Date of Award


Document Type



Edith Cowan University

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


Faculty of Communications, Health and Science

First Supervisor

Dr Ron Giblett

Second Supervisor

Dr Dennis Wood


This thesis examines the role and status of the tourist in the present day. It argues that the tourist, and the touristic experience, is emblematic of the consumption-based economy of late capitalism. It analyses tourism as a practice of, rather than opposed to, everyday life, for many subjects in late-capitalist Western society. The argument is developed by comparing and contrasting the tourist with the flâneur. The flâneur is regarded as a representative subjectivity of early modernity who developed visual and spatial practices, methodologies of movement and observation, which interpreted the city. The tourist's relationship with the global spaces of the touristic environment in the present day is theorised in terms of the same practices. The thesis argues that the established notion of a traveller/tourist distinction demonstrates the same ambiguities which attend the figure of the powerful but anxious flâneur. The thesis understands the attitudes of the so-called traveller as being compromised by the increasing commodification of the touristic spaces in the same way that Walter Benjamin (1983) describes the death of the panoptic flâneur in the metropolis. The dichotomous relationship between 'home' and ‘away' is also critiqued by identifying a close relationship between the tourism and media industries. Representations produced by the media industries act to both reinforce established discursive notions of 'other' places and peoples and to bring many representations of the touristic into everyday life. The ready availability of these representations undermines the distinction between the touristic and the everyday.