Tourists at the Taj: Performance and Meaning at a Symbolic Site
This text presents a sociological analysis of the cultural phenomenon, the Taj Mahal. The author describes the conflicting narratives which surround the site; those which remain rooted in Western post-colonialism, viewing the monument as a symbol of love, of India and of splendid exuberance and those which challenge this ethnocentricity, for whom the Taj is the symbolic centre of Islamic power or a site of Moghul appropriation. It goes on to describe many of the tourist practices around the Taj as well as considering the notion of tourism in a wider context. It concludes with the idea of tourism as performance and the tourist site as a stage on which tourists are directed and rehearsed as well as being able to improvize cultural conventions, all in the complex production of leisure space.
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activities aesthetic Agra Cantonment Agra Fort Ajmer attractions backpacker travel backpackers building centres chapter classified space colonial commodified construction contemporary contested continue conventions cultural desire discourses discussed distinct diverse domestic tourists dominant emporia enacted enclavic space enclavic tourist space experience family party forms of tourist Ganj geography global groups guides heterogeneous tourist space highlight Hindu identify identity images imagined geographies improvisational incorporated increasingly India instance Islamic itineraries Jamuna River landscape Mahal marble Mathura meaning mediatised memories Moghul monument movement Muslim narratives norms organised package tourists particular photographs pilgrimage places political processes production realm regulated religious representations rituals romantic sacred secular sense sensual Shahjahan sights social spatial spatial networks stage stories symbolic sites Taj Mahal themes theTaj tion tourism in India tourist gaze tourist industry tourist performance tourist sites two-week package tour typified visitors visual Western tourists Whilst