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Inhabiting as a Tourist

L'homme habite en touriste

Troisièmes rencontres de l'habiter

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Published on Friday, March 18, 2016


L’année 2014 aura été celle où le nombre des touristes internationaux a dépassé le milliard (OMT). Et encore : dans les États du Sud, notamment ceux d’Asie les plus peuplés, les mobilités touristiques internes explosent tout autant. Un fait est donc : l’Homme habite désormais en touriste…


Équipe « habiter le Monde », Université de Picardie-Jules-Verne


In the year 2014 the number of international tourists has risen beyond the billion mark (OMT).  Moreover, in countries of the southern hemisphere, above all in the most populous Asian lands, domestic tourism has similarly exploded.  This serves to highlight the fact that, from now on, tourism has become a manner of inhabiting the world …

The social sciences have often considered tourism in terms of what it offers (hotels or resort residences, leisure facilities, etc.). Aside from this, it was considered to be a « mass » activity, which reduced tourists to « sheep » who blindly go after those who precede, politically following those who cross borders, and economically following suitcases filled with bank bills. In every case, they were only considered from the standpoint of what they did.

The idea of considering tourists from the tourist's own viewpoint emerged during the 1990s (MIT team, 2002).  It was theoretically reinforced with the emergence of the notion of the inhabitant, animated by the recent orientation elaborated through the concept of « inhabiting » (Lazzarotti et al. (dir), 2015). When thus defined, tourists are inhabitants, among other inhabitants, who move.  In search of recreation, they change places in a « non-everyday » context (Stock (dir.) 2003).  This definition highlights the idea of societies composed of mobile inhabitants and joins that of world construction (Lussault, 2013).

The project animating these third « encounters on inhabiting » is to explore this development and to raise questions about it: are tourists inhabitants like everyone else? These questions, directed toward all of the social and human sciences, may be considered from a variety of perpectives, none of which is exclusive.

1. If all tourists are mobile inhabitants, not all mobile inhabitants are tourists. What precisely permits us to differentiate between tourists and migrants, pilgrims, or buisnessmen and women in transit? What kind of inhabitants are established by these different kinds of practice?  How do different historical manners of development of tourism in contemporary societies contribute to the emergence of different kinds of tourists? What is it, if anything, that distinguishes a Chinese tourist from a British tourist, etc.?  What also do they share in common?

2. To consider tourists to be inhabitants obliges us also to modify the perspective of analysis of tourism in which the question of what the tourist « does » is replaced by that concerning who the tourist « is ». What can it mean to « be a tourist » ? What does this involve in terms of knowledge and ability?  In terms of practice? In terms of lived experience and of representations? What are the consequences of having been a tourist in a place where one is a tourist no longer? What happens when one changes places in the manner of a « tourist » ? What does not change? Is it possible to be a tourist without knowing so? Or to pretend to be one?

3. In what sense are tourists inhabitants of the places they frequent? Can one be a tourist in a variety of ways? Which ones? What accounts for this variety of possibilities? What is their responsibility, if any, in regard to the animation and dynamics of a locality (Chevalier et al, 2013)? Are they inhabitants among others, as in the case of « ethnographic tourists » (Graburn, 2002) ?

4. As inhabitants of a place, tourists are also inhabitants of the contemporary world and, from this point of view, they invite reflexion on the global dynamics of societies of the world. Are they in quest of uniformity or of uniqueness of locality? How does this mobility influence the « local » authorities in view of the development of their locality? What effect does the presence of tourists have on the regions of the world, whether countryside or town? In what sense do tourists participate in the contemporary construction of localities and regions of the world? And in that of the world itself? What kind of world cohabitation do tourists construct?

5. What methodologies are implied by this approach in terms of the inhabitant? How might each discipline find its role? Can this form of research also lead to the establishment of new collaboration between scientific disciplines? Which ones and in what manner?

Finally, in what way might this reflection on tourists help us to more precisely delineate the more general notion of the « inhabitant » and what might be its content? And its consequences ?


  • Abbaye Royale, Centre culturel de rencontre
    Saint-Riquier, France (80135)


  • Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Attached files


  • habiter, habitant, touriste


  • Olivier Lazzarotti
    courriel : olivier [dot] lazzarotti [at] u-picardie [dot] fr

Reference Urls

Information source

  • Olivier Lazzarotti
    courriel : olivier [dot] lazzarotti [at] u-picardie [dot] fr


CC0-1.0 This announcement is licensed under the terms of Creative Commons CC0 1.0 Universal.

To cite this announcement

« Inhabiting as a Tourist », Call for papers, Calenda, Published on Friday, March 18, 2016, https://calenda.org/360466

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