2013-2014 Colloquium Series

The Tourism Studies Working Group is pleased to announce

or How I Became a Tourism Researcher

Dean MacCannell
Professor Emeritus, Environmental Design and Landscape Architecture
University of California, Davis

Friday, April 25, 5:30 PM
Gifford Room, 221 Kroeber Hall
University of California, Berkeley

If a strong unified field theory for tourism research existed it could not be based upon, nor would it support, dichotomies and typologies of tourists: tourist/traveler, recreationist/sightseer, adventure tourists, dark-tourists, etc. Tourists are not a special class of human being nor can they be divided into special classes without conceptual violence; they are as varied as humanity even internal to every classification that has been made of them. Every tourist ventures both on and off the beaten track depending on localized desires and localized circumstances. The focus of our research should not be tourists and their moments, but moments and their tourists. I.e., the myriad settings tourists are found in, their desires, the kinds of interactions they engage in, and the symbolism of the things they take the trouble to “see for themselves.” Illustrations: MacCannell’s travels both on the beaten track and off—unmapped mountain ranges in Baja California, jails and ghettos of North Philadelphia. Assessing the dual influence of theory plus travel for the creation of new conceptual models for tourism research.

Speaker Bio:
Dean MacCannell is Professor Emeritus of Environmental Design and Landscape Architecture at UC Davis. He also chaired the Graduate Group in Geography at Davis. He is an active member of the Tourism Studies Working Group and author of The Tourist: A New Theory of the Leisure Class (1976, 2013), Empty Meeting Grounds: The Tourist Papers (1992), and The Ethics of Sightseeing (2011). MacCannell received his A.B. degree in Anthropology from Berkeley and his M.S. and Ph.D. degrees in Rural Sociology from Cornell. In addition to his faculty appointments MacCannell served as Senior Research Scientist in the California Agricultural Experiment Station for 33 years.

Photo: Dean MacCannell at Hausa village
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