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Tourists at the Taj: Performance and Meaning at a Symbolic Site

by

This text presents a sociological analysis of the cultural phenomenon, the Taj Mahal. The author describes the conflicting narratives which surround the site; those which remain rooted in Western post-colonialism, viewing the monument as a symbol of love, of India and of splendid exuberance and those which challenge this ethnocentricity, for whom the Taj is the symbolic centre of Islamic power or a site of Moghul appropriation. It goes on to describe many of the tourist practices around the Taj as well as considering the notion of tourism in a wider context. It concludes with the idea of tourism as performance and the tourist site as a stage on which tourists are directed and rehearsed as well as being able to improvize cultural conventions, all in the complex production of leisure space. Hide synopsis

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