Theorising the Politics of Tourism: Global Travel and the Nation-State

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articlepeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


Despite tourism being one of the largest industries in the world and key to the economies of many countries, there has been little effort to systematically connect the nation-state to global circuits of tourism. Most theoretical work centres around international flows of capital and issues of policy choice, sidelining how states as sovereign, territorial institutions are constructed through global travel. Using a constructivist approach to the state, the present paper redresses these gaps by building a theory of the state-tourism nexus that synthesises multiple historic and contemporary examples, demonstrating the major mechanisms connecting tourism to the global institutionalisation and positioning of states. Including both domestic and foreign travel, this theoretic illustrates how travel flows are useful for state leaders in constituting, imagining, legitimising and territorialising the nation-state.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)489-518
Number of pages30
JournalMillennium: Journal of International Studies
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2023

Scopus Subject Areas

  • Political Science and International Relations
  • Sociology and Political Science

User-Defined Keywords

  • borders
  • diplomacy
  • global travel
  • globalization
  • international relations
  • nation-state
  • political sociology
  • prestige
  • social boundaries
  • state formation
  • tourism


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