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Authors: Moak, David
Advisors: Bell, David A.
Contributors: History Department
Keywords: Capitalism
Urban Development
Subjects: European history
Issue Date: 2017
Publisher: Princeton, NJ : Princeton University
Abstract: This dissertation argues that tourism can best be understood as an outgrowth of the consumer revolution in early modern Europe. Historians have pointed out that the eighteenth century gave birth to new practices of consumption that involved consuming new luxuries, such as silks and calicos, in new spaces, such as boulevards and arcades, with the purpose of asserting social status. Like sociologists, they have labelled this phenomenon conspicuous consumption. Yet what they have failed to realize is that conspicuous consumption was not limited to such a small scale. Indeed, it was responsible for an expansion of the free marketplace to a series of abstractions that had formerly lay outside its reach, for the commodification of places, peoples, and cultures, under the guise of tourism, through their association with elaborate myths. This commodification produced an amazing amount of wealth, but it also generated a great deal of symbolic violence in the form of socioeconomic inequality. This dissertation investigates the transformation of places, peoples, and cultures into consumer goods through a case study of Nice, a provincial city on the border between Provence and Piedmont, which was discovered by European physicians around 1760 and reshaped into a cosmopolitan resort by 1860. The wealth of the city quintupled over the course of this century. Elegant villas and pleasure gardens emerged so fast that the municipal government had trouble keeping track of them, while public promenades were designed and populated with exotic plants in order to cultivate the belief that the city constituted a terrestrial paradise. But these changes came with some serious drawbacks. The lower classes were increasingly confined to the old town and eastern suburbs, and cultural and economic barriers effectively excluded them from public promenades, not to mention theaters and ballrooms, reserved for tourists and those who satisfied their whims. Such segregation, in turn, met with fascinating forms of resistance, as segments of the local population mobilized counter-myths to express their anti-tourist anger.
Alternate format: The Mudd Manuscript Library retains one bound copy of each dissertation. Search for these copies in the library's main catalog:
Type of Material: Academic dissertations (Ph.D.)
Language: en
Appears in Collections:History

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