Constructing tourism in South Korea : nation state and the tourist gaze

Lee, Young-Sook (2003). Constructing tourism in South Korea : nation state and the tourist gaze PhD Thesis, School of Social Science, The University of Queensland.

       
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Author Lee, Young-Sook
Thesis Title Constructing tourism in South Korea : nation state and the tourist gaze
School, Centre or Institute School of Social Science
Institution The University of Queensland
Publication date 2003
Thesis type PhD Thesis
Supervisor David Ip
Total pages 251
Collection year 2003
Language eng
Subjects L
370107 Social Change
710502 Socio-cultural issues
Formatted abstract
For a long time tourism has been conceptualised as activities one carried out temporarily away from one's usual residence or work place for the purpose of escaping from the humdrums of modern life in modem society. For this reason, tourism has also been associated closely with the search for authenticity and fulfilment. This perspective has only begun to change when Urry situates the 'tourist gaze' as part of late modernity, arguing that individuals no longer need to go outside of modernity to find authenticity as people have become so hyper-restless that they accept that everything, even fakery, could have a claim in authenticity. This changing perspective has prompted Franklin to call for even newer and broader perspectives to understand tourism as a complex and multi-layered social and cultural phenomenon. He goes on to suggest that, for example, the nation state has played a major role In articulating and constructing tourism and its influences on the practices of tourists have been immense.

This thesis is an attempt to explore the role of nation state as articulator of modem ideas and constructor of tourism. However, given that most current tourism literature is based on the experiences of tourism development in the West, this study is particularly focused on examining the history of tourism development in one of Asia's Newly Industrialised Countries (NICs), South Korea.

Our investigation has found that indeed the nation state played a most significant role in the making of tourism and shaping the 'tourist gaze' in South Korea. In traditional Korea, the practices of travel reflected strongly the state-sanctioned ideology of Confucianism. When the Korean government made its first attempt to modernise the country, with its emphasis on pragmatism in education and economic development, efforts were made to turn travel into foreign trade. Later when Korea was under the Japanese colonial rule, the government went further to institutionalise 'industrial tours' for Japanese interests to exploit its resources and simultaneously constructing infrastructure for tourism. Under a program of 'school trips', school children were also required to travel and work, or sent to Japan to gain knowledge of modernity first-hand.

At the end of the Korean War, the role of the nation state in tourism development in South Korea was even more prominent. In the name of national security and nation building, South Korean nationals were prohibited from travelling overseas freely, particularly for pleasure. However, as the country's economic development progressed, increasingly outbound tourism was looked upon as modem symbols of prestige and privilege by the emerging middle class in the country. When the government finally lifted the ban on international travels in 1989, the growth of outbound tourism rocketed to an unprecedented high. Still, the narrative of tourism was dictated by the government's emphasis on nation building. South Korean tourists were told to justify their overseas travel as learning from the modem West, and their 'gaze' was remarkably focused on the modem as opposed to that held by Western tourist, seeking authenticity in the past and in the primitive. South Korean tourists were also instructed to behave themselves while travelling as they were walking representation of the country.

Not surprising, nationalism and national identity are closely linked to domestic tourism in South Korea under the present tourism narrative devised by the government. Increasingly common is that Korean tourists are visiting small towns and natural places for connecting themselves to the nation's past and reaffirming their place in the nation and identity.

Keyword Tourism -- Korea (South) -- Planning.
Tourism -- Korea (South) -- History
Additional Notes

Variant title: Nation state and the tourist gaze

Document type: Thesis
Collection: UQ Theses (RHD) - UQ staff and students only
 
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Created: Fri, 24 Aug 2007, 18:13:05 EST