Recent shifts in political sociology have moved away from reiﬁcation of the state to focus more on symbolic and everyday sociocultural perceptions of political units. Yet the launching points for most research has been state-led programs. To remedy this gap, this paper takes a relatively non-political activity, domestic tourism, and builds a theoretical model of how the circulation of tourist bodies provides legitimation for the material, symbolic, and territorial projects of the nation-state. Using qualitative content analysis of online travel diaries for domestic vacations taken in China from 2006–2019, I ﬁnd that travel practices are integral to perceptions of and bodily engagement with the geography, history, ethno-culture, and modernization projects of the nation-state. I argue that tourist practices naturalize and conﬁrm knowledge and classiﬁcations about the nation-state, making abstract political conceptions into experiential realities.
- political sociology
- domestic tourism