Research Group Transnationalism Working Paper
Travellerscapes : tourism research and transnational anthropology
- 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.
Practised imagination. Tracing transnational networks in Crete and beyond
- The imagination has become a major site for studying transnational cultural flows. Yet it is mainly the mass media that are explored as channels directing the imagination from "the West" towards "the rest". And there is still little empirical "testing" of this field. How do such ‐ and other ‐ imaginary sources work into social practice? And what does such "practised imagination" imply for the practice of transnational anthropology? This article attempts to address these questions from the perspective of fieldwork in progress. In and between Crete and Germany I traced transnational networks based on the reciprocal mobilities of migration, remigration, and tourism. Here, multiple domains of imagination are drawn upon by various audiences, thus effectively contributing to the creation of these relations and the places in which they localise. Anthropological research on tourism and migration has tended to separate the imagination ‐ as being an external impact ‐ from local practice. Yet, transnational ethnography needs to challenge this opposition and is in itself a strategy to do so, in that it perceives the imagination as a practice of transcending physical and cultural distance.