Travels with Heidegger

Can authenticity really be attained far from home?

For decades tourism scholars took as their starting point a binary distinction between “travelers” (assumed to be in search of their selves) and “tourists” (assumed to be passive recipients of packaged experiences). This reductionist approach masked a clear class bias: people with taste and social acumen allegedly don’t tour, they travel – even when they join tours, as with adventure outfits such as REI. This distinction has morphed into an emphasis on existential authenticity in the study of tourist motivation. We travel, theorists now claim, to counter the alienation we experience in our everyday lives at home. While drawing mainly on Martin Heidegger’s work, this claim reflects a distinctly Euro-American philosophical focus running from Rousseau to Schiller, Kierkegaard to Nietzsche, and Heidegger to Sartre, on what it means to be authentic. If life at home is self-alienating, journeys elsewhere w

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Klais Surik 6 August 2022

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