Experiencing the enchantment of place and mobility

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Abstract

Experiences of place and mobility play central roles not only in what was traditionally understood as tourism, but also in the broader practices of travelling and visiting sites and sights. On the one hand, such experiences are performed to an extent where it is difficult to isolate the sites and movements experienced per se, since visitors and travellers take part in ‘doing’ places and mobility. On the other, experience sites and routes stand out with specific traces and characteristics affording some – and not other – experiences. This paper discusses conceptual understandings that may help to better analyse what it takes to perform tourist sites. Following a discussion of Walter Benjamin’s way of understanding experiences as Erlebnisse, I suggest that ideas about multiplicity and absence-presence in Actor-Network Theory can develop new insights into how place and mobility are experienced in several layers of reality. To better understand experiences taking place in intersections between realities, J.R.R. Tolkien’s concept of how real enchantment produces a Secondary World suggests that we see fantasy as real, and this proposition is compared to Georg Simmel’s more modernist suggestion that experiences (Erlebnisse) are practised as living adventures, where intersecting worlds are not apart from each other. These practices are performed in restless mobilities among places, where the connections and hints between place and mobility are central in making absence-presence tensions produce experiences. Finally, the paper discusses how the analysis of experience is related to the professional, experimental work of building a tourist attraction, exemplified by the Viking Ship Museum in Roskilde.
Translated title of the contributionAt opleve fortryllesen af sted og mobilitet
Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Consumer Culture
Volume16
Issue number2
Pages (from-to)393-411
Number of pages19
ISSN1469-5405
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 30 Jun 2016

Keywords

  • absence
  • experience
  • enchantment
  • mobility
  • place
  • tourism

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