Life as itinerary: tourism, personal narratives and gratification in a culture of the continuous present.

Voase, Richard (2012) Life as itinerary: tourism, personal narratives and gratification in a culture of the continuous present. In: Tourism, Roads and Cultural Itineraries: Meaning, Memory and Development, June 13-15, 2012, Québec City, Canada. (Unpublished)

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Abstract

It is argued that the proliferation of personal communications technology is effecting a change in the condition of life. Usage of these devices sequesters personal time and removes delay, with negative consequences for gratification. The ‘culture of the continuous present’ draws an analogy with the present tense in the English language: the simple present, ‘I do’, gives ground to a continuous present, ‘I am doing’, wherein the mind is engaged and unavailable for reverie, anticipation and recollection. Life, it is suggested, is analogous with a journey, punctuated by ‘landmark’ experiences by which individuals construct personal narratives and thereby make sense of their lives. Gratification in life thrives on anticipation and thus depends on delay, but is threatened by a growing culture of instant gratification. The proliferation of ‘happiness’ surveys may be secondary evidence of this problem. Tourism is largely insulated from these changes: trips are the subject of daydreams, and require planning; they are long in duration, and recorded photographically; are remembered long afterwards; and are thus powerful contributors to personal narratives. Tourism, therefore, enjoys augmented salience in a culture in which gratification is otherwise compromised.

Item Type:Conference or Workshop Item (Paper)
Additional Information:It is argued that the proliferation of personal communications technology is effecting a change in the condition of life. Usage of these devices sequesters personal time and removes delay, with negative consequences for gratification. The ‘culture of the continuous present’ draws an analogy with the present tense in the English language: the simple present, ‘I do’, gives ground to a continuous present, ‘I am doing’, wherein the mind is engaged and unavailable for reverie, anticipation and recollection. Life, it is suggested, is analogous with a journey, punctuated by ‘landmark’ experiences by which individuals construct personal narratives and thereby make sense of their lives. Gratification in life thrives on anticipation and thus depends on delay, but is threatened by a growing culture of instant gratification. The proliferation of ‘happiness’ surveys may be secondary evidence of this problem. Tourism is largely insulated from these changes: trips are the subject of daydreams, and require planning; they are long in duration, and recorded photographically; are remembered long afterwards; and are thus powerful contributors to personal narratives. Tourism, therefore, enjoys augmented salience in a culture in which gratification is otherwise compromised.
Keywords:continuous present, narratives, gratification, tourism, happiness
Subjects:L Social studies > L300 Sociology
N Business and Administrative studies > N800 Tourism, Transport and Travel
Divisions:College of Social Science > Lincoln Business School
ID Code:5938
Deposited By: Richard Voase
Deposited On:01 Jul 2012 08:56
Last Modified:13 Mar 2013 09:11

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