Urban beaches, virtual worlds and 'The End of Tourism'
Gale, T. (2009) Urban beaches, virtual worlds and 'The End of Tourism'. Mobilities, 4 (1). pp. 119-138. ISSN 1745-0101
Publisher's URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/17450100802657996
This paper revisits John Urry’s ideas on ‘the end of tourism’, or the de-differentiation of tourism and everyday life under disorganised capitalism (to the extent that the former ceases to be ‘special’ and the latter ‘mundane’). Against the backdrop of the recent and exponential growth in the number of tourists and migrants flowing to and from the countries of the world that comprise the ‘pleasure periphery’, it takes the notion of everyday space (including cyber-space) being reconfigured as tourism space one step further with reference to two quite distinct, but theoretically intertwined phenomena: urban beaches and virtual worlds (the former represented by a case study of Paris Plage, and the latter by examples of the most popular Massively Multiplayer Online Social Games or MMOSGs, including Second Life and There). In exploring what these case studies have in common reference is made to ideas about liminality and liquid modernity, which provide a context for understanding the contemporary relationship between tourism and the everyday. There follows a brief conclusion that reflects upon the consequences for tourism-related research of the turn to mobilities in the social sciences.
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