Accepted Paper:

Going New Places with Two Indispensable Guides  


Julia Harrison (Trent University)

Paper short abstract:

MacCannell's assertion that ethnography is vital to the study of tourists and Graburn's early attention to "tourist arts'' were important in the development of the anthropology of tourism, and presaged much thinking that emerged in the broader discipline at the end of the twentieth century.

Paper long abstract:

Dean MacCannell's (1973/1976) ideas of authenticity and his early suggestion that ethnography could be a vital and important methodological practice for the study of tourism and Nelson Graburn's early work on "tourist/airport arts'' (1969/1976) were important developments in the anthropology of tourism, and presaged much in the discipline at a broader level. This paper will provide an overview of some of the contributions of these concepts to anthropology, but also reflects on what these ideas offered as a critique, planned or otherwise, of anthropology in the second half of the 20th century. The generative thinking of these individuals provoked a reflection on the taken-for-granted parameters understood to be anthropology's subjects, methods, and capacity for meaningful contribution to social change. These ideas insisted we (finally) 'study up' (Nader 1969); understand (at last) that culture is synthetic at its very core; abandon the 'preciousness of our methodologies'; challenge simplistic conceptualizations of 'applied anthropology'; re-imagine 'material culture studies'; and, confront head-on the tenacity of colonialist thinking in the 21st century. I will draw on my own trajectory as how I came to be interested in the anthropological study of tourists /tourists over the past eighteen years and my early efforts in the mid-1990s to teach a course in the 'anthropology of tourism'.

Panel G42
Tourism and anthropological theory and practice (IUAES Commission on the Anthropology of Tourism)