Tourism and Citizenship: Rights, Freedoms and Responsibilities in the Global Order

By Hermann, Inge; Welten, Ruud | European Journal of Tourism Research, January 1, 2015 | Go to article overview

Tourism and Citizenship: Rights, Freedoms and Responsibilities in the Global Order


Hermann, Inge, Welten, Ruud, European Journal of Tourism Research


Raoul Bianchi, Marcus Stephenson (2013). Tourism and Citizenship: Rights, Freedoms and Responsibilities in the Global Order. London and New York: Routledge, 280 pages. ISBN 978-0-415-70738-1

At a time when it seems that we "are living in an increasingly mobile world and that international travel has become more 'democratic'" (p. 2), a book that challenges these assumptions in the light of recent global changes and increasingly complex and unequal cross-border movements seems appropriate. By examining human mobility through the lens of global citizenship, the book illustrates the different flows of international travel and the consequences for the ways in which understanding of citizenship is imagined, reconstructed and institutionalized. The authors contend that "international travel represents a quintessential expression of a more democratic, mobile and inclusive world order of consumer citizens" (p.3). In its place, they consider these changes in citizenship definitions and practices to be caused by a range of factors that go beyond static rights and duties controlled and enforced within a geo-political framework and challenge the libertarian stance that participating in international tourism is an indicator of a 'civilized life' or (global) citizenship. After a comprehensive introduction the book commences with six chapters to illustrate the manifold relationships between tourism and citizenship, with a particular focus on the alignments between the right to freedom of movement and the right to travel.

Chapter 1 presents a comprehensive overview of the main concepts and theoretical viewpoints that have historically framed our understandings of citizenship. By using Marshall's modern conception of citizenship as a starting point, the chapter shows how the expansion of leisure and travel was closely tied to state interventions and social programs that underpinned leisure and travel as social rights and citizenship benefits to be enjoyed by all members. However, from the 1980s onwards the role of the state as benevolent protector has become progressively undermined and transformed by an emergent neoliberal agenda, which "fuelled the commodification of leisure and 'free time' and the shift toward more market-oriented tourism provision" (p. 35). Consequently, the chapter illustrates how the 'marketization of tourism' nowadays has overshadowed the social dimension of travel to a point at which the provision of subsidized or low-cost leisure and travel is perceived as a market distortion and a potential risk for economic growth and development.

Chapter 2 continues with a thorough analysis of the transformation of citizenship from a modern liberal conception "anchored within the confines of the sovereign territorial nationstate towards a much more fluid and multilayered set of ideas informed and constituted within a variety of post-national discourses of cosmopolitanism, cultural rights and multicultural citizenship" (p. 46). The chapter brings forward 'mobile citizenship' as a framework through which to understand the various ways in which tourism has become a major feature of global mobility and transnational notions of citizenship, realigning the balance of rights and duties beyond the traditional confines of the nation state. Drawing on several examples and recent studies, the chapter illustrates that the rapid globalization of capital and markets has major implications for the expansive nature of mobility and freedom, especially noticeably in the emergence of 'new' global elite classes. Conversely, the authors give a sharp account of the growing population of so-called 'nontourists', those residing within national boundaries that are immobile and/or stateless. Bearing in mind the effect of international tourism on these opposing groups, they argue that the capacity to be mobile does not instantly translate to notions of global citizenship or cosmopolitanism; instead they advocate the acknowledgement of flexible citizenship or more rooted forms of cosmopolitanism. …

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