2015 Conference - Call for Papers
WORLDS OF DESIRE:
THE EROTICIZATION OF TOURIST SITES
How is a tourist site imagined, produced, and experienced as an erotic site? Since
the 1980s, many researchers have linked tourism to sexuality by emphasizing sex
tourism, which they define as international travel aimed at purchasing sex services
(legally or not). Lying beyond this contested definition, the issue of tourists’
sexuality has remained largely neglected, and the eroticization of destination
countries has often been confused with the eroticization of their sex workers.
This colloquium seeks to explore tourists’ imaginaries and erotic practices as they
build, transform or engage precise sites. We are not speaking about the
essentializing of site eroticism, but about comprehending eroticization processes
(geographical, historical, cultural, economic processes, etc.), and identifying their
rationales, participants, and outcomes. To us, “eroticization” means the production
of desire objects (sexual, amorous, sensual, etc.). At stake in this colloquium is a
better understanding of the diverse forms of tourism, which is achieved through the
questioning of site eroticization. These eroticized sites include the prime
destinations of sexual tourism, but not only.
We welcome every discipline and approach, from any terrain, and about every topic.
Since sexual tourism is already a well covered subject, we will accept only the
papers that highlight the eroticization of places instead of people (unless they
belong to a site), or that question the notion of ‘sex tourism’ to better conceptualize
the eroticization of tourist sites. More generally, we prefer papers whose theoretical
challenges enlarge empirical findings.
We invite the conference participants to take one of the four following paths:
1. The erotic dimension of tourist imaginaries
Building on a colloquium on tourist imaginaries (Berkeley, 2011), we will identify
and qualify site imaginary (Venice, Tahiti, etc.) and site typology (countries, the
tropics, islands, beaches, cities, or neighborhoods like ‘red light’ districts), which
various tourists consider erotic for good or bad reasons. Means of transportation or
tourist accommodation can also be eroticized.
According to which narratives, values, and collective or individual ideals, may a site
be called erotic or erogenous? What are the components and articulations of this
imaginary? To which feature (landscape, climate, inhabitants, vegetation, etc.) or
site practice does it refer? Is it related to sexuality, eroticism, love feelings, or
sensuality? On which ideologies, discourses, and images is it based? To which extent
is it associated with instances of liberation, transgression, and sexual taboos? How
does it interact with the desires and emotions proper to tourism? What is the role of
distance? How is this imaginary produced and communicated (travel guides, tourist
marketing, media, fines arts, internet, etc.)? How does it move through space and
time? What are its individual and collective elements? To what degree does it
change with tourists’ culture, nationality, gender or sexual orientation? How is this
imaginary perceived by native inhabitants? In these sites, are tourists themselves
eroticized, and by who?
2. Tourist practices in eroticized sites
We hypothesize that tourists do in eroticized sites what they will not do elsewhere.
To what degree does site eroticization alter tourist identity and experience
(sexuality, sensuality, intimacy, feelings, emotions, etc.)? Is it signaled by specific
touristic practices (accommodation, transportation, touring, consumption)? Does it
lead to specific encounters (between tourists, between tourists and residents)?
What are the nature and significance of physical engagement? What part does the
virtual play in the latter? How does the tourist imaginary confront the physical sites
as perceived by tourists? Are the anticipation and memory of the visits of eroticized
sites endowed with an erotic dimension? What about repeat tourism?
3. The production of erotic sites by and for tourists
Site eroticization results from the activities led by stakeholders who are involved,
willingly or not, in the development of tourism. Who are they, what are their
rationales, and what are their results?
To which extent is site eroticism a resource that is included in the development of
tourism? What are the features of tourism in eroticized sites when eroticization is
identified as a tourist resource? What are the actual contributions made by tour-operators, local communities, and the domestic and international professionals of
the tourism industry? To which extent are tourists themselves implied in site
eroticizing? To which extent do the residents of eroticized sites participate in the
process? Does eroticization depend on a performance (by tourists, local actors)?
What are the events or landmarks that guide tourist eroticization? What are the
economic, social, political, moral, landscape, etc., consequences of tourism
4. Research in and on eroticized tourist sites
Eroticized tourist sites engender specific ethical, methodological and
epistemological problems that are linked to the place of desire and a possible
confusion between tourists and researchers’ identities.
How do researchers differ from tourists, and vice versa? How should fieldworkers
position themselves and engage their fields (according to gender, country of origin,
sexuality, local context, etc.)? How should they manage their own desires? Do we set
limits to personal involvement? What are they, and where do they come from? What
are the taboos and transgressions, and for who? Within this framework, how can
they conduct participant observation?
Information on the conference
Jean-François Staszak (Université de Genève)
Maria Gravari-Barbas (Université de Paris 1)
Nelson Graburn (University of California at Berkeley)
Philippe Forêt (Universität Zürich): firstname.lastname@example.org
From Wednesday, June 24 to Friday, June 26, 2015
The University of Geneva (Switzerland): www.unige.ch
The organization committee will review your proposal and inform you on Monday,
November 24, 2014 if it is accepted. Please use the proposal form.
Proposals for individual presentations, panels, and roundtables must be made before Monday, November 3, 2014.
The abstracts and presentations should be written either in English or in French. We
plan to publish the best conference papers.
Registration to the conference is mandatory, whether or not you plan to give a paper. The registration fee is Swiss Francs 100 (Euros 80 or USD 110). Please use the registration form.
We are applying for conference grants to refund the travel and accomodation expenses of many participants. Please keep your receipts!
For more information on the event, participation requirements, and conference updates, please visit our web page.
Download the full Call for Papers in English and French [here]