Between the Sight and the Grasp: Texts, Discourses and Practices of Contemporary (Anti)Tourism
Dealing with tourism today involves considering a varied set of texts, discourses and practices, opening the way to multiple declinations, segmentations and valorisations. On the one hand, so-called “antitourism” (intended as a strong opposition to tourism and tourists) recalls and expands a conception of tourists as “fake travellers”. On the other hand, contemporary tourism practices seem to challenge such an idea, paving the way for new axiologies and forms of “(anti)tourism” (intended as a new approach to tourism, based on its “slow”, “ethical”, “sustainable” and “experiential” character — to recall some common denominations). This paper analyses such an ambivalence, paying particular attention to crucial semiotic issues: the reflection on authenticity; the relationship between tourism and everyday life; and the transition from a “representational” (Savoja 2005) imaginary of tourism, based on a more or less stereotyped conception of the “sight” (i.e. a superficial, hasty gaze, subject to distractions and temptations, see Volli 2003), to the definition of an active, “performative” (Gemini 2008) role played by the tourist, which finds a fundamental figure in the “grasp”.