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Theorizing the Democratic Gaze: Visitors' Experiences of the New Welsh Assembly
Article from Journal - ilmiah internasional
Sociology vol. 42 no. 04 (Aug. 2008)
Senedd / space
tourism / Wales
This article, based on an interview study of public engagement with the new Welsh Assembly building – the Senedd – theorizes the limits and opportunities of ‘political tourism’, or visits to sites of political importance.To understand visitors’ engagement with the assembly building, we explore how they account for their reasons to visit, and their perceptions and expectations of the new building and institution.We identify two principal types of vocabulary displayed by members of the public in making sense of the building, those of political engagement and tourist consumption. Both are informed by what we refer to as practices of the ‘democratic gaze’. Both vocabularies reveal, to varying degrees, the social mechanics of the gaze, and the inscription and interpretation of agency around the building’s design.We conclude by exploring how this study can inform discussions of political engagement and tourism practices.
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