Detourism Project Back


Today, the rise of the notion of the “global citizen”—i.e. that one’s identity transcends geography or political borders because our rights and responsibilities are derived from our belonging to “humanity” (a status that does not denounce national or local identity per se, but does suggest that such identities are secondary to our belonging to the global human community)—along with the current form of international tourism it has spawned many anxieties surrounding the traditional linkage between cultural identities and their geo-specific rootedness. Formulated in terms of a research question, then, with this research, I ask: Are we today witnessing the demise of transnational tourism at the hands of global citizenry? My basic contention is that, if taken to its extreme, Global Citizenry would spell the end of transnational tourism. That is, if in its most extreme form, being a Global Citizen entails (a) belonging to the community of the world, and (b) the absolute freedom to access any and all parts of the planet, then, binaries such as “local vs. tourist”, “insider vs. outsider”, or “citizen vs. (im/)migrant” shall cease to exist. In order to show that this is the case, I provide here an historical and conceptual analysis of international tourism on the basis that it provides the clearest lens through which to investigate this transformation, since this form of tourism most typically entails the compresence of cultural insiders (“locals”) and outsiders (“tourists”) within a common place.

Harvard, GSD
Cambridge, MA