Aongus Mui

The Semiotics of Tourism, Jonathan Culler

Progym: Confirmation

Tourism, a simple yet complex concept. Jonathan Culler does a phenomenal job illustrating that tourists sometimes unknowingly interpret signs. He goes in depth on one of the more specific parts of tourism which is the symbolism that comes along with it. Culler goes through the perspective of multiple individuals to give us a detailed conclusion of tourism. Many tourists go to famous landmarks such as the Eiffel Tower, Grand Canyon, and the Statue of Liberty. The tourists go here expecting something based on someone else’s critic. Another interesting theme that Cullen included in his writing is that “tourism reveals difficulties of appreciating otherness except through signifying structures that mark and reduce it.” Cullen explains that as tourists we often fail to fully understand the culture of the place that we are visiting. As a person who has been a tourist many times, I find Cullen’s perspective to be fitting, and logical. When I travel, I think of all the known places like the beaches of Aruba or the night lights of Las Vegas, tourists are hardwired with the desire to seek out the spots that other people have told them are “amazing” or “beautiful.” We never fully dive into the culture or connect with the people there. The reading helped me reevaluate my mindset when it comes to travel, showing me that there is more than just sightseeing to being a tourist.

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