This thread annoys me so ill get it back on track best i can. here is an article that works well with Baudrillard-esque disaster porn arguments.
Title: CONSUMING DANGER: REIMAGINING THE WAR/TOURISM DIVIDE , By: Lisle, Debbie, Alternatives: Social Transformation & Humane Governance, Jan-Mar2000, Vol. 25, Issue 1
Database: Academic Search Elite
CONSUMING DANGER: REIMAGINING THE WAR/TOURISM DIVIDE
The most uncanny moment in the recent film Saving Private Ryan is not in the much-talked-about battle scenes, nor is it in the moral disagreements between the soldiers sent to rescue Ryan. Rather, it is a quiet moment amid the violence, a solitary action that is never explained or referred to. Toward the end of the chaotic D-Day landing, Sergeant Horvath (played by Tom Sizemore) does something unusual as his fellow soldiers struggle to cope with the surrounding carnage. He opens his rucksack, takes out a small metal container labeled "France," and fills it with the soil beneath his feet. He then places it back in his rucksack beside identical containers labeled "Italy" and "Africa." There is an almost self-conscious element in his actions--his eyes dart, he is hunched over-as if he doesn't want the other soldiers to share in this private act of collection. What could this curious gathering and labeling of dirt in a war zone possibly mean? Surely a relationship between blood and soil is suggested, not so much in terms of national heritage, but rather in terms of shedding blood for the acquisition of strategic territory. Are the other containers in Sergeant Horvath's tucksack empty or full? What will he do with these souvenirs if and when he returns home to the United States? Is he there to win the war for freedom or to travel overseas and experience foreign cultures? The last statement seems a ludicrous and even offensive suggestion, but it is one this article aims to address.
War and tourism are strange bedfellows. It is not easy to see how violence and human atrocity are connected to the leisure practices of foreign holidays. Indeed, it would be more appropriate to suggest that the two events are rigorously separated, that modern tourism explicitly avoids areas of violence in order to provide the safest possible vacation spots for tourists. One can imagine a peaceful vacation in Hawaii, but Sierra Leone? or Kosovo? While contemporary warfare does not enter the spatial remit of modern tourism, the commemoration of historical battles in the form of war memorials, military museums, and battle reenactments makes up a large part of contemporary tourist practice. Therefore, the separation of war and tourism can be understood in the following way: if war is located "elsewhere," tourism can ensure the safety of its consumers, and if war happened "back then," tourism emerges as the principal mechanism by which subjects can access and commemorate already resolved conflicts.
This article argues that the separation of war and tourism is repeatedly held in place by an overarching discourse of global security that allows subjects to locate and understand prevailing images of safety and danger. More specifically, it argues that the safety/ danger opposition at the heart of global security shapes the practices of modern tourism. Continually locating places where the world is under threat--from states, areas, and regions to cities and neighborhoods--produces a powerful discursive map that not only instructs global powers to intervene in these "hot spots," it also instructs tourists to choose holiday destinations that meet their security requirements. That cartography has an important history: only "safe" places that have achieved a certain level of "peace and stability" can guarantee the continuation of modern tourism in an environment unimpeded by the disruption of war. But achieving that kind of lasting liberal peace takes time. While safe places are certainly safe now, it is only because they have already gone through the necessary historical stages of struggle and war--events that tourists are now able to commemorate.
When the war/tourism relationship is understood through a prevailing discourse of global security, these two events are separated in both space and time. In order to rework that understanding of global security, this article argues that far from achieving a separation, the safety/danger opposition of global security actually connects war and tourism in powerful ways. Think of how tourists make decisions about where to go on holiday--one goes to Paris, not Pristina. In this way, the same discourse of global security that shapes foreign policy also governs the more mundane activities of tourists. But the reverse is also the case: because tourist revenues are crucial to national economies, and political instability scares off tourists, governments are keen to promote the safety of their country in order to secure the flow of tourist dollars.
To the extent that nations promote themselves as secure spaces in order to lure the profitable tourist industry, it can be said that tourism shapes the discourse of global security. The mutual regulations between war and tourism are politically interesting because they produce the effect of a static boundary. In other words, the forces separating war and tourism are solidified to the extent that they successfully perform the illusion of safety here and now, and danger there and then. To reveal the boundary between war and tourism as a performance (albeit a powerful one) is to illustrate how these discrete events actually collapse into one another. By positioning the banal workings of tourism alongside the serious activities of warfare, the safety/danger opposition at the heart of global security is exposed to its own excesses and impurities. For example, tourists are now marching on the war zones of Sarajevo and Kuwait, and cultural sites like Luxor have recently become the explicit targets of terrorism's war against tourism.
This article argues that the connections between war and tourism disrupt and resist the prevailing images of safety and danger that attempt to hold them apart. More importantly, reimagining the war/tourism divide prevents the hegemonic discourse of global security from completing itself, stabilizing its boundaries, and securing a totalized presence.
War Causes Tourism, Tourism Causes Peace
While an antithetical relationship between war and tourism seems obvious today, it is important to recall that these two phenomena were actually forged together in the aftermath of World War II. "Postwar" tourism refers to the leisure practices that emerged on an unprecedented scale after 1945. To explain the rapid change and expansion of global mobility, World War II is often seen as the primary causal agent in the creation of modern mass tourism. As Valene Smith explains, "the technological innovations which helped to win that war also spawned peace-time airborne international tourism and the awareness that freedom to travel is a human right." Built into the causal relationship between war and tourism is an enduring normative impulse that resonates in the prevailing discourse of global security. In reaction to the horrors of World War II (especially the nuclear bombs), mass tourism was promoted as the means to greater global understanding, the reduction of conflict, and the creation of a lasting world peace. By visiting other places and cultures, people could "see for themselves" that what unites us as human beings is much stronger than what divides us. This belief emerges most explicitly when tourism, "the world's new peace industry," promotes the "global village" as the ultimate destination for liberal-minded tourists:
Through tourism we can come rather to an appreciation of the rich human, cultural, and ecological diversity that our world mosaic offers. ... The collective outcomes of these travel and tourism experiences help all humankind to appreciate the full meaning of the "Global Village" and the bonds that people everywhere have with one another.
The argument here is that because tourism encourages a respect for diversity, it can protect the entire "world mosaic" from the horrors of war. The "peacemaking" role of tourism connects directly to the "civilizational" argument entailed in the discourse of global security. World peace comes about when tourists visit and learn about different ways of life, when they see more of the "world mosaic" they belong to. But the kind of "global understandings" promoted within this vision of tourism can emerge only when the prerequisite qualities of liberalism, tolerance, and equality are in place. In short, making the world safe for democracy also means making it safe for tourism. Tourism becomes a positive force for democratic change because along with the economic benefits of hard currency, tourism also introduces liberalism, tolerance, and equality: it is a peaceful way to universalize the "good" and "just" life that democracy provides for those within the global village.
Although the specific technologies of World War II made the emergence of global tourism possible, war in general became the event that global tourism worked hardest to oppose. While the very definitions of tourism are historically attached to World War II (e.g., prewar or postwar tourism), the moral purpose behind global tourism lies in its attempt to create global peace through an understanding of diversity. However, understanding the relationship between war and tourism in causal terms--war causes tourism, tourism causes peace--prepares the ground for the modern separation of these two phenomena. Very simply, war and tourism must be separate phenomena in order for one to cause the other. To the extent that this division is maintained, the prevailing discourse of global security remains intact. In tracing how the separation between war and tourism is produced and repeated, it is possible to reimagine the liberal underpinnings of the discourse of global security.
Separation and Sanitation
Regulating the War/Tourism Divide
Given the importance of World War II in the birth of modern tourism, it is curious that war is subsequently distanced from tourist practice. From the causal attachment comes a simple equation: because modern tourism prospers only where danger is absent, and war is the apotheosis of violence and danger, tourist sites can never be co-present with immediate war and danger. This equation accords with a discourse of global security that protects those parts of the globe where liberal democracy prospers. For modern tourism to operate freely in those places, war must be banished elsewhere in space (to "hot spots" of the globe) and locked away in the annals of history (to be recounted as heroic battle victories). The discourse of global security ensures that war and tourism are distanced from one another both spatially and temporally, and this article reveals powerful practices of sanitation at work in that separation.
The regulation of safety and danger in the war/tourism relationship makes sense when it is organized around what John Urry has called the modern tourist gaze. In Urry's formulation, tourism involves a movement away from the everyday places of work and home and an engagement with a fixed system of signs and markers that are already known to be of cultural and historical significance. These signs are valued by the tourist primarily because they are different from home. Therefore, markers located along an already inscribed tourist route (e.g., the Great Wall of China, the Grand Canyon, Niagara Falls) are understood primarily within a discourse of the extraordinary that shapes the way places are desired and consumed. However, while providing a sequence of "extraordinary" sites for the visitor, the tourist gaze must also guarantee the security of its subjects within that circuit. Therefore, to become an important marker within modern tourism, a site must be both special and safe. Tourists need something extraordinary to see (hence the promotion of diversity and the location of otherness), but they also need a sense of security as they experience foreign lands. Therefore, modern tourism always negotiates between two competing and often contradictory discourses: the extraordinary (tourism must engage with difference) and security (tourism must guarantee safety during that engagement). The installation of the safety/danger binary here can be understood in the following way: when war appears on the horizon of the tourist gaze, the discourse of the extraordinary gives way to the discourse of security. No matter how exotic or different a place is, if the safety of the tourist cannot be ensured, then that place will be excised from the circuit of the tourist gaze. And it is in the expulsion of danger that the process of sanitation begins.
Dividing Territory: Safe Zones and War Zones
In the first instance, the war/tourism opposition is guaranteed geographically: tourists want to be as far away from physical danger as possible. Therefore, a geographical imagination full of all. the different "elsewheres" one could visit is further divided into "zones of safety" where the modern tourist gaze operates freely, and "off-limits" areas where the tourist gaze refuses to enter. Newspaper travel sections warn, "There is a world of adventure out there, but we must learn to accept that some of it may be off-limits, and "There are some places where even the most intrepid travelers fear to tread." Many of these "off-limits" areas are so named because of their proximity to a war zone. For example, most of the Middle East, the Balkans, and sub-Saharan Africa are "too dangerous" for most tourists who followed the wars in the Gulf, Bosnia, Rwanda, and Somalia on their television screens. By locating and avoiding dangerous places on the globe, the tourist gaze is redirected to "safety zones" that are guaranteed to be both special and secure. Each time the safety/danger opposition is invoked to direct and redirect tourist destinations, the spatial separation of war and tourism is accomplished.
To address the geographical imagination at work here it is necessary to unpack the argument that tourism is an engine for peace. Because tourism exemplifies the "enlightened" practice of appreciating and tolerating difference, it further divides safe places into "zones of enlightenment" and "zones of diversity," both of which are placed in opposition to danger. Very simply, there are certain places that produce tourists and there are certain places that are produced for tourists to consume--and both must be protected from violent places that are off-limits to tourism altogether.
However, as tourism adopts the spatial coding of global security, it automatically inherits the moral arguments underscoring liberal democracy and Western civilization. For example, journalist and travel writer Robert Kaplan is obsessed with predicting "The Coming Anarchy"--when those dangerous "off-limits" places eventually spill over and threaten our sanctified Western homes. The "anarchy" is identified in the "devastated parts of the world," "cultural disasters--like those in Bosnia, Chechnya, and Rwanda today," "the unfashionable regions of the third world," and "the abyss on which so much of the world now teeters." A more familiar positioning of danger is represented by the tourist gaze that frames Francis Fukuyama's lament at the passing of history. Those of us who have reached the end of history (and thus the end of ideological struggle) have acquired the right to gaze upon (1) those unfortunate souls still "mired" in an endless repetition of ethnic, religious, and civilizational conflict, and (2) "our" own history of struggle--enlightened folk are tourists locked in the "perpetual caretaking of the museum of human history." The territorialization evident in Kaplan and Fukuyama shapes the tourist gaze: tourists do not go to the "cultural disasters" Kaplan describes, because the only time the tourist can safely encounter danger is in museum displays.
Telling the History of War: The Practice of Commemoration
As Fukuyama's lament illustrates, there is an important historical structure built into the cartography of safety and danger. While the tourist gaze locates current danger in places that are far away, tourists are keen to experience the events of war to the extent that they occurred "farther back" in history. In other words, tourists will visit what used to be a war zone because their safety is temporally secured--the danger of war remains in the past.
This temporality works in tandem with the territorialization of safety/danger by producing important sites of commemoration so that tourists can easily access war at a historical distance. Although the names of famous battles invoke images of violence--the beaches of Normandy, Guadalcanal, Pearl Harbor, Vimy Ridge, Passchendaele, the Somme--tourists are safe in their present encounters because many months and years separate them from the bloodshed they are there to revere. The metaphors abound here: instead of battalions of soldiers colonizing a strategic site, "hordes of tourists" commemorate (by viewing) and consume (by purchasing souvenirs) territory that once hosted an important national/ historical battle. As Smith suggests, the "memorabilia of warfare" such as battlefields, war memorials, military graveyards, battle reenactments, and monuments, "probably constitute the largest single category of tourist attractions in the world." And as long as those wars are safely tucked away in the annals of history, tourists are untouched by its danger and violence--their security enables them to gaze contentedly upon what was once a site of carnage.
As the tourist gaze is directed back in history to sites of war that are temporally distant, a chronological layer is added to the territorial displacement of danger. As artists and architects Elizabeth Diller and Ricardo Scofidio remark:
A location where a soldier died for a cause will undoubtedly be visited by others. There are few battle sites that remain unmarked, unmonumented, or free from evaluation in guidebooks. As war ensures tourism, it also needs tourism's continuous commemoration, and commemoration needs spatial fixity.
As Diller and Scofidio suggest, past wars guarantee future tourism. But the relationship works the other way as well: tourism is the primary mechanism by which subjects gain access to wars of the past. In other words, a nation's military history is continually repeated by tourist practices of commemoration. As tourists move through already organized historical battle sites, they are encouraged to remember war in particular ways. Tourism gathers and orders disparate events (such as conflicts and wars) into a single, homogeneous, national narrative that can be easily accessed by tourists--both citizens and foreigners. The national stories activated in tourist sites achieve currency through their continual repetition over time and across generations. It is not just returning soldiers that visit cemeteries, bunkers, and monuments--more often than not, it is the generations that do not possess a living memory of the war that visit these sites.
To go back to Saving Private Ryan, it is precisely the search for these generational connections that bookends the film: it is not just an older Private Ryan that returns to Omaha Beach, but his sons and daughters and grandchildren as well. This is how the modern tourist gaze sanitizes history: it demands simple reconstructions of military battles and attaches them to a bounded national narrative that is cross-generational in its appeal.
Within this sanitized tourist gaze, national heritage can never be a complex matter: there are clear winners and losers who participate in important events that are repeated in each structured commemoration. But access to those events is highly disciplined-tourists are encouraged to "follow" the narrative of war being presented (the closer the better) and discouraged from asking questions about what that narrative excludes or silences in the name of the consumptive tourist gaze. By interpreting acts of war within already constructed national narratives, tourists are persuaded to forget the violence of the event they are witnessing. The modern tourist gaze makes it very difficult to hear those "other" stories of warfare that do not run along national lines, stories that illustrate the complexities of nation building, the contingencies and chaos of battle, and the unrepresentable nature of violence and trauma.
Mitigating Danger Through Tourism: The Sanitation of Conflict
The job of tourist professionals is to make military history "come alive" for consumers who may or may not have any personal connection to the battle being represented. Tourism makes it easier for visitors to understand "what exactly happened" during a particular battle, and helps them situate that narrative within already circulating national mythologies.
But these practices of simplification must reconcile two competing desires: the tourists' wish to brush against the danger and heroism of war, and their vacation requirements of comfort and leisure. Tourists must be reassured: although they have come to see places where carnage took place, these sites are not only perfectly safe but also complete with modern conveniences. Holt's Tours, a British company specializing in trips to historic battlefields, must manage the competing desires for danger and leisure expressed by their customers. For those who prefer to get their history from "actual encounters" rather than films, Holt's Tours offered a 1998 summer holiday in the Bordeaux region entitled "Stop the Das Reich Division" that traced the battle depicted at the end of Saving Private Ryan. As well as learning how the French Resistance tried to stop the Second SS Panzer Division, tourists were also able to experience the pleasures of summertime in France:
This tour takes us to the less travelled areas of Limousin ... and covers the momentous events of June, 1944. ... We will visit this still-destroyed small town, a memorial to the brutality suffered by the French. But this varied tour is not all horrors. There are good things in life, too--spectacular countryside, beautiful chateaux, a visit to Limoges (famous for its porcelain) and a notable claret vineyard, and the enjoyment of good food and wine.
Lest the tourists get too gloomy with the reminders of what war is really like (this particular battle resulted in mass hangings, shootings, the deportation of citizens, and the sacking of the village), they must also be promised the consumptive perks of modern tourism. In this way, the trauma of war is continually kept at a distance from the tourist through conveniently timed opportunities for leisure and consumerism (touring a vineyard and purchasing porcelain).
While both danger and leisure are given free rein in Limoges, more recent conflicts illustrate how the onset of violence eclipses the desire for the extraordinary and the provision of leisure. In other words, the vanishing tourist gaze is one of the first signs of geopolitical instability. For example, important tourist revenues from the Dalmatian coast disappeared when war broke out in the former Yugoslavia: understandably, tourists were more concerned about their safety than they were about having a sunny holiday on the Adriatic. But the process of sanitation became explicit only after the conflicts were over and Croatia attempted to win back the tourist gaze.
For cities like Dubrovnik that rely on tourism for economic survival, the effects of the war are still continuing--they must now come up with the resources and marketing strategies to combat the images of warfare that tourists still associate with Croatia and more recently with neighboring Kosovo. In response, the Croatian Tourist Board developed a campaign to promote a "peaceful" holiday resort where tourists can access history, relax in nature, and not worry about the political situation in the Balkans. The postcard advertisement shown in Figure 1, published in early 1998, expresses this strategy. Suggesting that the "architectural jewel" of ancient Dubrovnik is "completely undisturbed" sanitizes what was recently a strategic site in the Bosnian conflict. Advertisements such as these encourage tourists to actively forget the massive shelling of Dubrovnik that occurred during the winter of 1991-92.
A much more repetitive version of sanitation is occurring in Northern Ireland. One of the early strategies for luring the tourist gaze to Belfast was to pretend "the troubles" in Northern Ireland never occurred. The promotion of tourism therefore focused on the rural idyll of the Irish countryside, the friendly, "muddled" and "talkative" qualities of the Irish people, and the serenity of an "unsophisticated" but "magic" landscape. Images of leisure and recreation in a rural setting emerge as antidotes to media images and news reports of a wartorn Belfast. Aimed especially at British tourists, this "rural" image of Northern Ireland was promoted as a perfect weekend getaway (see Figure 2).
However, when those peaceful images of leisure still failed to attract visitors, the Northern Ireland Tourist Board developed another strategy. While tacitly recognizing "the troubles," the NITB sought to reassure tourists that Northern Ireland is "not as bad as people think." Guidebooks and promotions suggested that the public's violent images were the result of an overzealous media: "Most people, dependent on the media for their information, see Northern Ireland as a community in turmoil--wracked by violence, bitterly divided, socially regressive. That perception is wrong." To combat this image, two different explanations were offered: Belfast is not as dangerous as other tourist destinations (especially US cities), and "the troubles" are contained in very specific areas (Western Belfast, Londonderry, the Falls Road, and the Shankill Road), where tourists do not go. Although the NITB cannot control media images of Northern Ireland, the suggestion here is that the violence in Northern Ireland is manageable, and thus safe for tourists.
The spatiotemporal distance between war and tourism is clear in these three examples: the tourist gaze requires a widely accepted cessation to military activity before the operations of tourism can be introduced. In the case of Bordeaux, security is not an immediate issue as tourists move freely from vineyards to war memorials. But in countries recently unsettled by conflict, the promotion of tourism actively relies on practices of sanitation. Visual images of common tourist sites such as beaches, famous historic buildings, and leisure facilities are an attempt to erase the recent media images of war. Places like Dubrovnik and Belfast will be accepted back into the tourist gaze only if tourists are encouraged to forget that Dubrovnik was recently shelled and that Belfast has for years been plagued with sectarian violence. Lingering events like the Kosovo intervention and the Omagh bombing work to contaminate these attempts at sanitation. What is revealed in these interruptions are the connections between war and tourism that sanitized tourist encounters attempt to silence.
The Excessive Gaze
Critiquing the War/Tourism Opposition
To suggest that war and tourism are separate phenomena is to ignore the changing and multiple practices of both activities. The "acceptable" understanding of the change in tourism is that it has expanded into a global space. Although it is possible to say that tourism touches every part of the globe in its production and consumption of place, it is not possible to argue that access to those places is equally distributed. The "freedom of movement" argument, while initially attractive, ignores the overwhelming inequalities that are embedded in the workings of global tourism (e.g., ecological destruction, cultural commodification, the physical deterioration of historical sites, child-sex tourism, the increasing power of multinational corporations).
Likewise, even the most fleeting glance at post-1945 conflict suggests that the practices of war have changed dramatically since the bombs dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki. The protracted years of the Cold War that saw repeated attempts to contain armed conflict have given way to an arena in which violence does not, and cannot, remain within an allotted sovereign space. New technologies of communication, transportation, surveillance, and destruction make it difficult to define warfare, organize appropriate interventions, and allocate responsibility for atrocities. To the extent that war and tourism can be mapped neatly onto a global imaginary of (1) safety/presence/home and (2) danger/absence/elsewhere, these two phenomena remain not only separate but also immutable. However, by taking contemporary transformations of war and tourism into account, it is possible to argue that tourist sites and war zones are, and have always been, connected in much more complex ways than causality or separation.
Although the tourist gaze is useful in positioning a hegemonic circuit of "visitable" sites, it loses its currency when the discourses of "the extraordinary" and "the secure" are disrupted. By reimagining the tourist gaze through its failures and excesses, it is possible to problematize the safety/danger opposition it shares with the discourse of global security. Rethinking compartmentalized "safe zones" and "danger zones" requires a different understanding of territory that takes into account the multiple orderings of space and power. Likewise with the temporal displacement of danger: sanitized histories work only when the dangers of yesterday's battles are kept just there--yesterday.
But "history" has a funny way of repeating itself, of coming back to haunt even the most sanitized places. When war refuses to stay put in museum displays and monuments, when trauma erupts on an unpredictable global stage, it can no longer be contained by a modern tourist gaze that pursues the extraordinary to the extent that it is safe. Urry's formulation of the tourist gaze is limited because it ends up instigating its own figuration of what tourism is, what tourists do, and what the material effects of these practices are.
In illustrating the exclusions and hierarchies of a thing called "tourism," Urry's formulation misses the fact that the central ethos of all travel is movement. That is to say, in mapping what the tourist gaze is, where it occurs, and who performs it, Urry stabilizes events and moments that refuse containment and resist static formulations. Tourist practices are never as homogeneous as the tourist gaze suggests: tourism comes in different forms, it involves complex practices, it is highly mobile, and it creates multiple and unstable subject positions. Rethinking the tourist gaze suggests that not all tourists view the world in the same way; indeed, some are critical and even reflexive in the face of difference and otherness. No matter how rigorous and profligate the disciplining mechanisms of the tourist gaze are (the most obvious symbol of this regulation being the guidebook), tourists both fail and exceed the instructions produced by the tourist gaze. It is easy to see how tourism becomes a competitive event in terms of "been there, done that"--the tourist who views the most sites in the least amount of time wins. In this way, tourists are always bound to "fail" as they struggle to fulfill the requirements of "total global vision = total global knowledge"--an equation embedded in the tourist gaze.
Furthermore, Urry's term gaze implies that visual consumption is sustained over a period of time. But as David Chaney suggests, it is more appropriate to say that tourists only glimpse produced moments of other places, cultures, and histories. Much tourist practice works against the disciplining force of the gaze: tourists get bored, they misread signs, they trespass, they lose their guidebooks, and they experience jet lag. Chaney's refiguration of tourism through the "glimpse" illustrates the ephemerality of sites, the unfinished and substitutable nature of desired objects, and the reflexive engagements that tourists are capable of. Unfashionable as it may be, I want to push that "failure" and argue that tourists are never completely governed: they produce and resist the divisions of safety and danger that the tourist gaze imposes.
Along with "failing" to discipline tourists, the tourist gaze also exceeds its own configuration. Urry's formulation is problematic because it misses the complex workings of power in tourist practice. Tourists do much more than gaze--they act, they encounter, they perform, they effect, and they leave their mark. These "material" moments are important because they puncture the usual image of the passive gazing tourist and make the mechanics and technologies of power explicit. Interpreting Saving Private Ryan through the tourist gaze requires one to accept that the return of the aging Private Ryan and his family to the Omaha Beach graveyard resolves the trauma that the film opens with. Spielberg's cinematic conclusion suggests that tourism not only symbolizes a time of peace, it instigates a process of healing through commemoration.
But that image of resolution covers over the mechanics of power that play out in that scene: What are the political/economic conditions that construct this encounter (e.g., peaceful relations between France and the United States that encourage tourism, the wealth of the Ryan family that allows them to have holidays)? What subjects are made possible and important here (e.g., wealthy US tourists, former soldiers, victorious allies), and which are silenced or excluded (e.g., German tourists, "other" Allied soldiers that participated in D-Day, other tourists with no personal connection to the graveyard, the local population)? Why is this encounter happening at this point in history and what technologies go into making this encounter possible now? In encouraging the resolution of trauma through commemoration, the tourist gaze disciplines the practices of tourists in accordance with the safety/danger cartography of global security. To resist that regulation, it is necessary to illustrate how tourists fail to live up to the "proper modes of reverence" expected in sites of commemoration, just as they exceed the disciplining mechanisms aimed at keeping them in their place.
Collapsing War and Tourism
Desiring Danger, Performing Safety, and Targeting Tourists
A reimagined relationship between war and tourism can be understood as a series of already established connections between safety and danger. The failures and excesses of the tourist gaze illustrate the contaminations between war and tourism and between safety and danger. When war zones actually seduce tourists, when soldiers in war zones make sense of their foreign location through tourist practices, and when tourists become the explicit targets of terrorist acts aimed at foreign bodies, the war/tourism, safety/danger constellation implodes.
The Curiosity Factor of Political Tourism: From War Zone to Theme Park
If the starting figuration of the tourist gaze is the safety of home, and if tourism works according to a discourse of security as well as a discourse of the extraordinary, then what could be further from the safe, ordinary home than the dangerous war zone? The tourist gaze is so adaptable that it now seeks out and colonizes dangerous places. While recent newspaper articles seek to explain the desire for "remote, forbidding, and downright dangerous holiday destinations," travel companies are quickly trying to cash in on this new brand of political tourism called "war-zone hopping." Many tourists are not content with what they see as the "already packaged" superficial circuits of mass tourism. As a result, intrepid travelers are finding other ways to satiate their desire for a rare combination of the exotic and the dangerous. While the discourse of the extraordinary remains, the discourse of security is completely turned around so danger is now the object of desire.
In trying to attract these intrepid travelers, recent sites of war have developed their own economy of tourist signs and markers that highlight sites of carnage for visitors. The earlier example of Dubrovnik suggested that the marketing strategies used to lure tourists back had to evacuate all signs of recent warfare. But what you find when you arrive at Dubrovnik is something quite the opposite. At strategic places around the walls of the city, there are maps that show in detail exactly where bombs exploded--maps that direct the tourist along a malevolent, rather than sanitized, cartography. Black triangles indicate roofs damaged by direct impact; white triangles indicate roofs hit by shrapnel; black dots indicate where pavement has been damaged by bombs or shrapnel. It is now possible to tour the city and focus specifically on these sites of recent destruction instead of the more obvious signs of ancient architecture and cultural difference. Rather than as an "undisturbed" historical site, Dubrovnik is experienced as a site of recent military aggression still surrounded by the seductive element of danger. This desire for visible signs of war damage is expressed in the postcard shown in Figure 3, one of a set of four available at the main tourist office in Dubrovnik. Tourists are thus able to witness how "undisturbed" national heritage (embodied in the sixteenth-century architecture) became an explicit target in the recent war. More importantly for the war tourists, they can see and touch the signs of recent conflict--from bullet holes and shell damage to bomb craters.
Likewise in Belfast, national and private tour companies have been quick to recognize the benefits of this new brand of political tourism. As the Northern Ireland Tourist Board suggests: "The opportunity to harness this "curiosity factor" should not be overlooked as a positive factor in encouraging people to visit and understand Northern Ireland." Before the recent tourism campaigns, public buses avoided the "dangerous" areas, but now Citybus operates a "Living History" tour that focuses on the "oddly fascinating ... vivid and sometimes highly artistic displays of street mural propaganda" depicting Belfast's "colourful history." In this case, tourism in Belfast is less about the passive consumption of a "magical country" than it is about actively questing for authentic scenes of "the troubles." The photographer of the murals shown in Figures 4 and 5 explains the desire to visit recent war zones in much the same way that Fukuyama expresses a nostalgia for the battles of history:
With the Berlin Wall gone and the rest of Europe which used to be behind the Iron Curtain now seen as boring rather than exotic, there is no tourist thrill left to counterbalance the perceived boredom of social democratic, materialist, consumption-oriented Germany. Ireland is still romantic and exotic; it is the closest thrill available.
It remains to be seen what will happen to these sites as they are quickly engulfed by "political tourism," but we can surmise that with the current marketing of places like Dubrovnik and Belfast, war tourism is fast becoming a part of contemporary "adventure travel."
The recent transformation of Sarajevo illustrates a more contemporary version of tourism's colonization of the war zone. In early 1996, a year after the conflict ceased, there were tours operating in Sarajevo that began at sniper's alley and then moved through the marketplace, the cemetery, and the damaged mosques. Along this "Massacre Trail," tourists were able to purchase bullets, shells, and shrapnel as souvenirs of their visit to the destroyed city. It should be clear that the boundary being negotiated in these examples of contemporary war tourism is that between curiosity and voyeurism. That limit was definitely crossed by the Italian travel agent who offered his clients a special "October war-zone" tour in Bosnia: "For $25,000 apiece, 'a dozen crazy people' ... could spend two weeks in a war zone, accompanied by doctors and security forces, but without weapons of their own--only cameras."
As these events suggest, the discourses surrounding the wartourism relationship are no longer the extraordinary and the secure, but rather a curious combination of danger, seduction, aesthetics, and the secure. As one tourist to Sarajevo put it: "While there is a feel of 'war chic' because of the pock-marked buildings, the visitor is safe." This kind of "safeguarded voyeurism" is an integral part of the danger at work here: tourists are protected from harm because the conflict itself is over--but only just. Even in the most intrepid journeys, the powerful discourse of security remains. The desire for danger is still sanitized by the mobile and sensitive nature of tourism: because tourists are defined by their movement, they can also move away from any "real" threat to their lives. Unlike soldiers who are stuck in territories and positions, the tourist retains the privilege of escape.
A Tour of Duty: Leisurely Soldiers and the Performance of Safety
While it is possible to understand how holidaymakers are subject to the disciplining practices of the tourist gaze, it is more difficult to see how those outside the "zones of safety" can be regulated in the same way. As Sergeant Horvath's collection of foreign soil in Saving Private Ryan illustrates, even soldiers experiencing the trauma of war adopt some version of the modern tourist gaze. What soldiers and tourists have in common is mobility, their physical migration from one territory (home) to another (foreign land). Because so much of our postwar movement in the world is governed by the tourist gaze, it makes sense that soldiers being transported by boat, plane, car, and tank might make sense of their movement in similar ways to tourists. While soldiers and tourists find themselves in extraordinary surroundings for very different reasons (the former for battle, the latter for curiosity), the way they interpret and make sense of those surroundings bears resemblance. For example, if the tourist gaze cannot enter the war zone, why do soldiers take cameras on their operations?
Soldiers in foreign lands call upon the same consumptive "gazing" practices as tourists: they passively view the sights, they appreciate the picturesque, they seek out the extraordinary, and, like Sergeant Horvath, they collect foreign souvenirs. The connections between the tourist gaze and military operations are made explicit in recruitment posters aimed at potential soldiers: "Enlist as one of the 50,000 men for overseas service. Personally conducted tours for soldier sightseers" (1919) or "Navy. It's the chance to travel around the world and see places most people only read about" (1993). As the modern tourist gaze instructs, all subjects moving to foreign landscapes--including soldiers--memorialize their journeys with snapshots, postcards, purchases, and souvenirs. Because the governing regime of the tourist gaze tells subjects what they are supposed to do when traveling abroad, soldiers documenting a wartime "tour" of duty overseas align with tourists recording a peacetime "holiday" in foreign lands.
This is a complicated fracture: the tourist gaze is part of a larger network of practices within which soldiers domesticate hostile foreign spaces and make them more familiar, more safe, more like home. This "militarized" tourist gaze emerges in R&R sites where occupying forces make use of existing leisure spaces in order to rejuvenate their fighting forces (e.g., China Beach for US soldiers in Vietnam and the Dalmatian coast for peacekeepers during the Bosnian conflict). When soldiers play at being tourists--by taking pictures, by enjoying R&R--the tourist gaze is exceeded: its safety/danger opposition is ruptured by the placement of safe enclaves within hostile war zones. Just as tourists become soldiers by deliberately going to dangerous places, soldiers become tourists when they transform a threatening war zone into a "home away from home."
The War on Tourism: Targeting Sites and Bodies
A more obvious collapse of the war/tourism opposition is the targeting of foreign tourists in the service of terrorism. For example, tourists visiting Luxor in 1997 were attacked by six gunmen who claimed to be members of a vanguard Islamic organization. Of the fifty-eight tourists killed in the attack, several were foreign nationals from Britain, Japan, Germany, Switzerland, and France. Tourists are foreign civilians on foreign soil, and as such they become the symbolic representation of otherness. In the case of Luxor, the tourists symbolized Western hegemony.
However, it is not just the bodies of tourists that are being targeted by acts of war--it is the material sites of tourism as well. While mobile tourists are able to avoid places that qualify as dangerous (or at least have an escape route planned if they are really intrepid), material artifacts in "hot spots" remain available for terrorist or military aggression. For example, the world was outraged when the JNA bombed the ancient city of Dubrovnik because the United Nations had declared Dubrovnik a world-heritage city. But this global status is precisely why the walled city was targeted: it symbolized the heritage of the Croatian nation, and to destroy key symbols in a nation's memory is to destroy its material fabric and identity. Because buildings last longer than citizens and subjects, in many ways they are more appropriate repositories of national memory--all of which makes the bombing and burning of the library in Sarajevo or the terrorist attack on the Uffizi Museum in Florence so abhorrent. While the loss of tourist life embodies its own horror, the loss of memories embedded in historically significant sites and buildings can also be regarded as a tragedy.
These complex linkages between war, heritage, and tourism are expressed by Israel's actions following the Gulf War: "After the war, Israel billed the U.S. $200 million in reparations for direct war damages from Iraqi scud attacks and an additional $400 million in lost revenues from tourism. Simultaneously, the ruins of Kuwait almost immediately began to draw tourist attention." As this example demonstrates, targeting historically significant sites destroys not only the architectural and cultural heritage of a community, it also destroys the potential for future tourism. If one accepts the initial formulation of war and tourism as separate practices, acts of terrorist violence against tourists would destroy the assumption that the tourist gaze ensures safety. In other words, tourists should have stopped going to Egypt after the Luxor bombing. But instead, the opposite has happened: travel to the Middle East is growing, and Egypt continues to receive an annual income of $3 billion from tourism. It seems the modern tourist gaze operates undeterred by the increasing terrorist attacks on its subjects. It continues to invade and retreat at will, it continues to colonize "unstable" but "highly strategic" areas (the Middle East, the Balkans), and in doing so it increasingly positions tourist practices and military operations alongside one another.
International Relations and the Tourist Gaze
If we accept the global imaginary of safety and danger, then a separation of war and tourism seems logical. But that kind of understanding does not allow for the bus tours currently going to Sarajevo, the backpackers crawling through the Chu Chi tunnels along the Mekong (most not even born during the Vietnam War), or visitors gawking at the remains of the Omagh bombing. This article argues that the discourse of global security informing the tourist gaze must be reworked in order to capture the multiple practices that tourists engage in. With the examples of voyeurism, soldiers taking pictures, terrorists bombing tourists, and tours of recent war zones, the initial separation of war and tourism cannot be sustained.
By collapsing the events of war and tourism, it is possible to ask how the tourist gaze might also inform our studies and practices in international relations. The subjects who participate in and make sense of world politics--scholars, researchers, diplomats, civil servants, aid workers, bureaucrats--adopt a "gaze" that is similar to the tourist. Just as the tourist gaze allows visitors to locate and understand the "natural" beauty of the Grand Canyon, scholars and practitioners of world politics are able to locate and understand the violence and conflict of places like Belfast and Bosnia. The "spectacular site" is to tourism what war zones are to international relations--the former stuffed with an abundance of the "extraordinary," the latter overflowing with danger, power, and violence.
How do we, as students and scholars in international relations, locate danger and conflict if not as tourists? Maybe the geographical and historical displacements at the heart of all travel are further augmented by our intellectual distance from the world, locked as we are in theories, ideas, and debates. Perhaps tourists are less offensive than we are. After all, they just want to look and consume, whereas we want to rescue, save, and change the world--we want to make it a better place. I want to suggest that in the midst of those normative desires, we are too often paralyzed by a particular version of ambulance chasing. Maybe tourists, passive, complaining, and disgruntled as they often are, are less righteous (more ethical?) than the meddling NGO worker, the visionary diplomat, or the pedantic IR scholar.
The author would like to thank Tarak Barkawi, Andrew Linklater, and Martin Coward for comments on an earlier draft of this article; audience members and participants at the 1998 BISA panel "Deterritorializing Disasters" for their provocative questions; and Simon Bainbridge, Ann Julie Crozier, Richard Kirkland, and Patricia Molloy for more specific suggestions of war/tourist sites.
Valene Smith, "War and Tourism: An American Ethnography," Annals of Tourism Research 25, no. 1 (1998): 202. Smith's article suggests that World War II caused tourism through the shift of transport technologies from military to civilian sectors, the emergence of "overseas" as a concrete notion for returning soldiers, and the business opportunities in the tourist industry created by postwar economic programs.
Louis D'Amore, "Tourism--the World's Peace Industry," Journal of Travel Research 27 (summer 1988): 39.
Smith offers human rights and intervention as examples of the positive normative connections between tourism and global security. Firstly, as a "human right," the freedom to travel is attached to the list of more "fundamental" rights (e.g., freedom of speech) currently striving for universal expression. Secondly, the potential economic benefits of modern tourism can be used retroactively as a justification for military intervention. As Smith suggests, "the avoidance of war through intervention, if successful, preserves political hegemony and tourism revenues." Smith, note 1, p. 220.
John Urry, The Tourist Gaze: Leisure and Travel in Contemporary Societies (London: Sage, 1990). Urry's study is important because it gives the usual statistical and economic indicators (e.g., arrivals, departures, revenues) a more sociological meaning: it is not statistics that produce the tourist gaze; rather, it is the way those figures are given meaning and value within prevailing social and cultural discourses. See also Dean MacCannell, The Tourist: A New Theory of the Leisure Class (New York: Schocken Books, 1976) and Empty Meeting Grounds: The Tourist Papers (London: Routledge, 1992).
Mark Brace, "Looking for Trouble?" Guardian travel section, January 23, 1999, p. 9; Andrew Mueller, "Postcards from the Edge," "The Guide," Guardian, January 17-23, 1998, p. 4.
Tourists can identify "hot spots" by accessing the daily travel warnings issued by national governments concerned about the safety of their citizens abroad. See http://travel.state.gov/travel%5fwarnings.htmlfor the latest US consular information sheets.
Robert Kaplan, The Ends of the Earth:Journey in the Dawn of the 21st Century (London: Papermac, 1997)--see quotations from book reviews on the back cover.
Francis Fukuyama, "The End of History?" National Interest 16 (summer 1989): 18.
These "battlefield" sites (along with the beds of famous heroes and presidents) were the subject of artist-architects Diller and Scofidio's 1994 traveling installation "Suitcase Studies: The Production of a National Past," documented in their Back to the Front: Tourisms of War (Basse-Normandie: F.R.A.C., 1994), pp. 44-105. This text, edited by Diller and Scofidio, is an invaluable critical engagement with the war/tourism relationship as all of the essays are provocative and theoretically sophisticated commentaries on the conjunction of danger and voyeurism.
Smith, note 1, p. 205. See also Valene Smith, "War and Its Tourist Attractions," in A. Pizam and Y. Mansfield, eds., Tourism, Crime and International Security (Chichester, UK: Wiley, 1996).
Diller and Scofidio, note 9, pp. 25-26.
For further comments on historical forgetting, see Sylvie Zavatta, "The Past Perfect(ed) or The Creation of an Historical Space," in Diller and Scofidio, note 9, pp. 8-17. Phyllis Turnbull refers to the cross-generational appeal of tourism by explaining how the film shown at the USS Arizona memorial in Pearl Harbor is directed at those born well after the raid; see "Remembering Pearl Harbor: The Semiotics of the Arizona Memorial," in Michael J. Shapiro and Hayward Alker, eds., Challenging Boundaries: Global Flows, Territorial Identities (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 1996), p. 418.
"Stop the Das Reich Division," in Holt's Tours 1998 brochure Battlefields and History (Canterbury, UK: Simon Edridge, 1998), p. 23.
Sandra Weber, "War, Terrorism, and Tourism," in Annals of Tourism Research 25, no. 3:760-763 summarizes the proceedings of the international conference "War, Terrorism and Tourism: Crisis and Recovery," held in Dubrovnik, September 15-27, 1997.
"Croatia: A New Welcome, An Old Friend," advertisement by the Croatian Tourist Board, in "Weekend," Guardian, February 14, 1998, p. 58.
See John Cunningham, "Travel Paradise Rebuilt," in "Weekend," Guardian, July 5, 1997, p. 60.
Bill Rolston, "Selling Tourism in a Country at War," Race and Class 37, no. 1 (1995): 24-25. For another reading of the NITB's "asserting normality" strategy, see Spurgeon Thompson, "The Commodification of Culture and Decolonization in Northern Ireland," Irish Studies Review 7, no. 1 (1999): 53-63.
Northern Ireland Tourist Office, "The Day of the Men and Women of Peace Must Surely Come" (Belfast: NITB, 1989): 59.
Ibid., p. 72.
Rolston, note 17, pp. 30-31.
This list is by no means exhaustive, but it points to important areas of tourism that require politicization; see esp. Jean Keefe and Sue Wheat, Tourism and Human Rights (London: Tourism Concern, 1998).
In response to various criticisms, Urry restates his claims in "The Tourist Gaze Revisited," American Behavioral Scientist 36, no. 2 (1992): 172-186.
David Chaney, "Metaphors of Tourism," paper presented at "Practising Places and Tourist Performances" Conference, April 6-7, 1998, Durham University.
Steven Spielberg recently explained an incident of tourist excess: in an ironic misinterpretation of the film Saving Private Ryan, tourists in Normandy visiting World War II tombstones asked the caretakers to direct them to the grave of Private Ryan (Steven Spielberg in an interview with Mark Cousins, BBC2 "War Stories," October 1998). The complex relations between fact, fiction, tourism, and spectacle are also apparent in another Spielberg-inspired event, the Schindler's List tour currently operating in Krakow, Poland; see Chris Rojek, "Indexing, Dragging, and the Social Construction of Tourist Sights," in John Urry and Chris Rojek, eds., Touring Cultures: Transformations in Travel and Theory (London: Routledge, 1997), pp. 54-55.
For various definitions of "political tourism," see Russell Watson, "'Do It, Be It, Live It'--Generation Global: Young Americans Take On the World," Newsweek, October 6, 1997, p. 34; Mueller, note 5; Smith, note 1, p. 219; and Rolston, note 17, pp. 32-34. Political tourism differs from other tourist fascinations with trauma such as those currently visiting Princess Diana's crash scene in Paris, sites that Rojek refers to as Black Spots. See Chris Rojek, Ways of Escape: Modern Transformations in Leisure and Travel (London: Macmillan, 1993), pp. 137-145.
Cunningham, note 16, p. 60.
Design and photography of the postcard is by Damir Fabijanic. The card is printed by Multigraf d.o.o (Dubrovnik, Croatia: Institute for the Restoration of Dubrovnik).
Northern Ireland Tourist Board, "The Best of Northern Ireland," reprinted in Rolston, note 17, p. 27.
Rolston, note 17, p. 31; Thompson, note 17, pp. 57-63.
Figure 4 shows the mural "Newtownards Road, Belfast, 1994." The mural reads, in part: "For as long as one hundred of us remain alive we shall never in any way consent to submit to the rule of the Irish"--plate 21 in Bill Rolston, Drawing Support 2: Murals of War and Peace (Belfast: Beyond the Pale Publications, 1995). Figure 5 shows "Rossville Street, Derry 1981, 'Get the Brits Out'; Britain, with face of Margaret Thatcher, abuses Ireland"--plate 88 in Bill Rolston, Drawing Support: Murals in the North of Ireland (Belfast: Beyond the Pale Publications, 1992).
Rolston, note 17, p. 35.
Dominic O "Reilly, "Sarajevo's 'Massacre Trail' Lures Groups of War Tourists," in Globe and Mail, March 1, 1997; see also Molloy's article in this issue of Alternatives, "Theatrical Release."
Italian tour description quoted in Thomas Keenan "Live from ... "in Diller and Scofidio, note 9, p. 136. See also Robert Young Pelton et al., Fielding's the World's Most Dangerous Places (Redondo Beach, Calif.: Fielding Worldwide, 1998).
Scarlett MccGwire, "Open for Business Again," Guardian, travel section, May 16, 1998, p. 14.
An element of horror emerges here when the souvenirs in question consist of body parts of victims (e.g., bones and ears). This is exemplified in the character named Souvenirs who collects the teeth of Japanese POWs in Jim Jones's novel The Thin Red Line (New York: Scribner's Sons, 1962); see also James J. Weingartner, "Trophies of War: U.S. Troops and the Mutilation of Japanese War Dead, 1941-1945," Pacific Historical Review 61 (February 1992): 53-67.
The 1919 slogan is from an army recruitment ad in Collier's Weekly; the 1993 slogan is from a navy recruitment ad on television--both from Diller and Scofidio, note 9, pp. 19-20.
Tom Chesshyre, "Signs of Life Emerge from the Ruins," Times Weekend, November 14, 1998, p. 27.
Diller and Scofidio, note 9, p. 20.
The massive increase in security at this site prompted one official to declare, "You are in more danger visiting places like Washington DC in the United States," Tom Chesshyre, note 37, p. 27.