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Simona Barca

The Tourist Gaze- Comparison

In “The Tourist Gaze ‘Revisited,'” John Urry explores the different side of the “seeing” sense in regards to tourism and connects it to environmental issues. Specifically, Urry focuses on the comparison between environmental pollution and social pollution caused by herds of tourism. The pollution largely focused in urban areas where factories and transportation exhaust are part of the scenery, has inundated the scenic beauty of nature-based travel spots with social pollution, which, in turn, brings environmental pollution as well. The social pollution that Urry talks about is centered around the photography aspect, with everyone wanting to capture certain places and moments on camera so as to memorialize those moments. This is even more glorified in the age of social media, where slogans like “pics or it didn’t happen” reign throughout younger social groups and social media circles. With social pollution, however, comes environmental pollution as well. While it might not be to the extend of city-wide factories, transportation to reach some of these places contributes to environmental pollution, as well as the necessary set-ups to make these places more easily reachable, i.e. roads, campsites, electrical capabilities, etc. Urry himself put it best when describing the effects of social pollution, even when deemed to be lesser compared to those of environmental pollution:

“So photography has heightened the contradictions involved in the relationship between tourism and the environment. It has increased the attractions of particular kinds of unpolluted landscapes and hence of demands to protect or conserve such environments, and it has in turn done much to worsen such environments through increasing the numbers and concentration of visitors all seeking to capture particularly memorable views, views that have forever lost their aura.”

2 replies on “The Tourist Gaze- Comparison”

I really like your examination of this theme in Urry’s writing, and I think your comments on the connection between tourism and different kinds of pollution are spot on. I also thought you tried something interesting by tackling this using comparison, though I think different formatting and maybe some more explanation would help to push the comparison point across. Maybe if you tied in another reading, theme, or concept such as the tourist’s gaze it may have helped with this by allowing another dimension for comparison.

Simona, This was a smart strategy for a comparison; while it entails some creative license with respect to how our website defines this progym move, I’m ok with that.

How might you improve in crafting comparisons? I think both ideas need more development, and I would expand first on one, then on the other, allowing them to stand in juxtaposition, before explaining how they relate (I also think you could have been clearer in defining the “tourist gaze” and why it matters in the process). Let the form of your writing (perhaps 1 paragraph on one, and 1 on the other) help to signal and reinforce what you are doing–in this way, form too (such as paragraphs) is rhetorical, making a kind of argument.

Additionally, ending on a long quote like that is rather unsatisfying. Your audience wants you to explain the quote for them, rather than doing the work themselves. You may recall this move as a “quote sandwich” from your college writing class–the need to both introduce and explain quotes when you use them, especially when they are long.

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