The paper explores how the Da Vinci Code, a novel by Dan Brown, and its cinematic adaptation (2006) operate as a ‘node’ for European capitalist networks of corporeal and virtual travel. Re-examining the convergence, as well as the divergence of patterns and practices of early travel and contemporary tourism, the paper discusses the centrality of technologies of “gazing” upon other cultures and of collecting cultural signs to the global networks of contemporary (digitized or corporeal) travel. It is argued that the film and the novel assist in the interpellation of a new type of traveler, what is termed here a neo-pilgrim. The mobilization of neo-pilgrimage by global tourist networks also indicates a kind of staged cosmopolitanism that originates in conceptions of the cosmopolitan as the epistemological subject of Enlightenment political philosophy. Contrariwise, however, the cosmopolitanism of the Da Vinci Code democratizes the consumption of what used to be regarded as high culture, reserved exclusively for the old, aristocratic, elites of Europe. It will be argued that the novel and the film break away from established codes of authorship in cultural production while debating the emergence of a new service class of professional travelers whose fleeting visits to museums, galleries, luxury hotels and boulevards operate as both unacknowledged touring of commoditised European heritage and an aspect of personal self-betterment and self-education.
|Keywords:||Cosmopolitanism, Democratisation, Europe, Heritage, Mobility, Neo-pilgrim, Tourist Gaze, Travel|
Lecturer, School of Sociology and Social Policy, University of Leeds, Leeds, Yorkshire, UK
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