The Nature of Aesthetics: How Consumer Culture has Changed our National Parks

Cognizant Communication Corporation
Publication Type:
Journal Article
Tourism Review International, 2015, 19 (4), pp. 225 - 233 (19)
Issue Date:
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Tourism is essentially a modern Western social and cultural phenomenon, the analysis of which has evolved from premodernism through to postmodernism. Tourism differs significantly from nonWestern and historical forms of travel, being closely related to the emergence of modernity with the emphasis on economic viability and consumer culture. The massive growth of tourism over the 20th century and the emergence of a multibillion dollar global tourist industry have impacted on national parks as tourists increasingly seek nature-based experiences. This has occurred in conjunction with increases in leisure time, disposable income, technological improvements in communication and transportation, demographic changes, and a shift in the axis of personal identity and meaningful social action from production to consumption. This article examines how aesthetics fits into this evolution and the current role of national parks with a focus on the emergence of their production through the mass media to a consumer market. Finally, we propose more reflexivity in regards to tourism and place image production.
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