Politics as a Vacation: Tourist Practices and the Building of the Nation-State

Gregory Fayard*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articlepeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


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.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)237–253
Number of pages17
JournalSocial Problems
Issue number1
Early online date9 Feb 2022
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2024

Scopus Subject Areas

  • Sociology and Political Science

User-Defined Keywords

  • China
  • domestic tourism
  • nation-state
  • political sociology
  • territory


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