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dc.contributor.advisorTucker, Hazel
dc.contributor.advisorDuncan, Tara
dc.contributor.authorGuo, Yulei
dc.identifier.citationGuo, Y. (2018). In the inspection house (Thesis, Doctor of Philosophy). University of Otago. Retrieved from
dc.description.abstractSince Dean MacCannell’s (1976) The Tourist the research field has held a hope that going beyond the tourist as the “modern man in general” is the Other whose differences and authenticity could help to break the tightening spell of capitalism and commodification. In Urry and Larsen’s (2011) The Tourist Gaze 3.0, the tourist gazes at a socially constructed spectacle, being unable to redirect his gazes beyond the social “face” presented for him. When the Other plays the “to=be-looked-at-ness” on the spectacle, the tourist resumes the role of the gazer and in this way forms a fixed dictum with the Other. Again, the hope of liberating both the tourist and the Other from their entrenched places begins with the Other’s voice, her participation or even her reversed gaze. Beginning with Kant’s aesthetic approach, this paper reviews the Other’s place in Panopticon inaugurated in the tourist gaze. I argue that Foucault’s Panopticon suggests the universality of an inspective gaze from the central tower where everyone, both the tourist and the Other included, is the inspector of the organization of modern tourism. Despite being an aesthetic search of the Other and her existence in the Panopticon, my understanding of the Foucauldian Panopticon is dystopian to both MacCannell’s authenticity and Urry and Larsen’s the tourist gaze, namely, it is not the Other where the authenticity abodes or the Other remains the to-be-gazed in tourism experience. The Kantian aesthetic approach allows me to read the Panopticon from a distance with whichI I re-evaluated the order of modern tourism. Rather than aligning the tourist’s experience with that of a Panoptical prisoner’s gaze as Urry and Larsen do, I show that the tourist plays the role of the inspector in the Panopticon. While the Foucauldian prisoner’s gaze describes other social institutions such as the school, hospital and madhouse soundly, I present that the inspector’s gaze, which I termed as the inspective gaze, accommodates better the tourist’s visual experience in the modern age. The four aspects of the inspective gaze which I move on investigating distinguish the touristic visual experience from Urry and Larsen’s tourist gaze on the condition that the inspective gaze breaks up the dichotomy between the tourist and the Other. While MacCannell’s theory on tourism finds it base on class differences and Urry and Larsen’s gaze maintains the tourist as the primary subject in modern tourism experience, the inspective gaze shows the gazing as a universal experience that both tourists and the Other enjoin. This universality of the inspective gazing experience from the inspection house, I show, was mentioned in Foucault’s observation of the Panopticon yet remained a neglected “corner” in the building. I argue that within this central tower where the inspector/tourist wanders in and our freely the institution of modern tourism unfolds itself. This brings me to consider the possible existence of inspective gaze on a global stage besides its universal foundation. In Act VI I explain that anonymity and the “free entry” policy back up the inspective gaze, allowing anyone and anybody to become an inspector/tourist. Here, I demonstrate that being the Other doesn’t mean she hides at the back stage or merely being gazed. Instead, the Other gazes, inspectively, at the Panoptical machine and its mechanism. In Act V I envisage tourism’s worldmaking power through Nietzsche’s image of a reversed cripple. I consider the possibility of mobilizing the inspection tower beyond the walls of Panopticon and move it into the wild and open world of the tourists’. Here I make a connection with Urry and Larsen’s the tourist gaze through a study of the cover image of the book, which showcases the modern tourist in the image of the reversed cripple as he carried his over sized eye—the camera—everywhere to his mission of inspecting. This imagery of the inspective gaze further illustrates the dimension of “freedom” that the inspector is granted and more importantly, the feasible and therefore universal access to the inspection house. Act VI I return to the Other’s experience as the inspector through my study of Charlie Chaplin’s film The Modern Time. Having the tramp’s perspective to unfold the film, Chaplin’s film adds to Foucault what is largely bypassed in his philosophical work. I show that the Other desires the experience of being an inspector or even a prisoner in Panopticon because the prison system provides security and welfare which do not exist beyond the prison wall. Foucault and Chaplin converged when both the philosopher and comedian show that pleasure, rather than punishment or discipline, manages to maintain the order of Panopticon as a desired place for both the tourist and the Other. Despite my engagement with philosophical works, the thesis starts with a play which I continue to write for each aspects of the inspective gaze through my conversations with the philosopher in the Act. Also, I have a Chinese road film, the first of its kind in mainland China, to base my understanding of the Other in the inspection house. Often, the film and its study serve as a counter-argument to my philosophical discussion in prior. The only exception comes in Act VI where I untitle a scene to consider the subversive potential to the inspection house through Chaplin’s humor and the laughter we give to the film. All these varied aspects of the thesis are not striving for a post-modern writing style that welcomes a blend of writing styles. Instead, in my conclusion I show that the thesis and all its parts are an organic whole that developed over a phase of studying and thinking in 4 years time.
dc.publisherUniversity of Otago
dc.rightsAll items in OUR Archive are provided for private study and research purposes and are protected by copyright with all rights reserved unless otherwise indicated.
dc.subjectInspecting gaze, Inspector, the Panopticon, the tourist gaze, Aesthetics, the inspection house, the Other, Foucault, Kant.
dc.titleIn the inspection house
dc.language.rfc3066en of Philosophy of Otago
otago.openaccessAbstract Only
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