2020-2021 Colloquium Series
The Tourism Studies Working Group is pleased to present
SEEING THE WORLD AND FINDING YOURSELF:
Shifting Notions in Chinese Travel
Gregory Fayard, Ph.D. Candidate
Department of Sociology, UC Berkeley
Friday, December 4, 4PM-6PM
Zoom Link [click here to enter the webinar]
Despite the importance of Chinese tourism to the world economy, much research on the attitudes and behaviors Chinese tourists focuses on their differences from so-called Western tourists. These views-that Chinese tourists seek modernity, are less concerned with authenticity, and prefer checking off as many popular sites as possible-are a bit one-sided and do not adequately capture trends in contemporary Chinese tourism. Using a dataset of online travelogues (youji) for domestic and international travel of Chinese nationals, I describe some of the key features of Chinese tourism. These data show that there is abiding concern with contacting peoples and landscapes in their original, non-modernized form (i.e. not shaped for tourists), which challenges views that Chinese tourists have distinct ontologies of travel. Furthermore, while many travelers admit the necessity of witnessing and photographing certain attractions, there is a pressing sense of trying to understand the customs and lifeways of the locals, getting close to everyday life. However, some aspects of Chinese outgoing travel are worth noting for their particularity, including how outgoing travel builds patriotic sentiment through connection with Chinese investment and infrastructure, how narratives of civilization and progress are woven into social descriptions, and how perspectives on moral quality (suzhi) and order/disorder frame intercultural encounters.
Gregory Fayard is a PhD candidate in the Department of Sociology at the University of California, Berkeley. His current research looks at the importance of transportation and travel in China's modernization project, specifically how domestic and foreign travel are instrumental in forging a common belief system in the middle class and substantiating Chinese economic aid and investment.