This panel explores the material culture of travel and tourism through the materiality of tourists' bodies and the everyday things and materials of touristic practice. It seeks to examine not only their symbolic role but also how they are experienced and their role in digital cultures of travel.
This panel explores the material culture of travel and tourism through the materiality of tourists' bodies and the things of touristic practice. Previous attention has primarily focused on souvenirs (e.g. Graburn, 1976; Andrews, 2011, Hume, 2013) often linked to their importance as representations of place and as holiday mementos. More recent studies have engaged with affect (Cave et al 2013, Haldrup, 2017) and souvenirs as a means to forget (Marcoux, 2016). What has garnered less attention is the 'stuff that things are made of' (Ingold 2007: 1) and the everyday materialities of touristic practice, e.g. clothes, luggage, passport, books and music, the latter increasingly carried in digital form. All play a role in the practice and consumption of touristic activities, their use often having a ritualistic and transitional air, e.g. casting off one set of clothes for another, simultaneously acts as an embodiment of being on holiday and as a vehicle for forgetting life back home. Tourism objects contribute to gift-giving practices in the form of presents for friends and relatives but also in the circulation of things left-behind - reading material, food and items of play - in holiday locations. Of equal importance is how experience is materialised through engagement with natural substances e.g. sand (Baldacchino, 2010). This panel seeks to expand, without dismissing their symbolic significance, understandings of the objects and materials of tourism, how they are experienced and their role in digital cultures of travel by considering the social life of the materials and everyday objects in touristic practice.