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Tourism, Design and Controversy: Calling Non-humans to Explain Ourselves


Picken, FE, Tourism, Design and Controversy: Calling Non-humans to Explain Ourselves, Tourist Studies: An International Journal, 10, (3) pp. 245-263. ISSN 1468-7976 (2010) [Refereed Article]

DOI: doi:10.1177/1468797611407757


This paper explores the kind of stories non-humans enable us to tell about tourism. It introduces a ‘relational materialist’ approach to investigate tourism through the early life of a building called Zero Davey. In providing upmarket hotel accommodation, Zero Davey imported tourism into a place that is well established as the postcard image of Hobart, Australia’s southern-most city. In adding tourism stock to the Sullivans Cove precinct, Zero Davey acted as an importation device for tourism; however, this was only the first story. The building also delivered a controversy among ‘the people’ who deemed its appearance to be ‘out of keeping’ with Sullivans Cove. While this began to mirror a fairly common dialogue between ‘hosts and guests’, neither the provision of tourist accommodation nor the architecture of the building held any significance to the importation logistics or planning approval for Zero Davey. Instead, this was founded on the building’s ability to respond to a more expert reading of Sullivans Cove and another set of norms associated with ‘geological and urban integrity’. Consequently, there were three ‘buildings’ and no final ‘body’ who could arbitrate or adequately explain Zero Davey because the tourism object, the object of controversy and the object of design were not related to each other except through the building itself. Beginning with this claim gives Zero Davey an interest in the events of its own controversy, a role in its own design and a portion of the explanation for how tourism happens.

Item Details

Item Type:Refereed Article
Research Division:Human Society
Research Group:Sociology
Research Field:Urban sociology and community studies
Objective Division:Culture and Society
Objective Group:Other culture and society
Objective Field:Other culture and society not elsewhere classified
UTAS Author:Picken, FE (Dr Felicity Picken)
ID Code:72557
Year Published:2010
Deposited By:Sociology and Social Work
Deposited On:2011-08-29
Last Modified:2015-02-12

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