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Unlike the pilgrimages of medieval Europe or the aristocratic Grand Tour of the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, tourism today is a mass activity. Tourists, as Henry James once remarked, are ‘vulgar, vulgar, vulgar’ (Urry, 1990: v): practically anyone can be a tourist, much to the distaste of an elite which considered that it and it alone was sufficiently educated to appreciate the joys of travel. ‘I am a traveller, you are a tourist, he is a tripper’ (Keith Waterhouse, quoted by Urry, 1990: v) neatly characterizes the elite view of upper-, middle- and lower-class excursionary practices.

It has been argued, however, that rigid divisions between ‘high’ and ‘low’ culture have been eaten away in contemporary societies and that more and more objects and events have ...

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