Tourists, Signs and the City: The Semiotics of Culture in an Urban Landscape, 1st Edition (Hardback) book cover

Tourists, Signs and the City

The Semiotics of Culture in an Urban Landscape, 1st Edition

By Michelle M. Metro-Roland


182 pages

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Paperback: 9781138250369
pub: 2016-09-09
Hardback: 9780754678090
pub: 2011-09-28
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pub: 2016-02-24
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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.


'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

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.

About the Author

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

About the Series

New Directions in Tourism Analysis

New Directions in Tourism Analysis
Although tourism is becoming increasingly popular as both a taught subject and an area for empirical investigation, the theoretical underpinnings of many approaches have tended to be eclectic and somewhat underdeveloped. However, recent developments indicate that the field of tourism studies is beginning to develop in a more theoretically informed manner, but this has not yet been matched by current publications. The aim of this series is to fill this gap with high quality monographs or edited collections that seek to develop tourism analysis at both theoretical and substantive levels using approaches which are broadly derived from allied social science disciplines such as Sociology, Social Anthropology, Human and Social Geography, and Cultural Studies. As tourism studies covers a wide range of activities and sub fields, certain areas such as Hospitality Management and Business, which are already well provided for, would be excluded. The series will therefore fill a gap in the current overall pattern of publication. Suggested themes to be covered by the series, either singly or in combination, include - consumption; cultural change; development; gender; globalisation; political economy; social theory; sustainability.

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Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
BUSINESS & ECONOMICS / Industries / Hospitality, Travel & Tourism