View Post

An Inauthentic Experience

In Berlin, Authenticity, The Art of Travel Fall 2014 by Lila FariaLeave a Comment

In Dean MacCannell’s Staged Authenticity, MacCannell writes: “The touristic experience that comes out of the tourist setting is based on inauthenticity, and as such it is superficial when compared with careful study; it is morally inferior to mere experience” (MacCannell, 599) When I visited Vienna a few weeks ago, I experienced MacCannell’s “touristic experience” first-hand. I’d gone with a friend, Emily, …

View Post

Authentic People in Artificial Places

In Authenticity, Shanghai, The Art of Travel Fall 2014 by Benjamin EnglerLeave a Comment

It seems to me that the whole tourism industry is an attempt to manufacture a traveler’s distinct desire to take part in the truly “authentic.” In my experiences, however, both in Europe, and now in Asia, the most authenticity occurs far beyond the reach of a travel book, tour guide, or attraction. I think the notion of finding the authentic …

View Post

Authentic tourism or plane sailing?

In Authenticity, Shanghai, The Art of Travel Fall 2014 by Cyrus1 Comment

I think Dean MacCannell’s view is very cynical. I believe authenticity is relative. Experiences have different values to each individual. Going to a McDonalds in London could be a significant experience for some people (there probably are better examples out there…). When a guide shows you around a city on a predetermined circuit, Dean MacCannell would probably argue that the …

View Post


In Berlin, Authenticity, The Art of Travel Fall 2014 by Jesse Wheaton3 Comments

In Dean MacCannell’s “Staged Authenticity: Arrangements of Social Space in Tourist Settings” she talks of ‘back regions,’ secular versions of the sacred: the authenticity behind a stage. It’s something that interests me very much in traveling as I tend to come across both the curtain and the wings while belonging to neither. Any city will have a presentation that can be understood by …

View Post

Searching for the back region

In Authenticity, Shanghai, The Art of Travel Fall 2014 by Andrew Eisenson1 Comment

China is all about appearance. The government of China attempt to control or influence most aspects of life in China; through its tool of censorship. Censorship in most discourse discusses the CCP’s censorship in the context of the media. I believe it goes further than this, that the CCP censors how citizens live their everyday lives, and how people both …

View Post

Staging the Host Family

In London, Authenticity, The Art of Travel Fall 2014 by Evan Powell5 Comments

“A mere experience may be mystified, but a touristic experience is always mystified and the life contained in the touristic experience, moreover, presents itself as a truthful revelation, as the vehicle that carries the onlooker behind false fronts into reality. The idea here is that a false back is more insidious and dangerous than a false front, or an inauthentic …

View Post

Stray Dogs vs. Jaguars

In Authenticity, Shanghai, The Art of Travel Fall 2014 by Rachel Levine-Ramirez1 Comment

This weekend, I traveled to Moganshan in China. I expected it to be like “camp”: out in the middle of nowhere, trees, mountains, bikes, and that’s it. There were a few things that stood out to me, but the most jarring was the “staged authenticity.” Going to the back region in China, specifically Moganshan, was exactly what Dean MacCannell describes …

View Post

The utilitarian as authentic

In Authenticity, The Art of Travel Fall 2014, Sydney by Tyler Finley1 Comment

MacCannell relates travel to a sacred pilgrimage, a sort of modern day soul-search. Coming to Australia, my intentions were to do vague things like “discover myself” or “find meaning.” Now here, I realize such ambiguous notions of the like would not necessarily be graspable anywhere. After all, what does it mean to discover oneself anyway? To do this at all, …

View Post

3rd Planet

In Authenticity, Shanghai, The Art of Travel Fall 2014 by Andrew Graham1 Comment

Over the past year months, I’ve played the consummate tourist. Eight months in Europe and now a semester in Asia have granted me this dubious distinction. As someone who values travel above most competing pursuits in life, the question of authenticity is something I revisit frequently. In “Staged Authenticity”, Dean MacCannell ultimately makes the claim that travel represents a form …

View Post

The Millionth Pioneer

In Authenticity, Shanghai, The Art of Travel Fall 2014 by Kyle2 Comments

Studying abroad in Shanghai guarantees a large dose of staged authenticity. From waiters dressed in “traditional Chinese garb” to salesmen of “traditional chinese cigarettes,” there seems to always be someone trying to take advantage of tourists’ hunger for authenticity. As travelers, we did it to ourselves. As MacCannell writes, we seek authenticity as if it is sacred. However, this insatiable …

View Post

Life of Brian

In Authenticity, Shanghai, The Art of Travel Fall 2014 by James Gregory1 Comment

As I have started to travel more, finding what MacCannell would call “authentic” experiences has become a top priority. Nothing excites me more than the prospect of finding a hole-in-the-wall restaurant or bar frequented by locals, or somehow experiencing the lifestyle of the native population firsthand. MacCannell’s piece on staged authenticity confirmed that many other travelers are looking for a …

View Post

À La Mode

In Paris, Authenticity, The Art of Travel Fall 2014 by Jack Hall1 Comment

Where the greying skies hit the pavement, there is a line of perfectly dressed women, razor-thin, smoking Vogue cigarettes and wearing very little makeup. They look like a page out of a magazine, or out of an oddly hazy dream, so perfectly coquettish and bored at the same time. Wandering the streets, I wonder vaguely whether I would rather be …

View Post

Where, oh where is “Authentic” Madrid?

In Authenticity, Madrid, The Art of Travel Fall 2014 by Anna RappoportLeave a Comment

If you read any travel guide about Madrid, it will highlight “Old Madrid” (also known as Austrian Madrid) as well as some of the chic up-and-coming barrios, such as Chueca or Malasaña. You’ll also have to visit the Santiago Bernabeau (home of Real Madrid), Retiro Park, the famous Prado, and the modern Reina Sofia. But do any of these places …

View Post

Finding the Personal Gem

In Florence, Authenticity, The Art of Travel Fall 2014 by Ethan Kraft2 Comments

If you are going out to dinner in Florence,  you will almost always receive this standard response.  “Dinner? Oh, on this side of the Arno or the “other-side”?”.  Students studying abroad in Florence know the difference between the two sides.  The former generally represents a typical quick dinner in the form of a lack luster pizza or overly creamy pasta, …