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Theorizing the democratic gaze: Visitors' experiences of the new Welsh Assembly

Housley, William ORCID: and Wahl-Jorgensen, Karin ORCID: 2008. Theorizing the democratic gaze: Visitors' experiences of the new Welsh Assembly. Sociology 42 (4) , pp. 726-744. 10.1177/0038038508091625

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This article, based on an interview study of public engagement with the new Welsh Assembly building — the Senedd — theorizes the limits and opportunities of `political tourism', or visits to sites of political importance. To understand visitors' engagement with the assembly building, we explore how they account for their reasons to visit, and their perceptions and expectations of the new building and institution. We identify two principal types of vocabulary displayed by members of the public in making sense of the building, those of political engagement and tourist consumption. Both are informed by what we refer to as practices of the `democratic gaze'. Both vocabularies reveal, to varying degrees, the social mechanics of the gaze, and the inscription and interpretation of agency around the building's design. We conclude by exploring how this study can inform discussions of political engagement and tourism practices.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: Social Sciences (Includes Criminology and Education)
Journalism, Media and Culture
Subjects: J Political Science > JN Political institutions (Europe) > JN101 Great Britain
Uncontrolled Keywords: accounts; architecture; citizenship; democracy; devolution; identity; participation; Senedd; space; tourism; Wales
Publisher: Sage Publications
ISSN: 0038-0385
Last Modified: 17 Oct 2022 09:46

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