Global Lifestyles : Constructions of Places and Identities in Travel Journalism
Abstract: This dissertation studies representations of globalization by analyzing travel journalism in two magazines from 1982 to 2008. Globalization discourses are studied through an analysis of how places and identities are constructed. The aim of this study is to examine the use of globalization discourses in travel journalism as both a construction and a defense of privilege. By focusing on two magazines, the Swedish RES and the international Business Traveller Asia-Pacific, over a time period of nearly thirty years the study charts the transformation of the magazines and the discourses they make use of. The method utilized is close readings based on critical discourse analysis. During the time period studied the magazines transform into lifestyle magazines. This change is visible in the layout, the design of the covers, the use of images, and the format of the magazines, but also in the editorial discussions about what a travel magazine is, and in the style of writing and addressing the readers. As a consequence of these changes, the magazines become highly stylized and increasingly glossy publications that mimic the language of advertising to present the implied reader with an imagined elite lifestyle. The thesis draws upon theories in globalization studies and the study of lifestyle as well as postcolonial analysis and travel writing studies. Bourdieu’s theories around lifestyle and taste are made use of to describe how class distinction is reinforced through definitions of taste. The notion of a global world is utilized by the magazines to present a world that is exciting, harmonious and exotic. East and Southeast Asian metropolises are presented as being global places while spa resorts are presented as local places. Places such as international design hotels and resorts are constructed as escape routes from the demands of an interconnected global world. In these places, environmentalism is discussed in terms of an aesthetically pleasing nature. The concept of a designed authenticity is used in the thesis to describe how the magazines construct authenticity through a combination of the exclusive and the natural, local and traditional. Paradoxically, travel magazines provide an escape from the world while engaging with the world.
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