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Department of Anthropology and Sociology

Anthropology of travel and tourism B

Course Code:
Unit value:
Year of study:
Year 1
Taught in:
Term 2

The course aims to (a) explore historically and anthropologically the nature of hospitality (b) present detailed semiotic analyses of explore tourism related objects, images, and spaces (c) demonstrate the significance of museum studies to our understanding of identity and scientific authenticity (d) examine critically the concept of ‘cultural heritage’ (e) monitor the career of the body in studies of tourism as in anthropology more generally (f) discuss the foundations of an anthropology of pleasure – paying particular attention to the relation between the aesthetic and the erotic (g) consider the anthropology of travel and tourism in terms of a political economy of enchantment.

Objectives and learning outcomes of the course

  1. An appreciation of the contributions made by the anthropology of travel and tourism to anthropological studies of symbolism.
  2. A capacity to develop mature semiotic interpretations of tourism related objects, images, spaces, and bodies.  
  3. An advanced recognition of the theoretical importance of hospitality.
  4. An appreciation of role of the anthropology of travel and tourism in more general social scientific studies of the nature of the aesthetic and erotic.
  5. An ability critically to engage with the concept of ‘cultural heritage’ and to appreciate how the notion is politically and economically shaped.


11 weeks - I hour lecture and 2 hour seminar/tutorials per week

Method of assessment

One unseen written paper -70%
One essay - 30% (3000 words)

Suggested reading

  • Bouquet, M. and M. Winter, 1987, Who From Their Labours Rest? Conflict and practice in rural tourism, Aldershot, Avebury.
  • Bruner, EM. 2005, Culture on Tour: Ethnographies of travel, Chicago,
    University Press.
  • Burns, P. 1999, An Introduction to Tourism and Anthropology, London, Routledge.
  • Cohen, E. 1979a. ‘Rethinking the Sociology of Tourism’. ATR 6(1):18-35.
  • Cohen, E. 1979b. “A phenomenology of tourist experiences”. Sociology
  • Cohen, E. 1973. ‘Nomads from Affluence: Notes on the Phenomenon of
    Drifter Tourism’. International Journal of Comparative Sociology 14(1-
  • Cohen, E. 1972. ‘Towards a Sociology of International Tourism’.
    Social Research 39:164-82.