Author(s): Dean MacCannell
The problem of false consciousness and its relationship to the social structure of tourist establishments is analyzed. Accounts of travelers are examined in terms of Erving Goffman's front versus back distinction. It is found that tourists try to enter back regions of the places they visit because these regions are associated with intimacy of relations and authenticity of experiences. It is also found that tourist settings are arrenged to produce the impression that a back region has been entered even when this is not the case. In tourist settings, between the front and the back there is a series of special spaces designed to accommodate tourists and to support their beliefs in the authenticity of their experiences. Goffman's front-back dichotomy is shown to be ideal poles of a continuum, or a variable.