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Posthumanism and tourism

Erik Cohen (Department of Sociology and Anthropology, Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Jerusalem, Israel)

Tourism Review

ISSN: 1660-5373

Article publication date: 25 February 2019

Issue publication date: 19 June 2019

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Abstract

Purpose

This study aims to raises the question of the potential impact of posthumanism, a stream in contemporary postmodernist philosophy, on current tourism practices and tourism studies. The author discusses its denial of some basic positions of enlightenment humanism: human exceptionalism, anthropocentrism and transcendentalism. The author then seeks to infer the implications of posthumanist thought for the basic concepts and categorical distinctions on which modern tourism and modernist tourist studies are based.

Design/methodology/approach

This paper raises the question of the potential impact of posthumanism, a stream in contemporary postmodernist philosophy, on current tourism practices and tourism studies. The author discusses its denial of some basic positions of Enlightenment humanism: human exceptionalism, anthropocentrism and transcendentalism. The author then seeks to infer the implications of posthumanist thought for the basic concepts and categorical distinctions on which modern tourism and modernist tourist studies are based. This paper raises the question of the potential impact of posthumanism, a stream in contemporary postmodernist philosophy, on current tourism practices and tourism studies. The author discusses its denial of some basic positions of Enlightenment humanism: human exceptionalism, anthropocentrism and transcendentalism. The author then seeks to infer the implications of posthumanist thought for the basic concepts and categorical distinctions on which modern tourism and modernist tourist studies are based. The author then discusses some inconsistencies in posthumanist philosophy, which stand in the way of its applicability to touristic practices, and end up with an appraisal of the significance of posthumanism for tourism studies.

Findings

The author pays specific attention to the implications of the effort of posthumanism to erase the human-animal divide for tourist-animal interaction, and of the possible impact of the adoption of posthumanist practices on the tourist industry and the ecological balance of wilderness areas. The author then discusses some inconsistencies in posthumanist philosophy, which stand in the way of its applicability to touristic practices, and end up with a brief appraisal of the significance of posthumanism for tourism studies.

Originality/value

This is the first attempt to confront tourism studies with the radical implications of posthumanist thought. It will hopefully open a new line of discourse in the field.

Keywords

Acknowledgements

The author thanks Scott A. Cohen and David A. Fennell for their comments on an earlier draft of this article.

Citation

Cohen, E. (2019), "Posthumanism and tourism", Tourism Review, Vol. 74 No. 3, pp. 416-427. https://doi.org/10.1108/TR-06-2018-0089

Publisher

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Emerald Publishing Limited

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