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1ères DOCTORIALES du Tourisme de la Chaire Culture Tourisme développement

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Niveau: Secondaire, Lycée, Première

  • dissertation


1ères DOCTORIALES du Tourisme de la Chaire « Culture, Tourisme, développement » TOURISME / TOURISM Concepts et méthodes à la croisée des disciplines Concepts and methods at the disciplinary crossroads 14-16 septembre 2011 Lina L. Tegtmeyer GSNAS, Freie Universität Berlin Pflügerstr. 4, 12047 Berlin Cultural representations of the ghetto in the context of new urban tourism in the United States Abstract This chapter will read through visual semantics in tourism imagery. Guidebook illustrations and postcards of segregated urban spaces will be analyzed in order to question visual representations of neighborhoods of diversity as they increasingly appear as tourist commodity in large cities of the Western world. The geographical focus lies on the United States. In a comparative picture analysis, scientific categories of ”spaces of exclusion” (Marcuse 1997) will be linked with images of the respective spaces. By dissecting visual signifiers in the images, visual discourses of the city as tourist city can be identified. Findings of Urban Studies serve to explain the changed role that urban tourism plays in the United States today as post-Fordist industry. I intent to further work out how we can actually carry out inter-disciplinary research and make sense with that. Main questions are: How does urban tourism influence visual representations of a city and how is the city represented in images? How are what segregated parts of a city staged in tourism imagery? Keywords: urban tourism; exclusion; visual semiotics; ghetto aesthetics; USA.

  • service industry

  • tourism imagery

  • states today

  • tegtmeyer tegtmeyer

  • city can

  • urban tourism

  • united states since

  • visual semiotics


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Published 01 September 2011
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Language English
   1ères DOCTORIALES du Tourisme de la Chaire « Culture, Tourisme, développement »  TOURISME / TOURISM Concepts et méthodes à la croisée des disciplines Concepts and methods at the disciplinary crossroads  14-16 septembre 2011   Lina L. Tegtmeyer GSNAS, Freie Universität Berlin Pflügerstr. 4, 12047 Berlin tegtmeyer@gsnas.fu-berlin.de   Cultural representations of the "ghetto" in the context of new urban tourism in the United States  Abstract This chapter will read through visual semantics in tourism imagery. Guidebook illustrations and postcards of segregated urban spaces will be analyzed in order to question visual representations of neighborhoods of "diversity" as they increasingly appear as tourist commodity in large cities of the Western world. The geographical focus lies on the United States. In a comparative picture analysis, scientific categories of ”spaces of exclusion” (Marcuse 1997) will be linked with images of the respective spaces. By dissecting visual signifiers in the images, visual discourses of the city as tourist city can be identified. Findings of Urban Studies serve to explain the changed role that urban tourism plays in the United States today as post-Fordist industry. I intent to further work out how we can actually carry out inter-disciplinary research and make sense with that. Main questions are: How does urban tourism influence visual representations of a city and how is the city represented in images? How are what segregated parts of a city staged in tourism imagery?  Keywords: urban tourism; exclusion; visual semiotics; ghetto aesthetics; USA.  I. Introduction  The stereotypical segregated neighborhood for the United States since World War II is what is classified as the 'ghetto'. However, for the United States, ghetto tourism does not seem to be a dominant form of new urban tourism today. Instead, as the picture analysis will illustrate, other places of 'diversity' that have been classified as "ghetto" or "slum" in earlier tourism imagery (city handbooks and postcards) appear as contemporary tourist attraction. Examples include Chinatown or Little Italy in New York, and Greektown in Detroit.i In order to compare different commodified segregated urban spaces with the 'ghetto', I will work with a
definition of these spaces that comes from social sciences. The "ghetto" is part of a tourism rhetoric, highlighted as neighborhood of danger, not of diversity. The picture analysis examines how the "ghetto" is staged and visually defined in the context of tourism.  Tourism and images Visual representations are a crucial tool in the tourist practice today. A large quantity of tourist information, values and narration is mediated via visual representations. Despite their extensive dissemination in tourism (and academic presentations!), images have rarely been analyzed in depth in their function as tourism imagery (Pritchard and Morgan, 1998). In my dissertation, I examine different visual representations of two oppositional cities. New York remains the classical destination for urban tourism. As iconic metropolis I juxtapose it to the infamous ”Shrinking City” (Oswalt et al., 2004) Dretoit. Detroit has become a sort of ridiculed tourist destination in the United States which does not stop city officials to employ tourism as new leading (post-Fordist/post-industrial) service industry. Detroit becomes increasingly famous for its decaying buildings and inner-city abandonment. In my research I compare different images of both cities to understand what narratives are told (by whom) about each place. Tourism is one aspect that I apply as cultural force which impacts image production. I use the term visual representation rather than images (Mitchell) because it remains unclear how we analyze pictures in tourism. At the example of three definitions of ”spaces of exclusion” by urbanist Peter Marcuse, I will illuminate how tourism imagery either stages the ”lsum”, the ”ghetto” and the ”ethnic enclave” as tourist site or rejects these spaces a sneighborhood of danger. I will show how the "slum" staged as a tourist site, that the "ghetto" is absent from conventional tourism imagery and how "Chinatown" is fictionalized as exotic tourist site. The cultural context is theorized according to the categories suggested by social science: contemporary urban tourism is understood as cultural practice but also as post-Fordist service industry.ii Following the definition by Graburn, tourism is understood as a not-everyday activity (Graburn, 1977). I will not define the type of tourist here, as the focus is on visual semiotics.iii   The context of urban tourism and the image The image of the city plays a crucial role today. Developments like gentrification and tourism are cultural expressions of cities that have become service industries themselves – the city as cultural space but also as site of production.iv Pictures are one main tool to create an image of a city. As urbanist Robert Beauregard states: Lina L. Tegtmeyer tegtmeyer@gsnas.fu-berlin.de 2