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According to Theobald 1998411 authenticity means genuine unadulterated or the real thing In modern times tourism is frequently accused of destroying authenticity a notion which is problematic in its own term through commoditization of cultures such as festivals dance rituals and food which is produced for monetary gain The definition of authenticity is debatable by many academics I will try to explore their views on this subject in this essay MacCannell in The Tourist 1999 portrayed the tourist as being on a pilgrimage a search for authenticity To define authentic MacCannell drew upon the distinction made by the sociologist Erving Goffman between the front and back regions of social establishments The front is the place where hosts and guests performers and audience or service persons and customers meet one another the back is where members of the home team retire between performances to relax and prepare The back region as we all know allows concealment of props and activities that might discredit the performance out front In a literal sense it creates a staged performance situation the terms front and back describe actual ways in which the social roles are enacted This search for authenticity by the tourist is seen as a compensatory process as tourists seek to recreate structures authentic lifestyles that modernity has smashed What MacCannell called staged authenticity a way of fooling the observers can and usually does take place within the tourism industry the people being toured understand the tourists desire to see real life and obligingly manufacture false back regions to satisfy it In contrast to MacCannell who believes that tourists desire authenticity Feifer Urry 1990 argues that tourists understand that it is impossible to have an authentic tourist experience and in fact enjoy inauthentic activities Urry discusses Feifers theory on playfulness Play she argues is a main feature of postmodernism and has been incorporated into numerous activities Play has allowed for a de-differentiation between work and leisure We
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