Homo Touristicus, or the Jargon of Authenticity 2.0

South African Journal of Philosophy 38 (2):210-218 (2019)
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Abstract This paper argues that the concept of authenticity has evolved since the time of Adorno’s critique in The Jargon of Authenticity, and that an analysis of tourism offers a way of grasping the altered status of the concept of authenticity and its current ideological function in the contemporary capitalist system. It is suggested that authenticity no longer refers to an existential state, but instead to a purchased experiential moment. This paper traces the alterations in the understanding of existential authenticity from its origins in existential phenomenology to its current status as a key concept in tourism research. It suggests that, while Adorno’s critique of authenticity has become somewhat outdated due to changes in the social relations of modern capitalism, its central argument still holds true, in that contemporary notions of authenticity still play an ideological role in securing the socio-economic status quo by both expressing and concealing the sense of alienation caused by social relations under capitalism.

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Gregory Morgan Swer
University of KwaZulu-Natal


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