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2021-2022 Colloquium Series

The Tourism Studies Working Group is pleased to announce

Tourism—merely religious elements or is it a new religion?

Thomas Apchain (PhD Anthropology Université d’Angers)
Dean MacCannell (Professor Emeritus, UC Davis)
in dialogue

Friday, October 29, 2PM-4PM PDYT
Hosted on Zoom [click here]

In this TSWG presentation Thomas Apchain and Dean MacCannell share their recent
correspondence on the following queries posed by Apchain to MacCannell: “How do you
explain the powerful link between religious studies and tourism studies? Does tourism set in
motion social mechanisms that resemble the religious fact? And finally, should we understand
that concepts formed in the anthropology of religion allow us to understand entire sections of
the tourist experience? Or rather that it is through their application to tourism that we can
extend theories of religion (and what was once confined there)?”

This is the beginning of their larger project intended for publication in French that, in addition
to tourism and religion, will address six additional expansive questions framed by Apchain: on the lack of a general theory of tourism; resistance to the sociology of tourism; structural
differentiation and structuralism as a theoretical frame for tourism studies; the current state of understanding the symbol and symbolism; the failed quest for authenticity; “The Traveller’s Fool.”

This presentation will be their work in progress in its earliest stage. The two authors are pleased to initiate, and hopefully begin to engage TSWG in their discussion of these matters of general interest to tourism researchers.

Speaker Bios:

Thomas Apchain is an anthropologist at the University of Angers. He earned his Phd in cultural anthropology at the University of Paris Descartes. His doctoral research focused on the development of tourism in the favelas of Rio de Janeiro (Brazil). He then worked on the development of equestrian tourism in France as part of a postdoctoral research team at the University of Angers. His interests include: the construction of otherness, the values of authenticity in tourism, tourism as a co-production of meaning, and the logics of territorial development linked to tourism.

Dean MacCannell is professor and chair emeritus of Environmental Design and Geography at the University of California, Davis College of Agriculture and Environmental Sciences. He maintains a regular writing and lecturing schedule in retirement. Recent publications include “The Moral Economy of Tourism,” (Lusophone, 2020): “Leisure Class,” (The Blackwell Encyclopedia of Sociology, 2019); “Tourism, Authenticity and Art” (The Journal of Tourism History, 2018); “Ethics and Tourism” (Recerca, 2018); “Ethnographer of Modernity” (Tourism Tribune, 2018—in Mandarin). MacCannell was an early contributor to academic tourism studies with his article on “Staged Authenticity: Arrangement of Social Space in Tourist Settings” (1973), The Tourist: A New Theory of the Leisure Class (1976). His childhood memoir, Eighteen and Out, is scheduled for publication in early 2022.

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