Farias, Ignacio – Touring Berlin: Virtual Destination, Tourist Communication and the Multiple city

Touring Berlin. Virtual Destination, Tourist Communication and the Multiple city

Ignacio Farías

Through the study of standardized practices (walking tours, bus-tours) and devices (maps, guidebooks) for touring cities, this dissertation shows (1) how the city of Berlin is transformed into a virtual object, namely, an urban destination, (2) how such transformation is enabled not simply by tourist movement in space and being away from ‚home‘, but by tourist communication on the city, and (3) how this emergent tourist city is embedded in a multiple and polycontextural urban public sphere, in which it enters into different types of relationship with neighbouring enactments of the city, such as those of city-marketing and collective memory. Subtly informing the whole text there are three aspects to be mentioned: the dissertation proposes a new theory of tourism as a form of communication, not of travel; it integrates Luhmann’s communication theory with actor-network theory; and it is throughout empirical, based on a year-long ethnographic study (2005-2006) of touring practices and devices in contemporary Berlin.