Tourism-Contact-Culture Research Network TOCOCU

The aim of this network is to bring together and generate synergies between researchers involved in the critical ethnographic and theoretical study of tourism and related phenomena of contact, hospitality, mobility and cultural change.

While tourism has become one of the socially most visible phenomena of global modern culture, research on this specific form of mobility today remains scarce and often lacks in conceptual and theoretical depth. Why do people travel? What makes tourist sites attractions and what can these tell us about the moral underpinning of modern culture? How does modern tourism relate to other forms of socially organised mobility - such as pilgrimages, passage and coming of age rites, explorations, wars and Wanderschaften? How do different forms of tourism shape societies and new orders of the world? How do they change the premises underlying the ontological work of maintaining forms of identity and selfhood? Why are tropical island tourist brochures full of pretty women? What are the symbolic and economic resources mobilised in tourism? How are they produced and maintained, and what makes their allure? What are the significations of concepts such as 'nature tourism', 'culture tourism', 'ethnic tourism', 'indigenous tourism', etc.? Why are coral reefs beautiful? Why do tourists often say that a place they visit looks like their home, but one hundred years ago? How are tourists catered for? Who are the hosts, and what does it mean to them to accommodate tourists? How do they know what their guests are looking for? What is the political underpinning of touristic hospitality? Why are nation-states hospitable to some, but not all people who wish to visit? Why are Italian girls 'pretty'? Are guests friends? Is it okay to share a meal with them? Or a drink? Or a bed?

These and many more questions remain today widely unanswered. Through interdisciplinary research, workshops, conferences and publications, the members of this network have made it their aim to tackle these questions and thus advance our understanding of the world and the processes and phenomena that shape this world. The network and its events are open to friends and members.

NOW OUT: Couchsurfing Cosmopolitanisms (ed. by D. Picard and S. Buchberger)


David Picard
CRIA/FCSH-Universidade Nova de Lisboa, Lisbon, Portugal