Flâneur or choraster: A review of the travel narrator in the formation of the tourist experience

Cognizant, LLC
Publication Type:
Journal Article
Tourism Analysis, 2019, 24, (4), pp. 551-562
Issue Date:
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© Cognizant Communication Corporation. Media representations of destinations play a powerful role in tourism appeal. The narrator assumes a role infused with knowledge and power, employing discourse to describe and interpret places and people to entice armchair audiences to not only travel vicariously alongside them, but to follow in their footsteps. This review article uses the English actor and writer Michael Palin to examine this phenomenon through the lens of the flâneur and choraster. Palin's travels have traditionally been viewed based on their ability to create space from the perspective of a representational voice of authority. In the present article, we wish to ask whether the power of the travel narrator for tourism is perhaps better expressed in their ability to develop a counter (or chora discourse), one where we are able to see space as locally contested. Palin's narrator expresses appreciation of his reliance on the people (chora) that inhabit the spaces he visits. His narrations of travel evidence how the flâneur perspective is influenced (and/or disrupted) by a chora in two ways-that which influences the perspective before travel and directs the gaze, and those that occupy and inscribe meaning on the spaces that are traveled to, that influences and/or forms experience.
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