"Touring Berlin: The City
as Content and Context of Tourism Communication"
The impressive growth of tourism in Berlin since the last years of the 1990s is maybe the most important stimulus for its study. Just during 2004 tourism in Berlin grew from 5 to 6 millions visitors, becoming the third most visited city in Europe. These stats pose nevertheless an important question to tourism researchers about the criteria for defining what a tourist is. Should every city visitor be considered as a tourist? Is it tourism a correlate of mobility? Or, more radically, leads our contemporary high mobile society to a process ‘globalizing the tourist gaze’? To consider tourism as a very specific form of mobility – characterized by leisure travel – and, more precisely, as a specific form of communication on society seems much more productive than such fuzzy approaches.
The central research question of my dissertation seeks precisely to unveil the specificity of tourism communication on the city and points to the spatial, semantic and narrative structures produced by tourism for grasping and experiencing the city. Focusing on Berlin, my research seeks to analyse how tourism makes sense of a city; a process characterized by the reintroduction or translation of the city complexity into the forms and structures of tourism communication. This tourist translation of the city is analysed in my research from three main perspectives or dimensions of analysis: the first refers to the spatial structuring of the city, which I analyse by focusing on the crossing between certain tourist mobilities (spatial styles as walking, biking, on bus, from a helicopter) and tourist geographies (spatial structures: places space, routes, etc.). The second dimension of analysis, the semantic structuring of the city, refers mainly to thematic clusters, topics and entities that structure tourism communication on the city. Thirdly, by focussing on devices and styles of tourism narration, I analyse the textual structuring of tourism communication. At the same time, three forms or media of tourism communication have been selected, in order to carry out the analyses: written texts (travel guidebooks and travelogues), images (guidebook photography and private snapshots) and sightseeing practices (bus tours).
A theoretical counterpoint to this analysis can be found in the two secondary research questions, which focus on Berlin as a context influencing and being influenced by tourism. On the one hand, the fact that city governments and city boosters all around Europe have played a central role in the reinvigorating of urban tourism cannot be overlooked. From this perspective, urban tourism is not just a way of communicating on cities, but a form of communication produced and controlled by city institutions. The Berlin Tourismus Marketing GmbH, a Public-Private-Partnerships founded in 1993 and exclusively dedicated to organize and promote tourism in Berlin, is a great example for analysing whether and how it is possible for city institutions to control tourism communication on the city. On the other hand, the fact that tourism has an impact on the public sphere of the cities cannot be overlooked either. The narratives, images, texts, objects and practices of tourism are embedded in politically informed regimes of representation, influencing the public culture of cities. In this sense, to ask about the public effects triggered by the spatial and symbolic orders of tourism is also central to contextualize tourism in the city, this time not in terms of the political economic conditions for tourism, but in terms of the symbolic impacts of tourism. Berlin is also particularly appropriated for such an analysis, since its radical spatial and social transformations have made of Berlin a very sensitive city to new images and created a public culture where images compete intensively with each other.
Lebenslauf / Curriculum Vitae
DFG Fellow at the Centre of Metropolitan Studies. Technical University of Berlin
PhD Student at the Institute of European Ethnology. Humboldt University of Berlin
Diploma of Advanced Studies (D.E.A.) in Cultural Anthropology. University of Barcelona
Scholarship „President of the Republic of Chile“ for post grade studies in Spain
Licentiate in Sociology (Minor in Philosophy). Catholic University of Chile
Publikationen, Vorträge etc. / Publications, Lectures etc.
(forthcoming) ‘La Persistencia
de lo Nacional. La distinción Ossi / Wessi y la Reunificación
Alemana’, en Revista Latinoamericana de Estudios Avanzados-ReLea.
(2006) ‘Cultura: la distinción de ‘unidades societales’’, in I. Farías & J. Ossandón. Eds. Observando Sistemas. Nuevas apropiaciones y usos de la teoría de Niklas Luhmann. Santiago de Chile: RIL Editores – Fundación SOLES, pp. 323-364.
(2006) & J. Ossandón. ‘Recontextualizando Luhmann. Lineamientos para una Lectura Contemporánea’, in I. Farías & J. Ossandón. Eds. Observando Sistemas. Nuevas apropiaciones y usos de la teoría de Niklas Luhmann. Santiago de Chile: RIL Editores – Fundación SOLES, pp. 17-54.
(2006) & J. Ossandón. Eds. Observando Sistemas. Nuevas apropiaciones y usos de la teoría de Niklas Luhmann. Santiago de Chile: RIL Editores – Fundación SOLES
(2006) ‘A la búsqueda del “urbanismo europeo”: Un reporte desde Berlín’, in EURE. Revista Latinoamericana de Estudios Urbano Regionales, 31(94): 119-127
(2005) ‚Zukunft zum Greifen nah. Bedingungen, Semantik und Verortung des Berliner Stadtmarketing’, in: Berliner Blaettern 37(3): 22-31. LIT Verlag, Berlin.
(2003) ‘De qué cultura hablamos?’, in: Ojo de Buey, 11: 21-26. Mercado Negro, Santiago de Chile.
(2003) Entorno Interno: Observaciones de Europa en Berlín. Un resumen. Website of the Department of Social and Cultural Anthropology. University of Barcelona. See: www.ub.es/antropo/doctorat/Tesines/2003/Farias_Ignacio.PDF 
(2002) ‘Elementos para el estudio de la cultura’, in: MAD, 6th. electronic edition. See: rehue.csociales.uchile.cl/publicaciones/mad/06/paper03.pdf 
(2001) Matías Bargsted & Ignacio Farias: Configuraciones de Espacios de Uso Público. Caso Seccional Centro Comuna de La Florida. Cuadernos del Instituto de Sociología, Tesis de Grado. Santiago de Chile.
“Sightseeing Berlin: Space and Mobility in Bus- and Walking Tours”. Conference ‘Tourism and Performance: Scripts, Stages and Stories’. Centre for Tourism and Cultural Change. Sheffield, UK, July 2005
“Die Verortung des Stadtmarketing. Architektur und Zukunft in dem Neuen Berlin“. Forum for Architectural and Urban Studies. Berlin, May 2005.