2014-2015 Colloquium Series
The Tourism Studies Working Group is pleased to announce
THE SOCIAL CONSTRUCTION OF THE IMAGE OF RURAL SPACES-DESTINATIONS:
Theoretical and Methodological Approach
María José Andrade Suárez
(Assistant Professor, Sociology, University of A Coruña, Spain)
Friday, September 5; 4-6 PM
Gifford Room, 221 Kroeber Hall
University of California, Berkeley
This conference examines the social imaginary in which tourism is based in therural space, a territory in crisis but appreciated as a tourist space once created offerconditions. Following the rescue of rural values, rural life becomes an object ofconsumption and this new representation of the rural spaces-destination is constructed,on the one hand, with the participation of stereotypes that involve a lot of historical andcultural load, with the exaltation of the nature that reproduce their images and, on theother hand, with the intervention of political and economic intentions.
The objective of this research consists in examining the importance ofidealization of rural areas in the formation of destination image. The empirical study,applied to the rural tourism in Galicia, realised with 400 self-administered surveys, hasshown that the present idealization of rural space in the collective imaginary influencessignificantly on destinations image.
My intellectual curiosity about life and passion for askingquestions is what led me to pursue my Ph.D. in sociology of tourism. My dissertation,titled “Destination image: Perceived image of rural tourism in Galicia (Spain)”,examines the concept of tourist consumer imagination and the social imaginary inwhich tourism is based in the countryside, an area in crisis but appreciated as a spacetourist set up once supply conditions.
I am an Assistant Professor of Sociology at University of A Coruña (Spain),where I teach courses on the sociology of travel and tourism, sociology of educationand introduction to sociology. My research focuses on imaginaries of place anddestination, aspects of the social production and diffusion of tourist imaginaries,aspects of reception and consumption of tourist imaginaries, the ‘tourist gaze’.... I havestudied extensively the active role of consumers in the construction of turisticimaginaries in Spain and the Camino de Santiago. Over the last years, I have alsostarted to explore the possibilities of patrimonialization of the industrial heritage as astrategy for tourism development.