Narratives of travel: Desire and the movement of feminine subjectivity

Simone Fullagar

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This article explores a philosophical question concerned with the nature of the desire that moves one to travel, to engage with and know the world in its difference. Drawing upon French feminist theory I take up the Hegelian tradition of theorizing desire as a social relation that structures the everyday dynamics between self and other, self and world. Desire is also profoundly embodied, affective and unconsciously mediates our travel relations and experiences in culturally specific ways. Yet, within the leisure and tourism literature desire has rarely been theorized beyond the notion of individual motivation or an ideological conception of consumer wants as the product of false consciousness. In contrast this paper develops a textual analysis of the metaphors and narratives of travel that mediate the (western) feminine subject's desire to move into the world and engage with difference. As part of this method I draw upon excerpts from my own travel diaries to examine how different trajectories of desire structure the movement of feminine subjectivity within phallocentric culture. The journey of desire is inevitably incomplete, uncertain and produces moments that profoundly disturb and decentre the self. These liminal or heterotopic moments in travel afford us the possibility of glimpsing other modes of desire and hence different ethical relations between self and other, self and world.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)57-74
JournalLeisure Studies
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 31 Dec 2002


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