Section navigation

Exploring Anthropology of Tourism: State of the Art and Beyond

Event information

START DATE 9 March 2016
START TIME 12:00pm

Committee Room 3, Hendon Town Hall, The Burroughs, Hendon, London, NW4 4BQ

END DATE 9 March 2016
END TIME 02:00pm

This lecture traces some of the theoretical and ethnographic lineages that have led to the present state of the art of what is known as anthropology of tourism. It critically considers some familiar iconic terms (authenticity, heritage, ‘imaginaries’, ‘gaze’, and so on) and then builds on more recent work to argue that future anthropological research involving tourism may lie not so much in the further invention or re-invention of such seemingly magical explanatory terms and the sometimes theoretically fizzy claims associated with them, but more in the re-integration of tourism into carefully contextualised ethnographic settings framed by - to follow Moore - humanitarian concerns

This would enable questions about, for example, crises of ‘development’ (including the term itself); government, governance and civil society; nationalism and cosmopolitanism; citizenship; hospitality and hostility (including issues concerning refugees); relationships between inner and outer worlds; relations between objects (including beautiful objects) - and so on - to emerge as central questions. This might, in turn, enable the subject of tourism itself to assume a more modest (if still essential) role - as pathway to the addressing of these questions rather than as the centre of attention. 

The ethnographic background and touchstone throughout the lecture is the city of Bethlehem, Palestine: one of the oldest pilgrimage and tourist sites we have, in which the speaker, Tom Selwyn, has worked periodically for two decades. 


Tom Selwyn is Professorial Research Associate at the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS), University of London, and holder of an Emeritus Professorial Research Fellowship from the Leverhulme Foundation. He is widely published in the field of the anthropology of tourism/pilgrimage with regional interests in the Mediterranean (in particular Palestine/Israel and Bosnia and Herzegovina).

To book, please contact Gulizar Karaca. Lunch is provided.

In this section

Back to top

We use Cookies

View our Privacy and Cookie policy