"Post-viral tourism's antagonistic tourist imaginaries"
Journal of Tourism Futures
Purpose This paper aims to examine the antagonistic coexistence of different tourism imaginaries in global post-viral social landscapes. Such antagonisms may be resolved at the expense of the ethics of tourism mobility, if not adjudicated by post-human reflexivity. Currently, unreflexive behaviours involve the refusal to conform to lifesaving "stay-at-home" policies, the tendency to book holidays and the public inspection of death zones. Design/methodology/approach Each of the consumption
... explored in this paper to discuss post-COVID-19 tourism recovery corresponds to at least one tourist imaginary, antagonistically placed against social imaginaries of moral betterment, solidarity, scientific advancement, national security and labour equality. A multi-modal collection of audio-visual and textual data, gathered through social media and the digital press, is categorised and analysed via critical discourse analysis. Findings Data in the public domain suggest a split between pessimistic and optimistic attitudes that forge different tourism futures. These attitudes inform different imaginaries with different temporal orientations and consumption styles. Social implications COVID-has exposed the limits of the capacity to efficiently address threats to both human and environmental ecosystems. As once popular tourist locales/destinations are turned by COVID-2019s spread into risk zones with morbid biographical records their identities alter and their imaginaries of suffering become anthropocentric. Originality/value Using Castoriadis' differentiation between social and radical imaginaries, Foucault's biopolitical analysis, Sorokin's work on mentalities and Sorel's reflections on violence, the author argue that this paper has entered a new phase in the governance and experience of tourism, which subsumes the idealistic basis of tourist imaginaries as cosmopolitan representational frameworks under the techno-cultural imperatives of risk, individualistic growth through the adventure ("edgework") and heritage preservation. This paper also needs to reconsider the contribution of technology (not technocracy) to sustainable post-COVID-19 scenarios of tourism recovery.