'What a Wonderful World!' : on the 'touristic ways of seeing', the knowledge and the politics of the 'culture industries of otherness''What a Wonderful World!' : on the 'touristic ways of seeing', the knowledge and the politics of the 'culture industries of otherness'
Faculty of Social Sciences. Communication Sciences
Tourist studies. -
7(2007), p. 51-81
Focusing on three ethnographic events (an Italian charter tour to Pakistan, a shopping event in a village replica in New Delhi and a festival of culture and travel in Italy) this article looks into the contemporary culture industries of otherness that is, those commercial events promoting knowledge about the world in its diversity. Criss-crossing visual anthropology, tourism anthropology and scholarly work on the politics of multi-culturalism the article will introduce the notion of the touristic ways of seeing. As modalities for contemplating cultural difference in the contemporary globalized habitats of the world such ways of seeing are connected to wider representational practices linked to the consumption of films, television and advertisement. Through their form, they present us a world knowable by seeing and enjoying it. Yet, as I will discuss at the end of the article, this knowledge hides questions of production, power and politics and thus appears counterproductive to the creation of dialogue across cultural borders.