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I'm in the middle of writing a thesis on tourists negotiating confrontations with poverty while on holiday in third world countries. It is easy to see that these confrontations touch on ethics and justice as the tourists are (relatively) rich, their hosts are poor and tourism is about enjoying luxuries (hedonism) while around the 'tourist bubbles' people are struggling.
Considering this I focus on how tourists 'legitimise themselves', using discourse analysis (which discursive techniques do tourists employ) following Foucault on power and truth within constructivism, making sidesteps to Baumann (exclusion), Stanley Cohen (states of denial) and Zizek (cultural capitalism).

Do you have any more ideas on how I could elaborate on these issues using philosophy? Please point me in the right direction of interesting (modern, postmodern, critical) philosophies!

September 22, 2012

Response from Charles Taliaferro on October 17, 2012
What a fascinating project!

It seems as though you are very good on resources! I have only two suggestions that you may (or may not!) wish to explore: you might consider how to assess and perhaps how to educate tourists on issues of global justice. Amartya Sen's The Idea of Justice and Martha Nussbaum's Creating Capabilities might be good resources and provide an accessible set of terms to consider. It may be that tourists to places that are poverty ridden do want to help alleviate these conditions, and could be directed to make (an at least symbolic but perhaps substantial) contribution to making lives better. You also might include some attention on how tourists might gaze (and interact) with those they encounter, taking into account Jacques Lacan's notion of the gaze as articulated in The Four Fundamental Concepts of Psychoanalysis.

Good wishes on your project!


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