Language and/for Tourism: A Sociolinguistics of Fleeting Relationships
Department of Communication
University of Washington
Friday, November 5, 2010
3:30 – 5:00 p.m.
Paccar Hall, Room 291
Described as the “one of the greatest population movements of all time,” tourism is firmly established as the world’s single largest international trade. And it’s not just people who are on tour; language too is on the move. In this talk, Crispin Thurlow will examine some of the ways that language is commonly taken up in tourism’s search for difference, exoticity, and authenticity. Specifically, he will present a series of touristic textual practices in which local languages are recontextualized, stylized and commodified in the service of tourist identities and for promoting the ideology of cosmopolitanism at the heart of tourism. These every day, ordinary, playful “textualizations” of language/s are banal enactments of globalization characterized by their largely superficial, fleeting nature. In these terms, tourism discourse is to global inequality as colour blindness is to racism; where the one hinges on its mythology of interculturality, the other relies on its rhetoric of multiculturalism. Yet both are neoliberal, neocolonial slights of hand conveniently serving the interests of the privileged (those who choose to travel and those who pass as “un-raced”), usually by concealing their material consequences and by containing difference under an earnest guise of celebration and respect. These are all ideas and data explored in two of Crispin’s newest book projects with his colleague Adam Jaworski in the Centre for Language & Communication Research at Cardiff University, Wales: Tourism Discourse (2010) and Making Contact (for 2011).
Reception to follow in same room.
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