Wijngaarden, Vanessa (2016, September). Tourists’ agency versus the circle of representation. Annals of Tourism Research, 60, 139-153.

Abstract: Tourism studies scholars have criticized but not overcome the passivity inherent in analyses of the reproduction of stereotypes in tourism encounters. Problematizing the category of viewers, I open the black box of the circle of representation as a self-reinforcing process, showing how tourists’ (re)production of images of ‘the other’ is rooted in their agency. Using Q-method and filmassisted observations embedded in ethnography, I describe how Dutch tourists reflexively ignore, interpret and mold contrasting information when they reproduce mythical Maasai imagery. This reproduction often contradicts the ‘performance’ of their hosts and is not a post-tourist phenomenon. A typology of three tourist perspectives further underlines the non-monolithical nature of these images, and how ‘the self’ is central in their active reproduction.

Vanessa Wijngaarden <vanessa.wijngaarden> is in the School of Communication, University of Johannesburg, South Africa.