Comparative Medinas: Complexity and Contradiction in Tourist Spaces in Tunisia

Publication Year:
2009
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Repository URL:
https://digitalcollections.sit.edu/isp_collection/809
Author(s):
Loos, Maxwell E.; Macalester College
Tags:
Tourism
paper description
There does not seem to be a lively debate in academia that tourism is worth studying. The wealth of material published on the subject is dizzying, and comes from a wide range of disciplines, from business and economics to anthropology and postcolonial theory. This is partially because of the wideness of the subject material; tourism is at the same time a cultural practice with specific characteristics and a decidedly transnational phenomenon, the form and implications of which change depending on which borders and cultures are involved or excluded. I would like to make my brief contribution to the study of tourism with a study of the cultural issues involved in the practice of tourism in the specific setting of tourist locations in Tunisia. I will offer a critical, semiotic reading of two spaces, the Medina Mediterranea in Yasmine Hammamet and the Tunis Medina, in terms of how they function to satisfy tourist demands, always with an eye toward complexity and contradiction, arguing that the two spaces cater to two different but not unrelated types of tourism. I will then briefly consider how the influence of tourism in these two spaces affects and complicates how they are appropriated into Tunisian discourses and projects of national identity.