The beach, the gaze and film tourism

Law, Lisa, Bunnell, Tim, and Ong, Chin-Ee (2007) The beach, the gaze and film tourism. Tourist Studies, 7 (2). pp. 141-164.

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Based on the book by Alex Garland, Twentieth Century Fox's movie, The Beach, proffers critical views on the effects of traveller tourism in Thailand. Yet the movie is itself bound up with tourist practices in a variety of ways. In this article, we are concerned with how such intertwining extends beyond `film tourism', conventionally conceived. In particular, we seek to elaborate the modification of the Maya Bay set(ting) for The Beach as part a broader process whereby `tropical environments' are staged in line with the `tourist gaze'. In this way, film viewing itself may be understood as a form of tourism — a kind of tropical flânerie which both reflects and constitutes a range of tourist practices in Thailand. Yet these practices extend beyond the western film viewer or would-be tourist, and include Thai environmental activists, Japanese Di Caprio fans and researchers such as ourselves. Including these groups helps us displace normative constructions of the gaze, and situates The Beach within an interpretive field that considers networks of influence rather than unidirectional representation.

Item ID: 11582
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 1741-3206
Keywords: cinematic geography; film tourism; Krabi Province; Maya Bay; Thailand; tourist gaze; tropicality
Date Deposited: 21 Jun 2010 00:23
FoR Codes: 16 STUDIES IN HUMAN SOCIETY > 1604 Human Geography > 160402 Recreation, Leisure and Tourism Geography @ 100%
SEO Codes: 95 CULTURAL UNDERSTANDING > 9599 Other Cultural Understanding > 959999 Cultural Understanding not elsewhere classified @ 100%
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