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Samuel James Conroy

Comparison Progymnasmata

            Frow’s writing, Tourism and the Semiotics of Nostalgia, is a very intricate piece that goes into great deal about the different between a tourist and a traveler, as well as the minutiae of semiotics. This pleases me as in our previous reading by Culler, he also went into the differences between the two rather than lumping them together as one, which I had previously complained about.

Culler makes the distinction between the two based on how they perceive the culture of the country in which they are travelling to. The traveler will try his best to adapt to that culture and be there to experience what they have to offer. However, a tourist will want to experience what they believe to be the culture, aka a French guy speaking English with a French accent as opposed to just speaking French. Frow goes into more why the tourist is demonized. He provides a list of three moves:

  1. Criticism of tourism as inauthentic activity
    1. This is where the tourist is contrasted against the more heroic traveler and targeted as a cultural appropriator.
  2. The narrative of tourism is a much more complicated and ambivalent one
    1. A paradox is presented here as the tourist is valued positively as attempting to have an authentic experience, however in the post-industrial world this is not possible and ends up losing its authenticity.
  3. Follows from the internal condition of paradox progressively revealed in the playing out of the second
    1. A similar case to the second move, here authentic forms of travel are compared to inauthentic ones and an attempt to make a distinction is made.

This is a very complicated analysis yet makes a distinct point about the issue of authenticity. As with many things in modern times, travel has been done on just about every corner of the planet. Countries have established tourism divisions and the internet has made it possible to go just about everywhere. This makes me question, is authentic travel possible anymore? Everyone has been just about everywhere and done just about everything. In my opinion there may never be another authentic travel experience with the current connection the world has.

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