Hidden Sights: Tourism, Representation, and Lonely Planet Cambodia

Matthew Henning Tegelberg (mtegelberg@gmail.com)
Communication and Culture, York University
October, 2006
 

Abstract

This project examines how Cambodia is constructed for global tourist consumption in the best-selling travel guide Lonely Planet. After establishing a multiperspectival framework for a discourse analysis of Lonely Planet Cambodia, this paper identifies a relationship between discursive constructions of tourist destinations, contemporary mobility practices and power. This relationship is reflected in a number of significant observations brought forth through critical analysis of the guide: First, in resemblances between LP Cambodia’s articulatory practices, dominant trends in touristic representation and popularized Western conceptions of the nation. Second, in the guide’s consistent articulation of favorable themes and a subsequent disarticulation or silencing of competing signifiers. Third, in LP Cambodia’s tendency to display photographic images that reinforce existing impressions of Cambodia at the expense of nuanced, relational and mutually gratifying modes of representation. Together, these observations evidence a pressing need for scholars to reconceptualize the way cross-cultural relations are theorized, practiced and understood.
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We wish to acknowledge the financial support of the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council for their financial support through theAid to Scholarly Journals Program.

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