The World in a Selfie
An Inquiry into the Tourist Age
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Hardback with free ebook
$29.95$23.9620% off
288 pages / March 2021 / 9781788731072
March 2021 / 9781788731102

A spirited critique of the cultural politics of sightseeing. Or, why we are all tourists who hate tourists

We’ve all been tourists at some point in our lives. How is it we look so condescendingly at people taking selfies in front of the Tower of Pisa? Is there really much to distinguish the package holiday from hipster city-breaks to Berlin or Brooklyn? Why do we engage our free time in an activity we profess to despise?

The World in a Selfie dissects a global cultural phenomenon. For Marco D’Eramo, tourism is not just the most important industry of the century, generating huge waves of people and capital, calling forth a dedicated infrastructure, and upsetting and repurposing the architecture and topography of our cities. It also encapsulates the problem of modernity: the search for authenticity in a world of ersatz pleasures.

D’Eramo retraces the grand tours of the first globetrotters—from Francis Bacon and Samuel Johnson to Arthur de Gobineau and Mark Twain—before assessing the cultural meaning of the beach holiday and the ‘UNESCO-cide’ of major heritage sites. The tourist selfie will never look the same again.


“Fun and challenging, The World in a Selfie mixes the flavors of Mark Twain, Karl Marx, and theme parks to result in a real and welcome trip elsewhere.”

“Marco D’Eramo deconstructs the politics of sightseeing, and the search for authenticity within it.”

The World in a Selfie is digressive, the chapters like a series of meditations that touch on various aspects of travel and tourism.”

“A provocative take on the meanings of contemporary travel.”

“In a summer when all our assumptions about travel and tourism are being called into question, this engrossing book, newly translated from Italian, is the ideal guide.”

“Readable, well-researched and well-written.”

“Thought-provoking … This is an intriguing book for sociologists and economists, as well as for serious travelers wishing to understand their impact as they once again move about the globe.”

“A bracing, provocative examination of an all-too-human pastime.”

“A fascinating journalistic approach to one the biggest influences on our economy and imaginations, The World in a Selfie spellbinds. A wonderful read for travelers and non-travelers in the new world of a pandemic.”

“The truth is that tourists have always been unpopular … The root of the stigmatisation, argues Marco D’Eramo, is the resentment of rattrapage, one social class catching up with another.”

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