1st Edition

Tourists, Signs and the City
The Semiotics of Culture in an Urban Landscape

ISBN 9780754678090
Published October 28, 2011 by Routledge
182 Pages

USD $160.00

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Book Description

Drawing upon the literature of landscape geography, tourism studies, cultural studies, visual studies and philosophy, this book offers a multi-disciplinary approach to understanding the interaction between urban environments and tourists. This is a necessary prerequisite for cities as they make themselves into enticing destinations and compete for tourists' attention. It argues that tourists make sense of, and draw meaningful conclusions about, the places in which they tour based upon the interpretation of the signs or elements encountered within the built environment, elements such as graffiti and lamp posts. The writings of the American pragmatist Charles S. Peirce on interpretation provide the theoretical model for explaining the way in which mind and world, or thoughts and objects, result in tourists interacting with place. This theoretical framework elucidates three applied studies undertaken with foreign visitors to the Hungarian capital of Budapest. Based upon extensive ethnographic field work, these studies focus on tourists' interpretation of the urban landscape, with particular attention paid to the encounters with national culture, the role of architecture and the importance of the prosaic in urban tourism.

Table of Contents

Contents: Preface; Introduction; Peirce, signs and interpretations; Landscape and tourism; The city - a brief introduction; Tourists in the city - means and methods; Signs in the city; Markets and culture; Conclusions and implications; Appendices; References; Index.

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Dr. Michelle M. Metro-Roland, Western Michigan University, USA


'Budapest is at once one of the most beautiful and one of the most challenging urban landscapes of Europe. The complexity of meanings embedded in its urban fabric--its touristscapes and heritagescapes--defy easy interpretation. Metro-Roland's skill is her ability to carefully unpack these meanings using the insights of Peircian semiotics. Charles Peirce's insights into the signs and symbols of social life have never gained as much attention in geography and social sciences as have de Saussure's structuralist meanderings. This is a pity because, as Metro-Roland argues, implicit in Peirce's complex theories of communication is a sensitivity to the ambiguities of sense and meaning which are at the core of contemporary theoretical and critical debate.' Ken Foote, University of Colorado at Boulder, USA and President, Association of American Geographers 'Reading this book provides an intellectually stimulating experience. The book is most suitable for those who already have some knowledge of semiotics and can be used as an excellent research reference text.' Annals of Tourism Research 'Overall this is an elegant piece of work, of great interest to cultural and historical geographers, and a rewarding read to all those interested in the challenges tourism poses to people and to the uniqueness of places'. Tourism Analysis