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Distributed for University of British Columbia Press

Being a Tourist

Finding Meaning in Pleasure Travel

What is meaningful about the experience of travelling abroad? What feeds the impulse to explore new horizons? In Being a Tourist, Harrison analyzes her conversations with a large group of upper-middle-class travellers. Why, she asks, do these people invest their resources -- financial, emotional, psychological, and physical -- in this activity? Harrison suggests that they are fuelled by several desires, including a search for intimacy and connection, an expression of personal aesthetic, an exploration of the understanding of "home," and a sensemaking strategy for a globalized world. She also reflects on the moral and political complexities of the travels of these people.

Being a Tourist draws on a wide range of social theory, going beyond current debates of authenticity and consumption. Engagingly and thoughtfully written, it will be required reading for those in anthropology, sociology, cultural studies, and, more generally, for anyone interested in tourism studies and travel writing.

272 pages

Table of Contents


1 Being a Tourist

2 Making Connections

3 The Tourist Aesthetic

4 Journeying Home

5 Colouring the World’s Map

6 Coming Back


Travellers’ Biographies

References Cited


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