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1st Tourism-Contact-Culture Research Network Conference: Tourism and Seductions of Difference

This conference is jointly organised by:

We are pleased to announce the 1st Tourism-Contact-Culture Research Network Conference: Tourism and Seductions of Difference, which will take place in Lisbon, Portugal from 10 to 12 September 2010. The Conference builds on previous events organised by the Centre for Tourism and Cultural Change at Leeds Metropolitan University ( and will mark the establishment of the Tourism-Contact-Culture Research Network as an international group of university researchers interested in critical tourism research. It will also bring a long established tradition in tourism anthropology research at the Portuguese Network Centre for Anthropological Research, CRIA ( to a wider international audience. The conference is to become an annual series hosted by members of the Tourism-Contact-Culture Research Network or by the annual conferences of professional academic associations.

As tourism research spreads into the social sciences, the aim of this series is to bring together social scientists studying tourism and related social phenomena from different disciplinary perspectives. We wish to discuss and ‘test’ the theoretical premises of foundational texts in tourism studies and to develop ongoing critique and new ideas. We welcome papers both from established academics re-assessing their work in the light of current theoretical developments in the social sciences and from an emergent generation of academics presenting their research outputs. Tourism and Seductions of Difference, the theme of the 2010 Conference in Lisbon, Portugal addresses key issues and theoretical perspectives which have left their mark on tourism research over recent years.

Tourism and Seductions of Difference

The idea of ‘difference’ appears to be one of the central ontological premises of tourism. Tourists travel to, and through, spaces ‘different’ from those they inhabit most of the time. They voluntarily expose their bodies to different environments; they may ingest different foods, live in a different temporality, and meet different people. Many authors have studied how such differences are socially construed, how people and places are experienced and brought into being through the perceptive realms of the journey, but also through the political agendas of stakeholders acting within the field of tourism and cultural policy. The cultural history of tourism indicates that tourists are somehow ‘seduced’ by specific places or types of places – forests, mountains, rivers, churches and religious shrines, stately homes and palaces, ancient monuments, ruins, waterfalls, seashores, countrysides, islands, cities, etc. Some psychologists, for instance, have observed how some places – such as Florence, Jerusalem, or Paris – trigger quasi-Stendhalian epiphanies among certain tourists who often do not seem to share more than a common nationality. Who, or what are they seduced by? What constitutes this arousal? How do tourists learn what to be seduced by? How is the tourist experience and the temptation to travel culturally framed? How are places and tourist attractions assembled to entice tourists?

The political economy of seduction in tourism is often part of the processes that support the formation and symbolic configuration of specific social and temporal separations. Seen by some commentators as a socially organised transgression of social and spatial boundaries, tourism appears to question the ontology of differences. By doing so, it seems to contribute to the bringing-into-being and reaffirmation, but also to the readjustment, of moral orders underlying various boundaries, differences, separations and related concepts of self. Tourism has played and continues to play an important role in the formation and maintenance of nationalisms, gender and social classes, but also in struggles for the recognition of ethnic or indigenous identities, and the legitimisation of cultural specificities of regions or people. It is being formed and performed within different contact zones marked by forms of mutual seduction. In many cases, primeval tourist attractions have become socially reproduced and cultivated as markers of social identity within ‘destinations’. Semantically re-embedded in the lingo of heritage, these attractions have frequently helped to shape and legitimate new forms of local, ethnic or national identity within ‘destination’ societies. Tourists are often actively lured here into admiring sets of attractions whose underlying moral order embodies claims to specific forms of identity and political power within such societies. How do the various contact zones of tourism – hospitality spaces, living rooms, city centres, heritage sites, museums, gardens and landscapes etc. – allow such claims to be formed and performed? Which are the mediators of such claims? What is the allure and political magic of tourism within these contexts?

Seduction is no isolated act but always has some form of consequence and usually demands compensation. In the same vein, touristic consumption is not free, and in different senses implies forms of expected reciprocity. What are the moral obligations of those who lure tourists to a symbolic death by singing a siren song? How are tourists resuscitated, and how do they buy their freedom? What are the threats and consequences of seducing tourists? What happens when tourists seduce? How does tourism seduce all sorts of people and who rejects seduction? What kinds of society result from tourism?


Along with studies on methodological issues in tourism research, we welcome papers that address issues related to the theme of the conference. Indicative topics of interest include:

  • Ontologies of seduction: boundaries, differences, separations, times, others
  • Formations of seduction: social assemblages, contact cultures, attractions
  • Fields of seduction: gender, houses, heritages, nations, territories, classes
  • Mediums of seduction: texts, bodies, arts, architectures, foods and natures
  • Techniques of seduction: performance, flirtation, enticement, friendship, magic,  concealment
  • Emotions of seduction: temptations, transgressions, ingestions, emancipations
  • Threats of seduction: spoliation, contamination, exclusion, death, degradation
  • Politics of seduction: hospitality, containment, kinship, power
  • Moralities of seduction: obligations, reciprocity, co-habitation
  • Consequences of seduction: mobilities, cosmopolitanisms, world society

Academic Committee

  • David Picard and Maria Cardeira (CRIA/FCSH-Dept of Anthropology, Universidade Nova de Lisboa, Portugal)
  • Simone Abram and Mike Robinson (Centre for Tourism and Cultural Change (CTCC), Leeds Metropolitan University, UK)
  • Saskia Cousin (research group Tourisme: Recherches-Institutions-Pratiques, Ecole des Hautes Etudes en Sciences Sociales (EHESS) in Paris, France )
  • Nelson Graburn and Maki Tanaka (Tourism Studies Working Group (TSWG), University of California at Berkeley, USA)
  • Noel B. Salazar (Cultural Mobilities Research (CuMoRe), University of Leuven, Belgium)
  • Mathis Stocks (Centre de Recherche Interdisciplinaire sur le Tourisme, Institut Universitaire Kurt Bösch, Sion, Switzerland)
  • Pamila Gupta (Anthropology-Wits Institute for Social and Economic Research(WISER), University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, South Africa)
  • Naomi Leite (Dept of Anthropology, University of Toronto, Canada)
  • Camila del Marmol (research group Patrimonialization of Nature and Culture, University of Barcelona, Catalonia, Spain)
  • Ramona Lenz (Institute of Cultural Anthropology and European Ethnology, Goethe University Frankfurt, Germany)
  • Chiara Cipollari (Dept of Anthropology, University of Perugia, Italy
  • Sanja Kalapos Gasparac (Institute of Ethnology and Folklore Research, Zagreb, Croatia)
  • Britt Kramvig (Northern Research Institute (Norut), Tromsø, Norway)
  • Ester Võsu (Institute for Cultural Research and Fine Arts, University of Tartu, Estonia)
  • Margaret Hard (University of Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, Spain)
  • Michael A. Di Giovine (Dept of Anthropology, University of Chicago, USA)
  • Kenneth Little (Dept of Anthropology, York University at Toronto, Canada)

Call for papers

During the conference, paper presenters will be given 20 minutes with an additional Q&A time of 10 minutes (TBC). To propose a paper, please send a 250 word abstract including title and full contact details to The Call for Papers for this event will initially be open until 20 March 2010. Late abstracts may be considered.


Registrations will be open from the end of March 2010. Registration forms can soon be downloaded at www.tourism-culture.comand at

Funding and Sponsorship

The conference is based on a cover-cost basis. Registration fees have not been fixed and their amount shall depend on the outcomes of different funding bids. The conference will not pay for travel and accommodation costs. Special rates for students and early registrations shall be available. Further details will soon be available.


Dr David Picard

CRIA/FCSH-Universidade Nova de Lisboa, Lisbon

CTCC, Leeds Metropolitan University, Leeds, UK

Conference contact email:

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One Response

  1. pgimet dit :

    2 journées de conférences à ne manquer sous aucun prétexte !
    A quand en France ? Il faudra regarder du côté de Nice prochainement…

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