Academic journal article Journal of Tourism Challenges and Trends

The Cultural Tourist and the Decoding of the Urban Space: The Coincidence Vocable-Image

Academic journal article Journal of Tourism Challenges and Trends

The Cultural Tourist and the Decoding of the Urban Space: The Coincidence Vocable-Image

Article excerpt

Urbanishness: A Philosophical Repeated Conquest of the City

Situating the concept of space at the intersection of the matrix geo-theories, we are partially embracing the abandonment of the notion of place. The excessively dynamical spatial configurations sustain a hybridizing notion of path dependency. This is a philosophical consecration of the hyperrealist city or, in Jean-Luc Nancy's (1999) terms, of the city au loin.

The present study describes the profile of the cultural tourist in relation to various cultural landmarks. Taking in discussion the actual cultural tourists, the paper analyses them in relationship to "vocable" and "image". The interest for "vocable" does not impose an exclusively discursive manner of relating to the urban realm, but as a postmodern interest in discursiveness and expression (these explaining the interest for "image", too). The cultural tourist is marked and limited by the mindscape. This mindscape transforms and translates the places encountered according to the vocabulary that creates and re-creates the personal universe. Travelling is a chance to improve one's world-view of the hyperrealist city beyond a certain path of dependency and beyond the city au loin, with more attention for detail.

The methodology of the paper is descriptive and comparative-analytical. While our analysis emphasizes the interdependences between decoding and representation, the study is not a discourse analysis one. The tourist engages her person in a cultural process testing, comparing and enlarging cultural views. If her prejudices are put to test and either confirmed or contradicted, then her cultural participation is more intense. Even though we talk about "her person" and "her cultural participation", the tourist may be a masculine character; this is just a playful reversal of the claim of neutrality (which meant describing everything from a masculine perspective), quite common in humanities.

By encountering vocables and translating these into images, the cultural tourist transposes the grammaticalised and metaphorically perceived space into a philosophically archived perception of urban space. The postmodern theories and concepts described and inter-related in the paper emphasize the dialogue between conceptual maps from within and the other conceptual maps proposed through the cultural offer as well as through socialization. Tourism may result in the overcoming of the given meanings of touristic socialization at a certain stage in life. The study pursues postmodernism, hesitating and moving forms and formulae, emphasizing these translations among physical, esthetical and the moral spaces. Thus, we form a theoretical kaleidoscope that capitalizes novel concepts on space, city and traveller, correlating them to emphasize travelling as an act of improvement, and construction of the human self. From this perspective, travelling, beyond the materialistic and utilitarian enterprise is a philosophical experience--a maze experience, having at its center either someone's prejudices or someone's enriched self.

Aside from the model of the modern lived space, the mega-polis is transformed in Deleuze manner, within the planes of immanence. This is "the city as unique text" with open and massified inscriptions, with access keys left intended, in plain view, using, at a different level and according to Daniel Payot (2001) a free spatialisation of the syntax or, as envisioned by Deleuze and Guattari (1999), a geo-philosophical approach of re-territorialisation with double direction from land to territory and back. In a philosophical key, we are not insisting on a conception of space as object, exterior or anterior in relation to thought, but having at stake the object. Thus, the thought itself is spatial, territorial and, also, event.

For Payot, (2001, 37), the urban is disguised within the register of language of politics, as insertion of unique threads, transferable, a heterogeneous unity, a shape that is impossible to capture and fix within its relative itineraries. …

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