Research Group Transnationalism Working Paper
Travellerscapes : tourism research and transnational anthropology ; paper for the conference 'Alltag der Globalisierung. Perspektiven einer transnationalen Anthropologie', January 16-18, 2003, Institute of Cultural Anthropology and European Ethnology, Johann Wolfgang Goethe University, Frankfurt am Main
- Even though tourism has been recognised as an important field for transnational research today, there are few attempts to place tourism in the context of transnational theories or to think about transnationalism from the perspective of tourists. I argue that in researching tourist practices one can add important aspects to transnational approaches. The prerequisites of mobility and interaction for example are the features chosen by backpackers to describe what their Round-The-World-Trip is about. A form of tourism is adopted, or created, that itself confronts many aspects of globalisation: First of all there is the immense dynamic that is involved. Backpackers try to cover as many places and experiences as possible, travelling at high speed. They adopt all kinds of touristic experiences ranging from beach to adventure to culture tourism. They don't focus on a specific area or country but travel the world. They cross national borders perpetually. Additionally they form a transnational network in which they interact with strangers of similar backgrounds (other backpackers, tourist professionals). This network helps them interacting with people from different backgrounds (the socalled hosts or locals). Considering my research Backpackers forge a certain identity from these transnational practices which I want to name globedentity. Globedentity expresses a type of identity construction that not only refers to the individual (I) but reflects the world (globe) in this identity. This globedentity is not fixed but is perpetually re-created and re-defined. It also embraces the increasing popular awareness of globalisation which backpackers, coming from highly educated middle class backgrounds, in particular have identified with. Due to the constant awareness of the latest global social, cultural and economic developments in these educated milieus they know exactly which tools to use to become successful parts of their societies.