The implications of Lacanian Theory for understanding authenticity in tourism

Presented by the Travel Cultures Network in collaboration with the Development Studies Association – Tourism Study Group, as part of theĀ 2017-2018 seminar series: Authenticity and Development Discourses in Tourism.

Guest Speaker: Professor Daniel Knudsen, Indiana University.

In light of the introduction of Lacanian theory to discussions on authenticity, current categorizations of authenticity cannot do the concept justice.

Given that authenticity functions at both the unconscious and conscious levels, only performative approaches can hope to capture the full richness of the term, for it is only in action, which is partly explicable and partly inexplicable, that the contours of authenticity emerge.

We also must consider how desire that is both conditioned by society and embodied in certain ways when at home, might be conditioned by society and embodied in alternative ways when on tour. This, in turn, leads to reconsideration of the role of ergic and ludic behaviors of tourists while on tour which spill over into the realm of host-guest interactions, power-relations and ultimately the manner in which tourism sites develop.

Finally, a Lacanian point of view demands a more serious consideration of postmodern authenticity.

All welcome.

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