Nurturing effective inter-cultural dialogue through tourism has been positioned to be an emergent challenge to tourism professionals working toward sustainability in a globalised world (Robinson and Picard, 2006). This interdisciplinary study devises inroads into ways of addressing this challenge through ‘reading’ the language of cosmopolitanism as it appears in writings about tourism and travel through examining women’s travel writing to Iran. These authors were found to mobilise notions of liminality and authenticity as discursive tools to provide authority to the voice, ground discourse and structure the gaze. The cosmopolitan gaze was found to be selective in its focus by drawing from widely held ‘legitimate’ Western discourse to construct ‘other’ by falling back on preconceived ideas of the foreign. The article addresses the scholarly conundrum of theorising cosmopolitanism and contributes in a useful way by forwarding a conceptual framework that can be applied to further understand the concept and the dynamics that characterise cultural exchange. In this way, it contributes to tourism scholarship by focussing on issues which are immediate to questions which surround sustainable tourism.
Tourism and Hospitality Research Vol. 10, Issue 2, p. 79-92