Essay on The Tourist Gaze Review.=

1758 Words Nov 13th, 2012 8 Pages



The Tourist Gaze
By John Urry. Sage Publications
(28 Banner
ISBN o-8039-8182-1,
1990, 176 pp. (photos,

Street, London EClY
bibliography, index) $45.00


Neil Leiper
New Zealand

Readers might infer a double meaning from this book’s title. It could refer to the gaze of tourists and also to the tourist, Gaze. This would be Henry
Gaze, a tourist who went into business and helped pioneer the modern form of tour operations, like his contemporary,
Thomas Cook (two names symbolizing features of the tourism industry: sightseeing and food?). Unlike Cook,
Gaze has been relatively neglected in the literature, although coordinated advertising by the two
…show more content…
It draws on a large number of references to and examples of service workers and their management.
Perhaps it could have been improved by drawing on a wider literature on service management
(Hesketh 1986; Lovelock 1988).
Chapter 5 deals with “Cultural Changes and the Restructuring of Tourism.”
Here, Urry discusses postmodernism and tourism, using material from several writers and from his own recent book, The End of Organised Capitalism
(Lash and Urry 1987). He shows how, in certain ways, tourism has become
“bound up with and partly indistinguishable from all sorts of other social and cultural practices . . . [so that] people are much of the time ‘tourists’ whether they like it or not [and thus] the tourist gaze is intrinsically part of contemporary experience” (p. 82). Urry integrates this idea with material about emerging patterns of class structures in society, applying, in particular, certain ideas from Bourdieu (1984). Chapter 6, “Gazing on History,” deals with the heritage industry, showing how and why “heritage” is becoming more prominent in tourist destinations in Britain. An excellent discussion is presented around the controversies generated by The Heritage Industry: Britain in a Climate of
Decline (Hewison 1987).
The final chapter discusses “Tourism,
Culture and Social Inequality.”
Here, Urry advises against contemplating the feasibility of “the theory of tourist behaviour”

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