Novara Media

Novara FM: Escaping the Tourism Trap w/ Dean MacCannell

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Episode notes

January is historically the busiest month of the year for holiday bookings. But if you’ve ever felt uncomfortable with the idea of being a tourist, you’re not the first. Back in 1976, anthropologist Dean MacCannell theorised both our drive to see the world and its manipulation by capitalism in his book The Tourist: A New Theory of the Leisure Class.

Travel has changed almost beyond recognition since then: staged authenticity is the norm, and the places you’re most likely to visit are sourced from Trip Advisor and Instagram. Plus, tourism is now shrouded in environmental guilt – what the Swedish call ‘flygskam’.

Fifty years after The Tourist, Novara Media contributing editor Moya Lothian-McLean speaks to MacCannell about disaster tourism, how sightseeing became sacred, and our destructive search for authenticity.

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