Workshop on tourism and the biopolitical

On Monday 15 May, Claudio Minca and I co-organised a workshop on “Tourism and the Biopolitical” with a wonderful group of scholars working in Canada, Italy, the Netherlands, Spain, Sweden and Uganda.

Whilst the “management of bodies” has always been a constitutive part of tourism and its spatialities, the COVID-19 pandemic has prompted the emergence of entirely new ‘states of exception’ and emergency regimes, geared towards tight restrictions and control over the mobility and the embodied practices of millions of travellers and tourists. Debates in tourism over the “politics of life”, now more than ever, ought to concern health and wellbeing for both individuals and selected populations, not in the least because tourism has provided in many instances the socio-spatial conditions for the virus to spread.

During the workshop we questioned how a biopolitical approach may help to understand restrictions on tourism mobility, the creation of “virus-free” leisure spaces, inter-species relations and contagions, and flight attendants struggles for labour rights.

Speakers and their research presentations included:

Myra Coulter and Dominic Lapointe

Between threat and privilege: narratives of tourism in crisis

Caterina Ciarleglio and Claudio Minca

Covid-free islands as immune tourist spaces: the case of Favignana

Amos Ochieng, Christine Ampumuza and Maartje Roelofsen 

Habituation and the more-than-human biopolitics of gorilla tourism in Uganda

Myrto Dagkouli-Kyriakoglou

No one to host: Short-term rentals during the pandemic

Chih-Chen Trista Lin     

Airline labor and hospitality: A flight attendant union’s struggles of living-well and living-with during the COVID-19 pandemic