, he has also helped secure two-year funding for an experimental residential treatment facility for chronically homeless women and children in Yolo County. He serves as head of the Project Evaluation team for this new facility. His article, "The Curse of J. Jackson" is about to appear in Design Book Review.

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Start your review of Tourist: A New Theory of the Leisure Class Write a review Shelves: history , philosophy , psychology , social-theory You need to read this my review is mere foreplay. This book slams together so many interesting ideas that it sparkles.

Ive already recommended it to five people in my real life, and that even before Id finished reading it. I havent been in the office for the last couple of days, but I emailed someone I work with today to tell him that he needed to read this. Three of my favourite theorists but I You need to read this — my review is mere foreplay. Three of my favourite theorists — but I could just as easily have also included Barthes, Simmell, or Levi-Strauss.

What might seem a little odd, you know, given MacCannell has referenced Veblen so obviously in the title of this, is that he hardly mentions him again. Marx felt that one of the major problems with capitalism was that it is premised on the alienation of labour.

That is, Adam Smith in his Wealth of Nations discusses how the division of labour enabled truly remarkable increases in the quantity of products that could be produced, but he also pointed out that the division of labour also required people to preform very simple tasks over and over again.

That is, you became alienated from your own labour, and since Marx believed that labour was, in fact, the pathway to becoming fully human, this alienation from labour stopped us from becoming truly human. The bit to focus on here is the idea that for much of our lives, while we are working in what other authors have referred to as Bullshit Jobs yet another book I would recommend highly , is the idea that we can derived virtually zero interest or meaning from the work we do.

But we humans are, if nothing else, meaning making machines. If we are not able to gain meaning from our work, then we need to find some other aspect of our lives to get meaning from. Well, actually, from tourism or revolution two ideas he believes are opposite sides of a coin, in some senses. That tourism is the key meaning in our lives might seem a bit of a jump — but it is a stunningly interesting one.

Tourism is big, it is certainly not limited to the super rich. But what is it that we are touring to see? Often it is an almost unconscious search for meaning. Sometimes it will be an entire city — like Paris — other times it will be much less defined — like somewhere on the open road lost on Route He says that we have distinctly different personas according to whether we are in an area that could be defined as front stage or in one that is more back stage — that is, if you work in a restaurant, you will be all smiles and customer service while walking between the tables and pouring the wine, but you are likely to be quite different while you are in the kitchen or on your break.

Goffman goes a little in the opposite direct to what MacCannell does here, in that he says that one of the problems for some women is that they have to have their customer service face on both at work and at home, that is, that they never get a time when they can let their mask slip — given their husbands expect much the same persona.

MacCannell suggests that much modern tourism is based on fake authentic experiences. In the restaurant example, this would be where you can constantly see into the kitchen from the tables.

In a world where we are denied meaning from our labour, we seek meaning in our travels. My eldest daughter is just back from walking the Camino. One of the things she said when she got home was that the oddest part of the experience was how few Spaniards she saw. She was surrounded by people from across Europe and North America and many of them were seeking some sort of epiphany — and presumably, some of them even experienced that too, possibly for no additional cost.

But the Spaniards were rarely anywhere to be seen — often at work during the day and given all the walking, my daughter was sleeping early at night. The rush of most tourist experiences turns cities into virtual theme parks, but that theme park is overlayed across the city that those who live there barely notice or interact with.

Even while they are literally collocated. One of the things this book does to your brain while you are reading it is that it forces you to flick through the tourist events and locations and places you have been to yourself.

What was it that made me go to the National Gallery in London? Or to 84 Charing Cross Road? Or to Baker Street Station? Or the Globe? What a bizarre set of pilgrimages. And that is for much the same reason tourism is a complex and contradictory form of escape from our alienated world of labour. In parts you might find this quite a difficult read — but persist with it — it will reward whatever efforts you make.

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Tourist: A New Theory of the Leisure Class

He noted that organized religion has been the main source of morality and ethics for several people and now tourism he said brings more understanding, generosity, kindness, etc. He suggests that while Urry claims the gaze frees the tourist from determinism, on the other hand Dean suggested it encloses the tourist in an even greater determinism. He argues that the desire of the tourist is founded on the matrix of attractions and this configures their visits and their experience without attending to any ethical consequences. Dean MacCannell put tourists in a position from which they must respond ethically. However, tourists do not always rise to the ethical challenge that their position demands, and this may impact on human relationships in tourism. He spoke about gentrification which involves local people shifting out of their neighbourhoods to prepare these areas for re-occupation by the new urban elites and make them more presentable to tourists. Guest after tourist activity, eventually go back but those made homeless by this process suffer from a double expulsion, first from their homes.


Dean MacCannell Perspective on Ethics and Tourism.




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