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Becoming Other

From Social Interaction
to Self-Reflection

a volume in
Advances In Cultural Psychology

. . Series -,
m .
3 . . . ..
Advances In Cultural Psychology

Jaan Valsiner, Series Editor

Transilions: Development Through Symbolic Resources (2005)
by Tania Zittoun

Challenges and Strateg.iesfor Studying Human Developmen! in
Cultural Contexts (2005)
edited by Cynthis Lightfoot
Becoming Other
Becoming Other: From Social Interaction to Self&Jection (2006)
by Alex Gillespie

Otherness in Question: Development of the Self From Social Interaction
edited by Livia Simao and Jaan Valsiner (in press) to Self-Reflection

Alex Gillespie
University o f Stirling

Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data Yoti ask so ntany qztestions, dolt 7 yoti knotl~that ~dleltyon point yozrr,firtger at me,
tltree ofyozrr onnfingers are poilrtirtg back at yozr?

Gillespie, Alex, Ph. D. -Ladakhi monk at Phyang gotnpa
Becoming other : from social interaction to self-reflection 1 by Alex
p. cm. -- (Advances in cultural psychology)
Includes bibliographical references.
ISBN-13: 978-1-593 11-230-1 (pbk.)
ISBN-13: 978-1-593 11-231-8 (hardcover)
1. Acculturation--India--Ladakh.2. Ladakhi (South Asian
people)--Psychology. 3. Tourists--India--Ladakh--Pyschology. 4.
Tourism--India--Ladakh--Psychological aspects. I. Title.
HM841 .G55 2006
20060 19758

ISBN 13: 978-1-593 11-230-1 (pbk.)
978-1-59311-231-8 (hardcover)
ISBN 10: 1-59311-230-0 (pbk.)
1-59311-231-9 (hardcover)

Copyright O 2006 IAP-Information Age Publishing, Inc.

All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a
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Printed in the United States of America

Editor's Introduction: The Social Act of the Social Sciences:
Touring the Minds of Recreational Nomads
Jaan Valsiner
Transcription Conventions
1. The Social Act
2. Elaborations and Questions
3. Tourism in Ladakh
4. The Touring Act
5. Listening to Tourists
6. Listening to Ladakhis
7. First Analysis: Genealogy
8. Tourist Self and Ladakhi Other
9. Ladakhi Self and Tourist Other
10. Second Analysis: Becoming Other
11. Internal Dialogues
12. Self-Reflection
13. Becoming Other to Oneself

The research reported in this book is unapologetically Meadian. While
the work of George Herbert Mead has been of widespread significance,
and his name is ol'tcn cited, there are in fact few empirical studies that
have sougllt to rigor-ously instantiate his ideas. This is in part bccausc his
theory is abstruse and in part because there ha\~ebeen so nlany divergent
interpretations of his theory. The point of departure for the present
research is a novel interpretation of Mead. Mead's core problematic, I
argue, is how to explain self-reflection, and his answer to this is the tlleoiy
of the social act. The present research is an attempt to instantiate this
The empirical context for the reported research is the iilteraction
between tourists and Ladakhis in the Indian Himalaya. Ladakh is a
remote region and tourists visit in order to cxpcrience the remoteness,
the I-limalaya, and the reputcclly tratlitional Buddhist culture of Laclakh.
Specifically I am interested in how this interaction betweeri two radically
different groups has triggered mutual self-reflection, and the eillcrgence
of new situated identities. The research will follo~v tourist-Ladakhi
encounters from the interpersonal realm into the intrapsychological
realm, from social interaction into internal dialogues and self-reflection.
Self-reflection I take to be one of the most important and uniquely
human mental dynamics. In the moment of self-reflection one can find
agency, identity, and development. My argument, along with Mead, is
that self-reflection is patterned by our institutional interactions. But the
argument is not simply that external interaction or conversation becomes
internal conversation. The theoiy of thc social act is an account of liolv an
individual's social experience is trat1sfo1-n~edinto internal dialogue.
Becoming Other xi

The theory is presented in chapters 1 and 2. The first chapter intro- published work. Others I hear echoing through my rvords, no longer sep-
duces Mead's theory of the social act, while the second chapter elaborates arable from my own voice, as I am fortunate to have appropriated them as
upon this and turns the theory into a set of tractable questions. The first part of my own intellectual development.
chapter is theoretically heavy, introducing the central concepts that shape My interest in Mead stems from Rob Farr's inspirational and rigorous
the subsequent analysis, namely, the social act, position exchange, the teaching. The present book is an attempt to advance that theoiy through
vocal gesture, the significant symbol, and the Itme dynamic. The second empirical research. In this project I have been fortunate to have the sup-
chapter leads to two empirical questions. First, how are tourists and Lada- port of Gerard Duveen, who has mediated the research from the outset,
khis taking each others' perspectives? Second, is this perspective-taking and saved me from many weaker formulations. My rcacling of Meacl is
resulting in new instances of self-reflection? inflected with my understanding of the effect of the social context on thc
Chapters 3 and 4 introduce tourism in Ladakh, and use Mead's theory production of knowledge, which I have learnt fiom Sandra Jovcl~elovitch.
of the social act to conceptualize tourist-Ladakhi encounters (the touring Tania Zittotun has continually reminded me of the importance of the psy-
act). The photographing act, the sightseeing act, the serving act, and the chological, and has stimulated my awareness of the role of imagination,
self-narration act are described in detail. Chapters 5 and 6 enter into the play and fiction in everyday life. Evin 0 Riordiin has asked difficult ques-
discursive worlds of tourists and Ladakhis, mapping out how each talks tions leading me to wonder why 011 earth psycl~ologistsgo about things
about themselves and the other. The data presented in these chapters the way they do.
forms the basis for the two subsequent analyses. I thank Mhairi Burden, Gerard Duveen, Evin <I RiordAin, Jaan Vals-
The first analysis is introduced in chapter '7 and carried out in chapters inel; Darin Weinberg, and Tania Zittoun for commenting on earlier drafts
8 and 9. The question addressed is: Are tourists and Ladakhis talking of this work. But the person who knows this book best and has most oftcn
about themselves by taking each others' perspectives? Chapter 8 argues put ~ n right
e is Flora Cornish, whose rigorous scepticism 11as sharpened
that tourists talk about themselves by taking the perspective of other tour- both thco~yand interpretation, Stimulating exchanges with Sona~nAng-
ists, and they are able to do this relatively easily because they themselves chuk, Ciarlin Benson, David Cann, Abdul Ganishek, Dan1 I-Iuppert, Gab-
are tourists. Chapter 9 contends that Ladakhis' sense of themselves as cul- rielle Ivinson, Hannah Lambert, Tony Manstead, Alan McFdane, Ivana
tural arises largely from their taking the perspective of tourists. The inter- Markovi, Beth Mellol; Tashi Moi-up, Helena Norberg-Hodge, Rebecca
esting point here, however, is that Ladakhis have never been in the social Norman, Harold Orbach, Laurent PordiC, Charis Psaltis, Roger Siilj6,
position of tourists so they have had to imaginatively reconstruct the per- Valerio Simoni, Charles Smith, and Siddiq ?Vahid have helped me to
spective of tourists using their own experiences. develop my ideas. While they have all contributed to the strengths of the
The second analysis concerns the microdynamics of self-reflection and manuscript, the shortcomings are all my own.
is presented in chapters 10, 11, and 12. Chapter 10 makes the case for The online archive, the Mead Project, maintained at the Department of
analyzing talk as thought, thus enabling us to gather objectively analyz- Sociology at Rrock University (]ward/
able instances of self-reflection. Chapter 11 analyses Ladakhis and tour- defaulc.html), llas done an enormous service to the study of George Her-
ists having internal dialogues with each other, and identifies how these bert Mead's work. My historical and theoretical work has benefited greatly
internal dialogues can lead to self-reflection. Chapter 12 analyses fi-o~nthe availability of important texts both at the Mead Project and at tlie
instances of self-reflection in terms of perspective-taking, distinguishing a~rhiveClnssics in the History of Ps~clt,ologymaintai~ledat York University
two types of self reflection, and arguing that both are explicable in terms (i~ttp://
of Mead's concept of the significant symbol. My fieldwork in Ladakh was made possible, and enjoyable, by the help
The final chapter broadens out beyond a narrowly, and maybe obses- and fi-iendship of several extraordina~ypeople. Manish Enn, Tundup
sively, Meadian standpoint and entertains alternative explanations of the Wangail, and Tsering Chakdor patiently entertained my absurd questions
data. The issue at stake is to explain how there can be a shift of perspec- and imaginatively found ways to help me construct my data. They also
tive in the stream of thought-how self can "step out" of ongoing action worked exceedingly hard to organize group discussions and translate
and self-reflect. In self-reflection we experience ourselves in the same way them. I also received significant support from Abass and Akbar of the Olcl
that we experience ocher people: we become other to ourselves. Ladakh G~lesthouse,Asrnath Trom Leh, Doje from Spituk, Dot-je rr-om
Reading over this book, I find it alive with voices other than mine. The Digger, Dorje and Majid from Gypsy's World, Ghularn from Evergreen
origins of some of these voices are fully identifiable, being quoted from Emporium, Nassir from Fantasy l'ours, Padma from Rural Developnlent

and You, Punchok from Saspol, and Stanzin from Skara. Fieldwork in
Ladakh has been less efforthl and more eventhl than any other site I
have experienced. Both Ladakhi and tourist participants were facilitating
and frank. They generously gave their time, ideas, and photographs. I
hope their voices survive my analyses and sound as good-willed, humor-
ous, and ingenious as they are.
Financial support for this work has been provided by an Economic and
Social Research Council reseal-ch studentship and a Peterhouse research
studentship. I would also like to acknowledge Cambridge University
Press, Ethos, Human Devel@ment, and JournaLfor the Theory of Social Behav-
iour for permission to reprint portions of my prior publications.

Touring the Minds of Recreational Nomads

The reader of this book is about to enter into the multitude of life-worlds
of ordinary human beings who undertake extraordinary journeys. They
need their individual identities to be reconstructed by exposure to unique
human environments of the beauty of closeness to nature-and partake in
the assumed idyllic lives of the people who live "close to nature." So they
read tourist guides, travel hooks, and then undertake the long journey to
the vast beauty of the Tibetan Plateau to accomplish that goal. Yet the
goal of reacllixig the desired state of "being one with tlie nature" evades
them. They end up in a crowd of other tourists, touring the same sites,
buying the satne souvenirs-and through all of that-creating their
unique experiences. They are a new kind of nomads-recreational travel-
lers in the search of procreation of their selves.
Of course the realities of life in places where the local people make
their ends meet by helping the hordes of tourists to coconst~~ict their
expected imageries are very different from those of the people who travel
to Ladakh. Tourist experience is a personal, deeply motivated by individ-
ual needs, and culturally guided by the directed focus given to it by the
social institutions who benelit from such persunal journeys of the seekers
of their deeply private selves. Thc touring act is culturally canalized in a11
xiv A. GILLESPIE Becoming Other xv

of its stages-from the emergence of the personal plans, all through the seclusion, and so forth. The social sciences have rarely considered looking
actual journey, and in the aftermath of sharing the memories of the jour- at the people on the move. The usual obsel-vational focus of the social sc;
ney with oneself and with others. Human cultural history is filled with a entists is to study people in a limited range of bodily positions of stabil-
variety of forms of such acts of movement of people across the distances ity-those who are interviewed or fill out questionnaires do so mostly
of the seas and continents of the Earth, and beyond-as human beings while sitting-in contrast to kneeling-a position prescribed in some
are beginning to contemplate acts of tourism into the space. Human forms of prayer. Freudian analysis sets people up reclining on a couch in a
minds create scenarios for adventures (Simmel, 1919j1959) and set up psychoanalyst's ofice-rather than on their own bed at home, or in a
cultural scripts for their accomplishment. The latter-as the present book motel or a park bench. At the same time, in their eveiyday reality, lir~niail
amply demonstrates-guarantee that the adventures are always related to beings are constantly on the move-doing something in some purposcftil
their opposite-those of stable, well-known, and socially accepted ways of manner that requii-es the movement of one's body t111-ougha sequence of
being. In Ernst Boesch's words-the striving for the far and unknown positions-i-unning, walking, taking taxis, airplanes, and so on. All of this
(Fernweh) and its opposite-striving for the feeling of being at home richness of cultural-psychological realities is rarely tapped into by social
(Heimweh) are two opposite sides of the same basic human ways of acting scientists. The author of this book is in this respect an explorer of still
(Boesch, 1997). Moving to somewhere entails the moving away from unknorvn lands of human psychology.
somewhere else-hence the ambiguity of being-in-movement (Valsiner, The touring act is of course a complex meaningfi~lmovement. Its study
2007). calls for new ways of generalizing from the empirical data. The Ladakh
Human beings have been on the move all through their evolution. case used in this book is an excellent example of that new phe~lon~enolog-
Hunting and gathering for food is possible through moving around. Most ical focus. The careful, and at benevolently humorous presentation of the
recently, our contemporary phenomenon of tourism is antedated by the many ordinary life details that both the tourists and their hosts display in
notion of pilgrimage. Phenomena of the "psychology of the tourists" that their encounters at Ladakh is a living tesritnony of the cultural processes
are depicted in this book in admirable richness can be found over a thou- that are constantly in the making. Different slices of reality-tourists' and
sand years back in the ways in which Christian pilgrims travelled to Jerus- their hosts' reflections upon one another, and on themselves, photo-
d e m (Savage, 1977). As long as people travel, they travel for some graphs taken of places, people, and of the photographing act itself-are
meaningful purpose-and construct that purpose through meanings they all brought together in a search for a new theoretical focus in cultural psy-
attach to one or another aspect of the journey. The people may go far chology. As it becomes obvious, the notion of culture is a fabulous and
away-yet what they do in the process entails remaining very close to their vague meaning that organizes persons' conduct in their using of symbolic
regular ways of being themselves. The lures of what might be awaiting us devices to cope with ruptures in their social act of being themselves. Being
behind that next street corner, or beyond the horizon toward which our themselves entails coristarlt transce~ldingof that state of being-moving
caravan is moving are simultaneously thrilling and frightening. toward the unknown, luring, yet indefinitely treacherous-path of new
Despite a11 its rich empirical contents, this book is a theoretical journey. experiences. It entails the seeking of comforting guidance fi-orn otlxel-s,
It is a milestone in transcending the dependence on famous thinkers of utilization of symbolic resources, and constant movement between social
the past in the social sciences. Even if its author pledges allegiance to the positions. It is similar to the focus on symbolic resources in Tania Zittoun's
legacy of George Herbert Mead-the seminal thinker whose mostly orally E.n?~sitions(Zittoun, 2006) that inaugurated this present series orAdvances
expressed ideas have been turned into guidebooks for social scientists- in. C?~lt?tral
the readers need not be led astray by that act of personal modesty. What This book is rich in description of phenomena-yet behind the empir-
we have here is an example of a new wave in cultural-psychological schol- ical exposition is the theoretical synthesis of ideas based on the heritages
arship that is deeply competent in the theoretical heritages of the past- of Mead, Dewey, and Vygotsky-as well as a rnethoclological innovation.
those of George Herbert Mead, John Dewey, Lev Vygotsky, and many oth- The latter could be called gen.eologica1c~lltzi.ralp1~.eno?ltenology.
It enta1'1s re-
ers. Yet there is the building new general theoretical perspectives in con- birth of appreciation of the phenomena-rather than mere reliance on
junction with careful selection of crucial phenomena. standardized data "collection" routines-is the hallmark of conterriporaiy
Phenomena of travel-tourism, pilgrimage, trading, exploring, com- cultural psychology. Cultural psychology is a synthetic discipline-it selec-
muting-are all parts of human life arrangements. They are equally tiveIy borrows from philosophy, cultural and social anthi-opology, sociol-
important to the phenomena of staying-at home, at school, at work, in ogy, biology, and psychology-with the aim of integration of ideas and
xvi A.GILLESPIE Becoming Other xvii

knowledge into schemes of generalized knowledge of how culture "oper- Vygotsky (Van der Veer & Valsinel; 1991)-is another term to focus on
ates" within the human psyche. Of course this can happen in a manner of such dynamic hierarchy within the human mind. Significant symbols
speaking only-whatever we consider under the term "culture" has no evoke two (or more) perspectives, creating the systemic unity out of other-
agency (Wikan, 2002, p. 83). Agency is within their carriers-human wise isolated elements. Yet these symbols emerge from the meaning
beings in their living through acting. They are persons--or collective maker oneself-the self creates itself through multiplying itself into mutu-
institutions-who act through the use of complex semiotic mediators ally related parts only in order to create new abstracted unity as it grtms
(Gertz, Breaux, & Valsiner, 2007), social rcpl-esentations, dialogical pro- out of such differentiating process as an abstracted and getieralized sym-
cesses within the self (Sim5o & Valsiner, 2007), and cultural models. bolic organizer of the process itself. As Gillespie states it succinctly-
Through their actions qualitatively new forms of human psychological "Evoking a significant symbol is thus evobz??g!he lohole social aclfi.o?nall of
phenomena emerge, together with ever-new ways of acting in relation to embedded within it" (in this volumc, p. 268).
the turbulent worlds. In sum-this book puts to rest any glorification of postmodernist belief
What is that new theoretical perspective like? Alex Gillespie develops a in the local nature of knowledge and context specificity of human cultural
framework for cultural psychology by taking the notion of the social act acts as a part of the image of fragmented human lives. Human beings are
and situating it in the middle of the encounters in Ladakh. George Her- differentiated and hierarchically integrated wholes rvho regulate their
bert Mead's notion of the act-as well as that of significant symbol-are own organization by cultural means. This conceptual deathblow to post-
developed further into a structurally elegant dynamic scheme in this modernist ideologies is done here without denying the reality of context
book, bringing it close to our contemporary theorizing about dialogical specificity. In fact, all the evidence in this book shows that each and evety
self (Hermans, 2001, 2002). Both directions strive toward conceptualiza- moment in the touring act is context bound, and hence unique. Yet there
tion of the dynamic and dialectical theoretical models (Ferreira, Salgado, is gcllcrality operating upon-and creating-that uniqucncss. The
& Cunha, 2006). Gillespie's solution is in the elaboration of the duality of author's careful development oC theoretical insights George Herbert
the self. Duality-mutual relation of two (or more) parts of the functional Mead reached in his self-dialogues almost a century ago is a new step in
system-is a concept that helps the thinkers to bypass the dangers of the development oTcultura1 psychology as a W'lssens~hc~ji aiming at making
adoption of a stance of dualism. The Meadian significant symbol evokes sense of the human conditions in its generic ways. This itself is an explor-
an I-position of self who is in the process of acting, together with an I- ing act-one that the social sciences need vely much at our present time
position of "the othern-real or imaginary. Both of these components of of abundance of fragmented bits and pieces of information about "the
the self keep feeding into each other-and generating novelty through others" that lead us to search for our own unified selves through inven-
that relationship. tion of new ways for touring.
The duality of SELF < > OTHER thus operates as a feed-forward loop
of both parts acting (re-acting to what the other part did, andpro-acting to
what the other might do next) upon the othel: The unity of the relation to
the immediate past (re-acting) and the anticipation of the immediate
hture (pro-acting) sets the stage for the emergence of self-reflection. Such
seIf-reflection would not be possible if only one of the two components-
re-action or pro-action-were present. The self needs to be two-in order
to become one-of two mutually ever-related parts. The unity is guaran-
teed by diversity.
The new theoretical solution that the coverage in this book guides its
readers is in the synthesis of the higher-order whole through meaningful
contrasts at lower levels. The social sciences are about to return to the
question of generalization-emergence of higher-order objects
(Meinong, 1907) or Gestalts of higher order (Ehrenfels, 1988) as a result
of abstraction created by the significant symbols. The notion of "higher
psychological functionsm--central to the theoretical legacy of Lev

In the tra~lscripcioiiall riarnes have been changed. In the Ladakhi discus-
sions, English words are in capitals (i.e., "CULTURE"). Rouncl brackets
arc used for overlapping speech. Underlining is used to rnark emphasis
in tone. Hyphens (-) are used to designate obvious changes ol'perspecti~le,
or interruptions. Square brackets are used to deriote my editorial ~vork.
Sometimes I have added text in order to make the excerpt more compre-
he~sible,while at other times I have edited out portions of the excerpt in
order to focus on the phenomenon of interest. Wherever text has been
removed it is marked by [...I. Square brackets are also used for observa-
tions on the interaction (i.e., [laugh], or [pause]).


Today George Herbert Mead's oe7rzrl.e seems multiclisciplinaiy. His writ-
ings move freely from psycllology to sociology aiid fium pf-iilosopl~yto lin-
guistics. But thcsc disciplinaiy boundaries were only properly
irlstitutionalized after his writings. When he wrote, he was fi-ee to follo~v
his ideas wherever they led. Disciplinary institutionalization has created a
problem for Mead's legacy. His oeuwe has been tugged in different direc-
tions, with different disciplines each hoIding one piece of what has thus
become a puzzle. The philosophers see his epistemology the linguists see
his tlleo~yof language, the sociologists see his theory of mici-osociological
Intel-action, and the psychologists sce the problem of pcrspcctivc-taking.
Rut hotv do all these parts fit together?
In orcler to understand Mead's tlleory as a whole, it is usefi~lto begin
with the qucstion to which it answers. One of the people best able to givc
verbal form to the question that motivated Mcad is John Dewey-one of
Mead's closest intellectual colleagues. At Mead's fitneral, Dewey tried to
sum up Mead's intellectl~alquest in the follo~vingway:

More than any one I have known he maintained a continuity of ideas lvith
constant development. In my earliest days of contact with hi~n,as he
returned from his studies in Berlin forty years ago, his mind was full of the
PI-obleni which has always occupied him, the problem of illdkidual ~nincl
and consciousness. (Dewey, 1931, p. 3 1 1 )

A~coitrii?gOther Aaitr Socid I??tei.action to Self-Ii~lection,1-25
Copyright 0 2006 by 1nfol.mation Age Publishi~~g
A1 rights of repl-oductionin any form resewed.
Becoming Other 3

Mead's question concerns the nature and origin of consciousness. The in terms of the social act, operationalized as the touring act. Within the
term consciousness, however, seems to reifj Mead's problematic. Mead is touring act we will examine perspective-taking and the emergence of new
not interested in consciousness as an entity, but in comciomess as the pro- domains of self-reflection; we will examine the construction of new mean-
cess of self-refiction. For Mead, self-reflection is the defining feature of ings and social interaction. Thus we will use empirical research on the
humanity. Self-reflection brings about self-mediation and thus human touring act to reassemble the various parts of Mead's theoiy.
agency. Self-reflection is the key to our rich internal mental lives, and he Before embarking upon this empirical analysis, botvevel; it is necessaly
argues, the key to our social organization. to first outline in detail Mead's thco~yof the social act. The easiest way to
Given this problematic, what is Mead's theory? Mead understands self- approach the social act is historically. Accordingly, the present chapter
reflection in terms of becoming other to onesey In self-reflection one stands presents the historical emergence of the theory. Tliis historical account is
apart from, or outside of, oneself. The question then becomes: How does contextual. Rather than siniply presenting Mead's theory in-itself, I situ-
self step outside of self and become other to selQ Crucially, Mead realizes ate the theory both as a reaction against Descartes and as a development
that self is already an "other" within the social situation. self is other from of pragmatist philosophy.
the perspective of the other. It follows that if self could take the perspec-
tive of the other, then self would become other to self, and thus self-
reflect. This is his theory in very general terms. DESCARTES' ESSENTIALISM
The real ingenuity of Mead's theory is not in the above, general formu-
lation, which seems to raise a further problem, namely, how do people We begin with Descartes, because thc work of tlie early pragmatists
take the perspective of an other? Although perspective-taking is a self-evi- (Peirce, Dewey, James, & Mead) can only be undel-stood as a reaction
dent fact of everyday life, explaining it has proved problematic. Mead's against Descartes' essentialism. The pragmatists resisted the Cartesian
genius is in his explanation of perspective-taking in terms of his theo~yof idea that things are ontologically given, and timeless. For Descartes,
the social act. No wonder Dewey commented that: things exist in themselves, and action on those things is secondary. But
the pragmatists put action first, arguing that things clo not exist in them-
All who have intellectual association with Mr. Mead, directly or indirectly, selves, and instead that things are const~x~cted in human activity. Let us
also know how central was his conception of the "complete act." (Dewey, first look at Descartes' theory of action.
1931, p. 313) Descartes' theoiy of action is dualistic. While he did not initiate the
idea of a dualism between mind and mattel; he did fi~rtherthe institution-
The "complete act" is another term for the "social act." Mead himself alization of this idea (Becker & Morris, 1996; Gillespie, in press a). Des-
did not stabilize his terminology, and this may account for the puzzling cartes developed his dualism, during a series of meditations, when lie
neglect of chis "central" concept in Meadian scholarship (but see Blumer established, to his own satisfaction, that there exists both a thinking mind
& Morrione, 2004; Fan; 1996). While Dewey is correct in pointing to the and a material world: yes cogilans, which refers to the mind, the soul, and
social act, or "complete act," as Mead's central theoretical concept, he was the rational faculties, which are not extended in space, and res extensa
mistaken in thinking that all who have come into contact with Mead's which refers to all that is extended in space. This ontvlogical division ol'
ideas have recognized this. Despite Mead's (e.g., 1934, pp. 7-8) own the world led Descartes (166411985a) to differentiate reflex action fi-orn
emphasis on the centrality of the social act, the concept has been all but dualistic action.
forgotten. The social act, however, is the theoretical concept that brings Reflex action occurs entirely in the realm of res extensa. Descartes illus-
together all the parts of Mead's oeuvre. The social act is a theory of episte- trates this with an image of a child by a fire, presented in Figure 1.1. If the
mology, or knowledge construction; it is a theory about the formation and child's foot comes too close to the fire, he speculates, particles stimulate
function of language; it is a theory of social interaction; and it is a theory nei-ve fibres which "pull" so as to open a partiailal. duct in the brain,
of perspective-taking. And all these elements come together to explain which in turn causes a muscular contraction-'ljust as when you pull one
self-reflection, or consciousness. end of a string, you cause a bell hanging at the other eud to ring at the
The present monograph is an attempt to systematically utilize Mead's same time" (1664/1985b, p. 101). A cavity, at the center of tlie brain, is a
theory of the social act in empirical research. The research context is tour- repository of the "animal spit-its," tlie finest products of the blood, which
ist-Ladakhi encounters in northern India. We will study these encounters flow into the opened duct, through the ncn7c,to change the shape of the
4 A. GILLESPIE Becoming Other 5

the reflex action and inhibit or enenrate certain muscular responses.
However, the power of res cogitnns is limited relative to the body (which is
part of yes extensa), and Descartes notes that the mind is often unable to
mediate emotional or reflex responses. Ebr example, it would be difficult
for the child's mind to override the embodied reflex to withdraw his foot
from the fire.
There is much to commend in Descartes' theory of action because it is
a genuillely interactional model. The mind, the body (with emotions and
reflexes), and the world are all conceptualized, and the interactions
between these components are dynamic. But the interactions are not con-
stitutive (MarkovA, 1982). The mind, the body, and the world all preexist
any action. Descartes inaugurated the use of the term consciousness
(Davies, 1990), but he never explained the developmellt of consciousness,
or self-reflection. The mind is pregiven, and consciousness arises by virtue
of images being traced on the pineal gland. Mind is ontologically given,
and conscious perception is "explained" by precepts going into the mind,
via the pineal gland. Thus the thco~yassumes as ontologically given what
actually .yieecls explanation-namely, how the i~ldiviclualmind or con-
sciousness comes about.
Descartcs conception of li.ut11 is also essentialist. In his search for
Truth, Descartes questions whether perception can lead to 'fiuth, but con-
cludes that reliance upon perception opcns the door to illusion. Instead,
he argues, for a rationalistic theoly of Truth: Ideas are True if they are
clear and distinct. According to this criterion, geometly yields many
Truths. Pythagoras' Theorem, for example, is such a clear and distinct
idea that it must be True. From a rational point of view, the Theorem
would remain Tl~ie,even if everything else ceasecl to exist. Equally, Des-
Figure 1.1. The child, the fire, and the Cartesian reflex. cartes argued, the existence of self-reflcction is indubitable-clear and
distinct, and thus TIII~.This latter Truth is established with his copto ergo
sum argument. All these Truths are ti~neless,akin to Plato's ideal forms.
muscles, resulting in a mechanistic reflex action that does not involve the Notice that Descartes is not explaining the existence of self-reflection, or
soul, or the cogito. The key point with the reflex is that it is entirely consciousness, hc is simply taking it as an eternal Truth.
mechanical, and involves only res extensa, that is, the material world. Charles Sanders Peirce (187811995) initiated the pragmatist critique of
Descartes theory of self-reflective action, or dualistic action, involves Descartes, with a paper titled, "How to make our ideas clear." Peirce ques-
tions, what is a clear idea? His arg!ment is that clear and distinct ideas
the intervention of res cogitans. Taking visual perception as an example,
are not established by rational thought-by res coptnvs. Rathel; he argues,
Descartes argues that the external object causes a "figure" to be "traced" an idea becomes clear and distinct to the extent that one can follow the
on the sensory organs, which pull on a certain configuration of fibers, clear and distinct consequences of that idea. If ideas do not have different
which in turn cause an image to be "traced" onto the pineal gland (16641 consequences, Peirce maintains, then, they are not different ideas. Thus it
198513, p. 105). The pineal gland, for Descartes, is the material window is action, and not thought, that makes ideas clear and distinct. Peirce
into res cogitam, and thus such stimulation of the pineal gland, he argued, derives this idea from the study of science: Within scientific practice icleas
would cause conscious perception. Once the child consciously perccives become valid to the extent that they have clear and distinct colisequences
the fire, the child's mind, by virtue of its rational faculty, may intervene in within experiments. Pcircc's idea is far reaching, because it shifts our
6 A. GILLESPIE Becoming Other 7

focus away from timeless Truth, toward Iittle truths that lie in the future- homo sa$iens evolved, might it not be that the human mind, or con-
in the expected consequences of an action. sciousness, also evolved?
As the pragmatist doctrine matured, through the writings of Dewey, Dewey and Mead use Dalwin to reverse the Cartesian and Platonic
James, and Mead, the consequences of ideas increasingly came to mean hierarchy in which the world comes before action. In the Cartesian para-
their consequences for action, such that truth became an outcome of digm, things can be defined independently of organisms, but in Darwin's
action. As James wrote: carve out everything, just as we carve out theory of evolution, the selective environment of the organism is in part a
constellations, to serve our human purposes" (190711995, p. 98). Every- function of the organism's capacity for perception and action.
thing, all objects and truths, James argues are "carved" by human
action. Objects become objects as they come to serve human ends. Forks [There] arises a new type of animal or plant [...I but with this arises a new
become implements for eating, in the act of eating. Pythagoras' Theo- world, fbr the animal or plant determines its ruorld, its environment, in
rem becomes a truth every time it is used to build two walls at right terms of its life-process. If an animal has eyes, it has an envi~-onmentthat
has colour; if it has ears, it lives in a world of sounds; if it has taste, its envi-
angles to each other. The pragmatists thus reversed Descartes scheme.
ronment is sapid; if nostrils, its world is odorous. Change the animal and
Where Descartes had put the clear and distinct idea of a mindlworld you change the environment, the worlcl in which the animal lives. (Mead,
dualism first, and then treated action as an outcome of this dualism, the 1936, p. 140)
pragmatists began to put action first, and conceive of everything else as
an outcome. The envil-onment is not just constit~rredby thc perceptual mechanisms
The pragmatist critique of essentialism leads us away from ontology or the organism. If the organism has the stomach of a cow, then grass is
(timeless distinctions such as that between mind and matter) and toward food, or if it has the digestive tract found in ~voodworm,then xvood is
epistemology (tlie study of how knowledge, such as the distinction food. We can go frrrthcr. If the organism has Iocoinotion, then it will live
between mind and matter, is constructed). In today's nomenclature we in a spatial world, while if it cannot move, then it will not construct space.
could call the early pragmatists const~uctionists.However, their brand of Each organism, with its distinct modes ofperccption and action, inhabits
constructionism was more materialistic and naturalistic than our contem- a different environment, or Un&iilelt(Uexkiill, 1934J1992). Impulses can
porary brand of discursive constructionism (but see Berger & Luckmann, also construct an organism's environment:
1966, for social-materialist constructionism). In order to understand the
particulars of the pragmatists' form of construction it is necessary to con- An environment thus arises for an organism through the selective power of
sider the impact of Charles Darwin on their thought. an attention that is determined by its impulses that are seeking expression.
This peculiar environment does not exist in the consciousness of the form as
a separate milieu, but the consciousness of the organism consists in the fact
that its future conduct outlines and defincs its objects. In so far as the orga-
nization of one individual diffcrs frotn that of others, it will have a private
environment, though these differences may be called tllosc of standpoint.
Darwin is not usually considered a contributor to philosophy. But for They are objective differcnccs. l'hey exist in naturc. (Mead, 1925, p. 256)
philosophers such as Nietzsche, Bergson, Dewey, Mead, and more
recently Rorty, he is of decisive importance. Darwin is read by these Mead is arguing that the environment is constructed, in part, by tlie
authors as providing a naturalistic basis for rejecting Cartesian essential- impulses of the organism, because they pick out stimuli in the environ-
ism. According to Dewey (1910, p. 2), Darwin's the theory of evolution ment. For example, if the organism is hungl-lr, then food stimuli will
by natural selection inaugurated a fundamental philosophical revolu- become salient. It follows that each organism, with its own configuration
tion which was unfortunately obscured by "theoIogica1 clamor." Darwin, of impulses, responses, and perceptual experiences, lives in its 014711 envi-
Dewey (1910, p. 1-2) writes, had laid his "hands upon the sacred arc of ronment. But, Mead insists, this "peculiar environment" does not exist
absolute permanency" and treated forms, previously considered eternal only in the consciousness of the 01-ganisn1.This "peculiar envil-onment" is
and essential, "as originating and passing away." Dewey is not talking real in its consequences. The cows hungcr is an impulse that constitutes
about the religious debate that Darwin's work instigated, he is talking grass as food, and without finding food, the cow will clie. The radical con-
about Darwin's critique of timeless essentialism. Darwin showed that clusion to draw from this is that because every organism has a unique con-
species, previously taken to be given by God, evolved and changed. If figuration of impulses, perceptions, and action potcntials, so all
Becoming Other 9

organisms have a "private environment." These divergent perspectives, entirely absurd within the Cartesian paradigm because the mind and the
Mead insists, are objective-"they exist in nature." Illre are dealing here environment are considered ontologically distinct.
with naturalistic, not discursive, constructionism, and it leads us to a pro- Perspectivism, even the idea that thinking challges the environment,
found perspectivism (Mead, 1926a). Not only each species, but each does not imply relativism. The world does not appear arbitra~yfrom any
organism, constructs the world in a unique way, and inhabits a "private pcrspective, and, moreovel; some perspectives on the world lead to aclap-
environment." tive paths of action, while others do not. Perspectives are constrained by
the actions and interactions that are possible within a social and natural
context. The idea of truth is not abandoned, it is simply lied to action
PERSPECTIVISM AND THE PSYCHOLOGIST'S FALLACY consequences, or deferred to the fi~ture.Given an impulsc, a desire for
some consequence, all ideas are not equal-some will produce the desired
When Dewey and Mead began to apply Darwin's ideas to the study of outcome, while others will not. The criterion of truth is not in the rational
humans, they were also forced to consider the role of ideas, or discourses, clarity of an idea, but in the consequences of an idea for a given impulse.
in constructing the environment. According to pragmatism, ideas enable If all humans, by virtue of having different ideas and different
action, and ideas are designated true when the action enabled has the impulses, live in different environments, one rvoulcl expect social psychol-
expected outcome. Ideas change the salience of certain objects within the ogy to take cognizance of this fact. If one is attempting to explain a given
perceptual field, carving out distinct paths of action. If the above argu- action, it follows from perspectivism that the 1-esearchshould enquire into
the-envil.onment-for-the-actor The researcher should try to enter this
ment that an organism's capacity for perception and action constructs the
environment, noting the salient objects ancl distinctions witliin that cnvi-
organism's environment is valid, then it also follows that humans' ideas
ronrnetit, or perspective, ancl identify which aspects oC the actor's "pccu-
about their environment, which mediate their perception of that environ-
liar environment" caused the given action. Horvevel; as Janles (1884,
ment and open their environment up to action, must also constluct that 1890) points out psychologists (generally not being perspectioists) are
environment. For example, two humans in a maze may be ostensibly in prone to confusing their own perspective with the perspectives of others.
the same environment. However, if one knows the way out of the maze This error James (1884) termed the psychologists' fallacy, and it origi-
and the other does not, then they are in quite different environments: one nated in his study of introspection. James describes the fallacy in the fol-
is free and the other is trapped. Later if the human who has been trapped lowing way:
in the maze cognitively recognizes a pattern, and conceives of a path of
action that will lead out of the maze, then this so-called subjective idea state s f d i e d ~nirstb~ roll-
The f~sychologist'sfollocy is the osslrnlf~fionthnt the ?~tenrn?
changes the objective reality of the maze for this person. This line of sciozts of itselfos the ~,sychologisti$ consciolu of it. Vie mental state is a ~ ~ aof rc
thought is summed up by Mead in the following way: itself only from within; it grasps what we call its own content, and nothing
more. The psychologist, on ~ h contraly, c is aware of it from without, ancl
The field of mind, then, is the larger environment which the activity of the kno~vsits relations with a11 sorts of other things. IVhat the thought sees is
organism calls for but which transcends the present [. .] the field of mind is only its own object; 1z7hat the psychologist sees is the thought's ol~jecr,plus
the thought itself, plus possibly all the rest of the rvorld. (Jamcs, 1890,
the temporal extension of the environment of the organism. (Mead, 1932,
pp. 196-197)
p- 25)
The psychologist's fallacy directs our attention to the unique contents
What we term mind is in fact part of the individual's environment. The
of the perspective being studied-as does Dewey's (1886) paper on the
individual's activity is directed at objects which transcend the present, psychological standpoint. If we all inhabit a unique environment, and we
which are not in the immediate environment-these objects, we say, are in act on tilt basis of this environment, it is necessaly for psychologists to
the mind of the individual. These objects can be in the past, or in the explore this environment, and not to confuse this with the em~iso~~mcnt of
future, but in either case they are not in the immediate environment. This the researcher. While a researcher may try to explain a n individual's vot-
temporally extended environment is sustained in ideas and in images. ing beliavio~;for example, in terms of psychological insecurity, it is highly
lidking this idea to its logical conclusion, Dewey and Mead argue that unlikely that this idea has any place in the perspective of the person vot-
thinking changes the environment for the organism-a conclusion that is ing. The person voting will give reasons for votirig in terms or the eco-
10 A. GILLESPIE Becoming Other 11

nomic situation, rising unemployment, or whatever. This is the Dewey is abandoning the idea that sensations and responses exist in
perspective of the voter, and James' point is that it is quite a different per- themselves. His point is that we must start with the action: lookklg and
spective from that of the researcher. It follows, from the early pragmatists' reachi?t.g.There is no passive one-sided "pull" mechanics of a Cartesian
insistence on perspectivism, that in order to explain human behavior we reflex. There is an ongoing goal-directed action, in which the response
need to -pay. particular
- attention to what is in whose mind and when. constlucts the stimulus,just as the stimulus constructs the response:
In order to aid psychologists in the task of differentiating their own
thoughts from those of others, James (1884, p. 24) introduces the term The reaching, in turn, must both stimulate and control seeing. The eye
"topic"-which the subsequent analyses will make much use of. James must be kept upon the candle if the arm is to do its work; let it wander and
uses the term "topic" to refer to the general content of the perspective the arm takes up anotl~ertask. In other wolds, Tirenow have an enlarged and
being analyzed. We could say that the concept "topic" is the topic of the transformed coordination; the act is seeing no less than before, but it is now
last sentence. One uses the concept "topic" in order to summarize what is seeing-for-reaching purposes. (1896, p. 359)
in the mind of the speaker, and distinguish it from the mind of the
researcher. As we will see, photography, the preservation of culture, and The act is a goal-directed temporal rvhole, and within this larger temporal
tourism are all topics for tourists. Mead's concept of the social act, on the movement, stimuli and responses become differentiated. The point is that
other hand, is never a topic for tourists or Ladakhis, though it is the topic no stimulus or response exists in itself, "in reality they are always insicle a
of the present chapter-even though, so far, little has been said about it coordination and have their significance purely from the part played"
directly. (1896, p. 360). Just like the act of chewing the cud constitutes grass as
food, so the act reaching constitutes the flame as something potentially
DEWEY THE ACT Moreovcl; cvcn separating the terms stirnulrts and response is prob-
lematic. In most acts, Dewey (1896, pp. 366-367) claims, there is 110 clis-
Dewey's (1896) concept of "the act" is the bridge that leads us from Des- tinction between stimulus and response, between the olject and the
cartes' conception of action to Mead's concept of the social act. The con- action. Although these distinctions may be in the mind of the psycl~ologist
cept of the act describes the individual's relation to the world, or analyzing the act, to attribute the consciousness of the psycl~ologistto the
perspective on the world. The question that Dewey addresses with this actor would be to commit the psycllologist's fallacy. From the actor's
theory is, like Mead, the question of how self-reflective thought, or con- standpoint, the action, the goal, the actor and the object remain tmdiffer-
sciousness, arises. Dewey (1896, p. 358) introduces his theory of the act by entiated or fused within reflexive or habitual action.
returning to the "familiar" motif of the child and the flame. In the years So far we have seen how Dewey reconceptualizes Descartes' conception
since Descartes, the child, through the writings of Peirce (186811998, of the reflex, but what about res cogituns mediating the reflex? What about
p. 76) and James (1890, p. 25) seems to have become progressively the self-reflective mind? Dewey also provides a theo~yof how mind mecli-
younger. In Dewey's example, the child, like a baby, is naively reaching ates action. Instead of presupposing mind as an ontological entity, Dewey
toward the flame. From a Cartesian point of view, the bright light is a theorizes how mind might arise throug11 a conflict of responses within the
stimulus for the child to reach out, and the resulting burn is a stimulus to act.
retract the hand. This is what Descartes described as a simple, two part,
reflex. However, Dewey rejects this interpretation, and instead empha- But now take a child who, upon reaching for bright light (that is, exercising
the seeing-reaching coordination) has sometimes had a delightf~llexercise,
sizes that the act cannot be broken down into two parts. Instead it must be
sometimes found something good to eat and sometimes burned himself.
considered as a whole: Noru the resl~onseis not only ~azcertnin,h i t the sti?nlrlzrs is eqtmlty zrncertoin; one is
t~?rcertninonly so far as the other is. The real problem map be equally well
In other words, the real beginning is with the act of seeing; it is looking, and stated as either to discover the rig111 sti~~luius, to constitute the stimulus, or
not a sensation [i.e., stimulus] of light. The sensory quale gives the value of to rliscover, to constitute, the response. The question of ~\.hetherto reach or
the act, just as the movement filrnishes its mechanism and control, but both to abstain from I-eacllingis the question what sort of a bright light llavc wc
sensation [i.e., stimulus] and movement [i.e., response] lie inside, not out- here? Is it the one which means playing with one's l~ancls[..I or burning
side the act. (1896, pp. 358-359) I one's fingers? (1896, pp. 367-368)
12 A, GILLESPIE Becoming Other 13

Within this act there are two responses and thus two objects. The child Situating consciousness as a phase within the temporal act marks a fun-
on the one hand wants to reach toward the plaything, and on the other damental break with the Cartesian paradigm. To use Holton's (1975) ter-
hand, to draw away from the flame. Such contradictory responses, Dewey minology, Descartes and Dewey subscribe to different themata. Descartes
argues, are the basis of consciousness. Contradictory responses create a conceives of the object and the mental image as existing sicle-by-side in
rupture within the act and stall the act. Dewey abandons Descartes' static parallel universes, and thus utilizes a spatial metaphor. Dewey, on the
conception of mind, and redefines mind as a process of reconstruction. other hand, uses a temporal metaphor and conceives of the response, the
Mind for Dewey, is oriented toward reconstructing the object and associ- stimulus and the mental reconstruction as sequential phases of the same
ated response so that the act may continue. The plaything/flame becomes temporal whole, the act. For Descartes, that which is yes exto71sa cannot
subjective, remains so until reconstructed by mind, and only returns to become res cogitans nor vice vena. But for Dewey, during the course of
objectivity once it is suficiently reconstructed for the act to proceed. It is action, the stimulus may first be objective, then subjective (through con-
in this phase of the act that stimulus and response, perception and action, flicting responses) and then reconstructed (in consciousness) into objec-
become distinct in consciousness: tivity again. The plaything becomes subjective after the child is burned,
and in the withdrawal, the idea of tlie flame becomes objective.
It is the temporary disintegration and need of reconstitution which occa-
sions, which affords the genesis of the conscious distinction into sensory
stimulus on one side and motor rcsponse on the other. (1896, p. 370) A FEEDBACK THEORY?

The basic movement, then, can be schematized as: actionjrupture + Mead was initially v c ~ yenthusiastic about Dcrvey's thcory. He rapidly and
self-rejective thinking-+resolution. This can be called a rupture theory of took it up, and foc~~sing on the reconstn~ctivephase, thought it pmvided
mind or self-reflection. The motivation of the mental phase, or the think- the theory of mind and consciousiiess that he sought. Using tlie tlieory to
ing phase, is to reconstruct the object of the rupture so that action can further his own interest in consciousness, or self-reflection, Mead (1 903)
continue. Dewey's contribution is to try to explain the subjective as a integrated the theoly of the act with James' rich description of the stream
phase within the larger act, and thus as inextricably dependent upon the of thought, or consciousness. Paraphrasing James, Mead shows horv
goal orientation of the actor. Mind, for Dewey, does not exist in-itself, like James' introspective account of thought fits vely nicely into the idea of
res cogitans, instead it is the dissolution and reconstruction of the ruptured reconst~luctionwithin a ruptured act:
object from the standpoint of the actor. The mind, then, and the distinc-
tion between subject and object is not something that preexists the act in The kaleidoscopic flash of suggestion, and intmsion of the inapt, the
an ontological sense. Rather, they are created by contradictoly responses unceasing flow of odds and ends of possible objects that will not fit, together
within the act. Mind is the working out of this contradiction, and is neces- with the continuous collision with the hard, unshakable objective condiliolis
sary for the act to proceed: for the impulse to find its object, and act to be of the problem, the transitive feelings of effort and anticipation when Itre
consummated. feel that we are on the right track and sul~stanti\~e
points of rest, as the idea
becomes definite, the welcoming and rejecting, especially the identification
Just as Danvin will not let us ask whether the chicken or the egg came first, of the meaning of the whole idea with the different steps in its coming to
but will point toward the trans-generational act of reproduction, so Dewey is consciousness - there are none of these that are not almost oppressively
leading us away from an ontological distinction behveen the flame and the present on the surface of consciousness duringjust the periods which Dewey
child's conscious perception, toward a holistic conception of the act within describes as those of disintegration and reconstitution of the stimulus-the
which mind and object arise. Instead of a spatial metaphor which asks us to object. (1903, pp. 101-102)
think of object and mental image, chicken and egg, side-by-side, we move
toward a temporal metaphor, where object and image are, like chicken and Here we have a detailed phenomenoIogica1 description of coascious-
egg, merely different phases of the same process, or act. From the stand- ness as an attempt to reconstmct a ruptul-ed act. Conflicting responses are
point of the actor, the rupturc makes that which was previously objective juxtaposed. Aspects of the world shimmer between objectivity and subjcc-
subjective, and the phase of reconstnlctiol~(mind) is the attempt to restore tivity. The mind scrambles to reconstruct the environment into such a
objectivity to the object, so that action can proceed. configuration as can lead to the goal of the act.
14 A. GILLESPIE Becoming Other 1 5

Despite providing a rich, and phenomenologically plausible, account itself or the second dog. Indeed, humans seem only poorly aware of the
of consciousness, Mead came to realize that Dewey's theory of the act was contradictions in which they are embedded. Marx, for example, would be
inadequate. Two main problems with the theory of the act emerged. The disappointed with the proletariat's current lack of awareness of the con-
first was noted by James. James (1904) reviewed the work of Dewey and tradictions of capitalism. Contradictory responses are insufficient to prise
his colleagues (1903), and heralded the emergence of "the Chicago the actor out of ongoing action, and thus unable to provide a non-Carte-
school." James recognizes the importance of the act, but he points out sian conception of mind.
that it provides "no account of the fact [...I that different subjects share a 'I'hese problems with the act caused a rupture for Mead. The tlieoly of
common object-world" (p. 4). If all subjects construct their individual the act was insufficient for Mead's goal of explaining l ~ ~ i r n aconscious-
knowledge through ruptured action, then how is it that humans share ness. Thus Mead's own path of action toward an unclerstancling of con-
knowledge? The Deweyan act, despite its sophisticated temporality, is scio~lsnesswas ruptured, and lie began to reconstruct Dewey's tlleoly of
hndamentally individualistic. It refers only to the organism-environment the act into his own theory of the social act. In a series of papers we can
relation. How can it account for the fact that humans share language and observe the kaleicloscopic flash of suggestion at work as Mead (19101
a social environment? If there were only the Deweyan act, then surely all 2001, 1910a, 1910b, 1912, 1913) struggles to reconstruct the Deweyan act
humans would be isolated in their own action-environments? Dewey and (Gillespie, 2004). In these papers, several alternative theories shimmer
his colleagues may have succeeded in casting aside "the sacred arc of between objectivity and subjectivity. For example, Mead (1910a, p. 400)
absolute permanency," but they clearly created a new problem. The the- discusses and dismisses James' (1890, p. 25) idea tliat mind arises through
ory of the act carries perspectivism forward, but it does not provide an thc repeated perception of the same object. He also explored the idea,
account of perspective-taking. which he later abandoned, tliat mind arises in the space of manipulation
The second problem with Dewey's conception of the act is that it fails opened up between the subject ancl the object by the action of tlie hands
to provide a suacient foundation for mind, or consciousness. What con- (1 9 1012001, pp. 52-56). Both of' these iaader~i~ate formulations are, like
stitutes a contradiction? Is not each previous response to the candle the act, still in one inlportant sense, Cartesian, for they both take the sub-
unique, thus constituting at least a minimal contradiction to the present ject-object interaction as prinlaly. Mead's first major breakthroug.11was to
response? How big a divergence of response makes a contradiction? What turn his attention away fi-om the subject-object relation and toward the
are the borders of an act? Is it the reaching for the candle, or the subact of subject-subject interaction.
turning the head? The answers to all these questions are fuzzy, and so Based on this paradigmatic shift of emphasis, Mead put folward what I
mind is left without a solid foundation. Moreover, why should a contradic- term a feedback theory, or a mirror tl~eo~y, of consciousness. According to
tion on any scale produce mind? Mead (1910a) states the problem clearly. this theory, it is the feedback an actor receives from others that cleter-
Returning, yet again, to the child and the flame, he writes: mines the meaning of his or her action, and thus, that produces self-con-
There is the teaping flame which means to the child a plaything, there is
heat which means a burn. In this case the results of the past responses are ?Ve arc conscious of our attitudes because they are I-esponsible for thc
related to characters in tlie content of stimulation - movement means play- changes in the conduct of other individuals. A man's reaction toward
thing, heat means burn. Still the meaning of plaything is playing and the weather conditions has no influence upon the weather itself. It is of impor-
meaning of burn is drawing back the hand. The association of these con- tance for the success of his conduct that he should be conscious not of his
tents with the dancing flame does not enable the child to present to himself own attitudes, of his own habits of response, but of the signs of rain or fair
the playing or hurried withdrawal. It simply gives other contents, other ~ueather.Successful social conduct brings one illto a field xvithin which a con-
stimulation values to his immediate experience. The association of one con- sciousness of one's own attitudes helps torvard the control of the conduct of
tent with another content is not the symbolism of meaning. (p. 400) others. (1910a, p. 403)

Conflicting responses to play and to withdrawal, Mead argues, will only Because the actions of self are of consequence for the actions of others
lead to an oscillation between responses, not to consciousness that one is (which in turn, are of consequence for sell) there is both an incentive and
responding. In nonhuman animals there are conflicting responses, yet a potential mechanism whereby self can become conscious of his or her
there is no consciousness. A dog may oscillate between being friendly and actions. Returning to the motif of the child and flame, tlie feedback the-
aggressive to a second dog, but it does not become coliscious of either o ~ adds
y the mother to the scene, Thus we move from a dyadic model to a
16 A. GILLESPIE Becoming Other 17

triadic model. The attitude of the mother within this triad provides feed- quent tlleoiy. The problem is the divergence of perspectives within any
back to the child who is engaged in a Detveyan act with the object. Within social interaction. A fundamental divergence of perspectives is the start-
this theoretical scheme, the meaning of an act is the response of the ing point for James, Dewey, and Mead. It is easy for us to overlook this
mother. divergence for we automatically conceive of a situation from the perspec-
Although the feedback theory of consciousness is sometimes attributed tives of diverse participants simultaneously Returning to the example of
to Mead, Mead himself came to reject the theory. Three problems are evi- the noth her, child and flame will illustrate the divergence. The situation
dent. Firstly, why should the animate world provide any more feedback for the child is that of reachiilg for a play-thing or a burn-thing. The situ-
than the inanimate world? Food eaten disappears, and there is no reason ation for the mother is attentiveness to her child, of both pl-otecting the
to see why this should bring about consciousness. Secondly, non-human child and fulfilling the child's desires. Despite the actions of both mother
animals, right down to social insects, live amidst others, receiving feed- and child constituting, in part, the sit~lationfor the othel; each is clearly
back from others, and yet they do not appear to have minds. Finally, there embedded in a different situation. The problem is: how can the child
is nothing in feedback per se that would seem to lead to consciousness or transcend her own perceptual field and begin to experience the situation
mind. For example, a dog can be taught to point at food, through reward of the mother within which she (the child) is the other?
and punishment feedback, but the dog is not aware of the meaning of In order to address this question we need to distinguish perspectives
pointing. from social positions (Gillespie, 2006a). Perspectives, as described so far,
The core problem is that the feedback theory does not adequately deal refer to the relation between an actor and the environment. This relation
with a subject-subject relation. The other is a pseudo-other, who may as is calved, primarily, by action. Action is the meeting point between the
well be an object or a mechanical device. The feedback theoly is the sub- embodied desires of the actor and thc constraints of the environment.
ject-object paradigm in disguise, for the perspective is still focused on the The environment, from the perspective o f the actor, contains paths of
actor and the other is not endowed with any independent perspective. action leading to the satisfaction oI'various desires. The pl-oblcm of per-
The theory is perspectival, but essentially it only theoiizes one perspec- spective-taking, then, is the pi-oblern of how people become aware of the
tive. If one is to take the subject-subject interaction seriously, then the the- action orientations of others.
ory needs to become multi-perspectival, it needs to theorize the Social positions, on the other hand, are fi~nctionalpositions within
interaction between perspectives. And this is precisely what Mead's theory institutionalized patterns of interaction (social acts). They are not simply
of the social act does. ways of acting, or roles, rather they are social-stl-uctural positions of con-
straint and affordance. Examples of social positions ~vitllineveryday social
acts include: speakitlgllistening, b~~yinglselling, winning/losing, giving1
MEAD: THE SOCIAL ACT receiving, I-equesti~~g/hclping, artackingldcfendi~~g,leadinglfollo~vil~g,
questioning/answering, lending/borrowing, and corntnanding/obeying.
There are two related insights that lead to Mead's theory of the emer- Social positions also exist in play: children enjoy enacting the social posi-
gence of consciousness. First, Mead defines consciousness as becoming tions of buying and selling, of fceding and being fed, of giving and receiv-
other to oneself. Consciousness, for Mead, is essentially self-reflection, ing, of chasing and escaping, of teachitlg and learning, and so on. Evely
and it makes possible self-mediation, that is self-monitoring and self-con- social act rriust contain two or more social positions, and thcsc social posi-
trol. It is by becoming other to oneself that self is able to mediate self's tions must be interrelated such that the e~lvironmentof each social posi-
own reflexes. Second, Mead realized that self is already other from the tion is in part constituted by the actions of those in the complementa~y
perspective of other within social interaction, and thus if self could take social position.
the perspective of other (toward self) then we would have an explanation In order to use this distinction bettveen perspectives and social posi-
of self-reflection and self-mediation. tions to understand perspective-taking, two assumptio~lsmust be made.
We are back at the problem of perspective-taking, a problem that First, each social position, given its social and sti-uctural configuration of
seems inherent in perspectivism. There is no nerve fiber connecting the arordances and constraints, sustains a perspective. Tllc social position
brain of one human to the next, so how can one person participate in the patterns the occupant's expcricnce. Being, for example, in the social posi-
experiences of the next? It is important to realize the extent of this prob- I! tion OF receiving can sustain cxperie~lcesof joy, iridebtcdness and even
lem, for it is both central to understanding Mead's insight and his conse- I resentfulness. The complementary social position of giving, on thc other
18 A. GILLESPIE Becoming Other 19

hand, can sustain experiences of loss, vicarious joy, and superiority, In order to illustrate these dynamics, let us consider the givingll-eceiv-
among others. Second, people frequently exchange social positions within ing act again. In the course of development, children move between the
social acts. Sometimes people give and sometimes they receive; some- social positions of giving and receiving innumerable times. Indeed, some-
times people command and at other times they obey; sometimes people times young children and their caregivers play at simply giving and
buy and sometimes they sell, and so on. receiving things. Repeatedly and rapidly moving from thc social position
So, given these two assumptions, how does perspective-taking develop? (and thus the perspective) of the recipient to the social position (and the
Taking the perspective of the other needs to be theorized as a develop- associated perspective) of thc giver could, potentially, diKerentiate and
ment of taking the social position of the other within a given social act. When integrate the perspectives or the giver and receiver. The vocal gesture is
the child takes the social position of the other, within a social act, the child also important. While the visual and visceral expericnce of the social act
cultivates the perspective of the other because each social position sus- may be quite different for both giver and recipient, the auditory modality
tains a distinct perspective. Ontogenetically the precursor of perspective- is less divergent. The word "present," for example, will be heard the same
taking is simply taking up and enacting the social position of the other. by both giver and recipient. The interesting thing is that the word
Through taking the social position of many others, in play and actuality, "present" can then become associated with both the perspective of the
the child cultivates the diverse perspectives that are sustained by social giver and the recipient. The auditory word "present" is thus a constant
and institutional structures. The child becomes, in an embodied sense, a that bridges the otherwise divergent perspectives. If both giver and recip-
buyer and a seller, a caregiver and a cared for, a teacher and a learner, a ient associate the word "present" with the perspective of either giving or
doctor and a patient, and so on. Thus the Cartesian gulf is bridged: all receiving, and they both do this for cach of the social positions, then the
children within the same society and moving between the same social word "pt-esetlt" evokes both the fie~sfiecti~ie
ofgiving and the ~erqectiveof leceir~-
positions will cultivate a similar stock of perspectives. Let us call this cnl- ing sinzultaneo~uly.
cia1 dynamic, position exchange. This is not Mead's term, but mine. We have had to abandon the motif of the child and tlie flatne that has
However, a secondary problem remains. For self-reflection two or more been with us since Descartes, The reason for this is that it does not con-
perspectives existing within a social act must be evoked simultaneously tain institutionalized social positions, and thus it is inadequate for illus-
within the same person. Thus the child must integrate the correct com- trating the social act. Social acts are institutionalized patterns of action,
plementary perspectives so that when in one social position, she is aware containing social positions, each of which sustains a distinct perspective.
of the perspective of the other (without being in the social position of the Moving between social positions is a means for diflerentintzng the perspec-
other). How does this integration of complementary perspectives occur? tives that are sustained by a given societies social stlucture. The
There are two mechanisms. integ-atzon1of these perspectives, into the subtle architect~u-eof intersub-
First, position exchange, aside from cultivating differentiated perspec- jectivity that we are familiar with, occurs through repeated and rapid posi-
tives, also contributes to the integration of perspectives. Repeated and tion exchange and through t l peculiar
~ significance of the vocal gesture.
rapid position exchange, within a social act, brings the differentiated per- The former leads us ir~crementallyfmrn taking the social position of the
spectives closer together. As the child moves physically from one social other toward taking thc perspective of the other, whilc the latter isolates
position to the next, so the child also moves from one perspective to the that which is common to divergent perspectives, and thus that which can
next, and thus the perspectives become associated together. become a bridge between perspectives.
Second, there is what Mead (1912) referred to as the peculiar signifi-
cance of the vocal gesture. Vocal gestures are distinct from other gestures,
such as facial gestures or bodily gestures, because they are experienced in SIGNIFICANT SYMBOLS
the same way by both self and other within a social act. "While one feels
but imperfectly the value of his own facial expression or bodily attitude Mead's theory of the social act brings with it a novel theory of language.
for another, his ear reveals to him his own vocal gesture in the same form Words, or vocal gestures, which evoke two or more perspectives within a
that it assumes to his neighbor" (1912, p. 403). That is to say, vocal ges- social act, Mead called significant symbols. If a gesture-whether vocal or
tures normally sound the same in all the situations that comprise a social othe~wise-evokes olily one perspective, 01- response, then within Mead's
act. Visual stimuli, on the other hand, are usually divergent for self and terminology it is simply a symbol. This distinction, while f~lndamentalto
other within any social act. Mead's theo~y,is often overlooked.
20 A. GILLESPIE Becoming Other 21

Morris, for example, conflates this distinction. Morris argues (1946, jective, and the verb "to buy," is intersubjective to the extent that both of
p. 347) that for Mead a significant symbol is a "sign that has the same sig- these different perspectives arise within the same person (either buyer or
nification to the organism that produces it that it has to other organisms." seller). The point, then, is that the significant symbolic meaning of the
For Morris, then, the significant symbol is produced by a member of the verb "to buy" contains divergent perspectives.
community, and it has a standardized meaning for all members of the The same point can be made about nouns. From a pragmatist point of
community, including the member who produced the symbol. This, how- view, nouns gain their meaning by virtue of being implicated in paths of
ever, misses the point that a significant symbol elicits in all who hear it not action. For exarnple, we have already seen how the noun "present" means
the same response, but the same two complementary responses. Mead is bolh something to give and something- to get. When one liears the word
quite clear about this: "It is through the ability to be the other at the same "present," it evokes both feeliiigs or attitudes. It puts one both in the ori-
time that he is himself that the symbol becomes significant" (Mead, 1922, entation of receiving and in the orientation of giving.
p. 161). By being other and self "at the same time," Mead is referring to In all cases significant symbols are microcosms of social acts. The diver-
the simultaneous evocation of the complementary perspectives of self and gences of perspective which exist within social acts-between people
other within a given social act. interacting-are present in the very structure of significant symbols, or
Mead's distinction between the significant symbol and the symbol is words. A significant symbol is forged in a given social act. It is a stimuli
important, because it makes an original and useful contribution to our that has become associated with the divergent, yet complementary, per-
way of thinking about signs. For example, both Saussure's (191611983) spectives within a given social act. It is a stimuli that has come to integrate
sign and Morris's (1946) comsign emphasize a singular relation between these perspectivcs. One interesting consequence of this idca is that all
the sign, or comsign, and an object. Mead's significant symbol, on the knorvledge is linked to self, or identity. To understand a significant sy~nbol
other hand, is genuinely intersubjective and dialogic for it is, even in its is to expericncc the social act f ~ - o ~
n perspectives simultaneously,
most minimal Corm, the integration of at least two different perspectives. and thus also to experience ones own role within that social act.
'The theories of Biihler and Peirce are closer to Mead in this regard.
Biihler (1934/1990) recognizes that there may be a divergence between
the expression of a sign for a speaker and the appeal of the sign to a SELF-REFLECTION: THE "I" AND THE "ME"
receiver. Peirce similarly states that the sign, or representamen, needs an
interpretant, and that the meaning of a sign varies with the interpretant. Let us now consider Mead's theory of self-reflection in some more detail.
In this sense both Biihler and Peirce bring to the fore the potential diver- The origins of this theory are to be found in introspection. In analyzing
gences in the meaning of a sign. However, they do not conceive of this self-reflection Mead makes use of lames' (1 890) disti~~ction between the
divergence as inherent in the stiucture of the sign. "I" and the "me." Mead describes self-reflection in the following way:
For Saussure, Morris, Biihler, and Peirce, a verb like "buy," in the con-
text of an economic exchange, refers to the act purchasing, even if, in dif- IVl~atis involved in tlie sclf being an object? The first ansrver nay be that an
ferent contexts and for different people the precise meaning of the word object invcllves a subjcct. Stated in other words, that a "n~c"is iaconceival~lc
without an "I." And to this reply must be made that s11ch an "I" is a presup-
varies. The sign "buy" is considered to indicate one basic meaning-the
position, but never a presentation of co~lsciousexperience. (Mead, 1913,
act of purchasing. Considered from a Meadian standpoint, "buy" has a p. 374)
more specific meaning, or rather, two divergent meanings. Situating the
significant symbol "buy" within the social act of buying and selling, we see In self-reflection, self becomes an object to self. Mead's question is,
that it has a different meaning when considered from the perspective of how can this occur? And what does it presuppose. His answer is that self
the buyer compared to the perspective of the seller. From the standpoint can only be an object, from the perspective of some other subject posi-
of the buyer, "to buy" means to give money in return for a desired com- tion. If self is to be "known" there must be a "kno-rvec" There can be no
modity. For the buyer the commodity is more desirable than the money, "me" (self-as-known)without some "I" (self-as-knower).The "I" can never
and thus the exchange takes place. However, from the perspective of the appear in conscious experience, for it is always the author of that cxpcri-
seller the term "to buy," in fact, means "to sell." The seller gives the com- encc. The "I" is that part of self that perceives, and just like tlie eyeball
modity in return for the desired money. Unlike the buyer, the seller does not normally perceivc itself, so the "I" does not become an object to
desires the money more than the commodity. The exchange is intersub- itsclf. Whatever appears in consciousness is a "men--even if the inti-ospec-
22 A. GILLESPIE Becoming Other 23

tor turns, to reflect upon a previous "I" position, the moment this previ- reflection. Self acts, and then takes the perspective of the other upon that
ous "I" position enters consciousness, it becomes a "me" and the "I" takes act, while still identifying with that act.
up a new position. Self-reflection is constrained. We are not free to reflect upon any aspect
So far this usage of the terms "I" and "me" is quite standard. James of ourselves. We can, according to Mead, only reflect upon those aspects
(1 890) for example had described the self as "dupIex"-part known and of ourselves that have been picked out in social acts, and perhaps identi-
part knower. And in Baldwin's (1901) dictionary, "I" is defined as the fied by significant symbols. This is because, self-reflection is most funda-
"subject-self" while "me" is defined as the "object-self." All this is in mentally about taking the perspective of' the other. I-Towcvel; it is overly
accord with Mead's usage. The "I" and the "me" are relative to each other simplistic to say that sclf-reflection is cornplctcly constrained to specilic
-one cannot have one without the other (Markovi, 1987). social acts, completely constrained by taking the perspective or specific
Mead, however, goes beyond this introspective description of self- others. Mead was aware of this, and speculated, that thc perspectives of
reflection. He interprets the dynamics of the "I" and the "me" in terms of specific others meld to form, what he called, the perspective of the gener-
his theory of the social act and especially in terms of the significant sym- alized other, and that this in turn makes possible more wide-ranging self-
bol. His idea is that the "I" position that self takes, when reflecting upon reflection:
self, is in fact the perspective of an other. The "me" then arises by taking
the perspective of an other upon self. But as already emphasized, self We approve of ourselves and condemn ourselves. We pat ourselves upon the
does not take the actual perspective of the other, rather self simply takes back and in blind fury attack ourselves. Me' assume the generalized attitude
self's own perspective from when self was previously in the social position of the group, in the censor that stands at the door of orlr imageiy and inner
of the other. Thus, strictly speaking, we have one past aspect of the self, conversations, and in the afirlnation of the laws anrl axio~nsof the universe
of discoursc [...] Our thinking is a11 inner con~ersationin ~vhickwe may be
reacting to the present action of the self. But the important point is to
taking the roles of specific acquaintances over against ourselves, but usually
connect the "I" position taken, with the perspectives of others within the it is with what I have tei-met1 the "generalized other" thal we convcrsc
social act, for this makes the act of self-reflection hndamentally social. (Mead, 1925, p. 272)
The connection to the significant symbol is in the fact that self-reflec-
tion implies that self participates in two perspectives simultaneously. Self Through diverse social acts, self cultivates diverse perspectives, and
must be both the "I" and the "me" at the same time. these perspectives, as they accumulate, begin congeal into the more gen-
eral structure of the "generalized other." This structure is the perspective
[Introspective] analysis does reveal, then, in a memory process an attitude of
of the community within the individual. It is formed by the individual
observing oneself in which both the observer and the observed appear. To
be concrete, one remembers asking himself how he could undertake to do generalizing their own perspcctives, into a more general structure.
this, that, or the other, chiding himself for his shortcomings or pluming Through the generalized othel; the individual thus comes to reflect upon
himself upon his achievements. Thus, in the reintegrated self of the self by reacting to self in the same way t i n t they react to othel-s.
moment passed, one finds both a subject and an object. (1913, p. 374) The perspective of the generalized otlier is embedded into language.
Eve~yword, or significant symbol, as mentionccl, calls out the dirfcrent,
The self that arises in self-reflection exists in duration, not in a pin- yet cornplementaiy, perspectives within a social act. Eveiy word, if under-
point present. Self-reflection reveals self in motion. Self-reJlectionis a moue- stood, calls out the I-esponseof both self and other within a social act. And
ment between I-positions, the former becoming the object of the latter. If self some words have become generalized, becoming applicable in many
were simply one I-position at one time, and another I-position at a second social acts, and thus calling out vety generalized orientations to action.
point in time, and there was no overlap, then there could be no conscious- Consider, for example, pronouns.
ness of self. There would only be a change in action orientation, or per- Pronouns, such as "me" and "you," are very general significant sym-
spective. It is because self has duration, that self can encompass one or bols, applying to no social act in particulal; and instead being applicable
more I-positions, and thus become self aware. This brings us back to the to all social acts. Depending on onc's position within a social act, "me"
logic of the significant symbol. The significant symbol evokes both the I- and "you" have the same meaning. As Farr and Romrnetveit (1995,
position of self within a given social act, and the I-position of the ocher, p. 273) have pointed out, "me" spoken by you rncalls "you" to rile, and
who is reacting to self. It is the rapid movement from the first I-position "me" spoken by me means "you" to you. And if you say "you" then tbe
to the second, such that both exist simultaneously, that constitutes self- meaning for me is "me." The important point, here, is that to understancl
24 A. GILLESPIE Becoming Other 25

either the pronoun "me" or "you" is to understand the pronoun from NOTE
both points of view. Thus when speaking about "me," if I understand what
I am saying, I necessarily become conscious of myself from your point of 1. The idea that development occurs through differentiating perspectives
view. Equally, if I speak about "you," and again I understand what I am and then integrating them into a subtle architecture of intersubjectivity, is
saying, then I become aware of myself fi-om your point of view. similar to the orthogenetic principle p~nposedby Werner. According to
Mkrner (1957, p. 126) development "p~.oceedsfrom a state of relative glo-
This consideration of significant symbols brings us back to the peculiar bality and lack of dirfcl.entiation to a state of increasing diffel-entiation,
significance of the vocal gesture. Here we see that vocal gestures serve not articulation, and hierarchical integration."
only to integrate perspectives, but also to facilitate self-reflection. To utter
a word (a significant symbol) is to evoke the perspective of the other-to
invite a change of perspective, and thus, to invite self-reflection.


The problematic that Mead pursued throughout his life, "the problem of
individual mind and consciousness," led him to his theory of the social
act. The social act binds together the various aspects of Mead's theoly. It
is an epistemology, a theory of how knowledge is produced in social inter-
action. It is a theory about the origin and structure of language, or signif-
icant symbols. It is a theory of institutionalized patterns of social
interaction with differentiated social positions. And it is a theory of per-
spective-taking as arising through position exchange and the vocal ges-
But most of all, I would argue, the social act is a theory of self-reflec-
tion. I choose the term self-reflection because it foregrounds the self. For
Mead, the problem of consciousness is really about consciousness of self,
and the problem of mind is really reflecting upon self's relation to the
world. Within Mead's scheme, the self, in goal-directed interaction with
others, is the center of gravity about which everything else tunls. Signifi-
cant symbols are a means for coordinating self's activity in relation to the
actions of others. Knowledge is an intersubjective structure that opens up
new paths of action for self. And self-reflection, or consciousness of self,
arises within social acts by virtue of self taking the perspective of other.
While it may seem that Mead's theory has much to contribute, the fact
is that there is a dearth of sustained and rigorous attempts to work
through his complex ideas with empirical research. This is ironic when
one considers the theory as developing out of pragmatism. For pragma-
tists it is not ideas in themselves that are interesting, but the consequences
of ideas. Moreover, the mechanism for developing new ideas, from a
pragmatist standpoint, is in pursuing the consequences of an idea. The
aim of the present monograph, then, is to pursue the empirical conse-
quences of Mead's theory of the social act.


The aim of the present study is to take Mead's tl~eoly,presented in the
previous chapter, and instantiate it in empirical reseal-ch. In a pragmatist
sense, our aim is to explore the utility of the theory. When confi-onted
.vvith messy empirical data, can the theo~yhelp to explain the errlergencc
of a new "mc" and the dynarrlics of self-reflection? The social act that wc
will focus upon is the intcractions that occllr between tourists and Lada-
khis high up on the Hi~nalayanplateau. But we are not yet in a position to
begin the reseal-ch. Even contemplating operationalizing Mead's sorne-
what abst~x~se theoiy in an empirical setting, such as tourist-Laclakhi
encounters, raises many problems.
The basic problem is that the theoly of the social act is surprisingly Pla-
tonic. It is more akin to an ideal form than anything we might act~~ally find
in the world. The social act, as described by Mead, is bounded. But in the
social world, no social interactions are completely bounded. The social act
is a theoiy of the origin ofsignificant symbols and self-reflection. But in the
social world, significant symbols and self-reflective selves preexist every
social interaction. The social act presents position exchange as the basis of
perspective taking. But in the social world, people often take the perspec-
tives of those in social positions that they have never experienced.

Becoming Other: h i i t Socinl I?~temcfionto SelfRelection, 27-49
Copyright O 2006 by Information Age Publishing
All rights of reproduction in any form resewed.
28 A. GILLESPIE Becoming Other 29

As we approach the problem of tourist-Ladakhi encounters, with In play, the child cultivates the diverse perspectives that exist within
Mead's theory in hand, it becomes clear that there are three main obsta- her society. Initially, the child plays at the social positions of those who are
cles to operationalizing the theory. first, the concept of position exchange nearby. For example, she plays at parenting, at feeding, at babysitting and
is overly reductive. Second, Mead does not provide us with a means to so on (Opie & Opie, 1969). Later on, as the child is brought into a larger
understand the content of a perspective, o r the use of preexisting knowl- range of social acts, involving teachers, friends, and the wider community,
edge in order to construct a perspective. Third, there are ferv empirical so she begins to play at a larger range of social positions. She begins to
precedents that we can follow. The present chapter deals with each of play at being a teacher, being a robber, being a police oficcr, being a doc-
these issues in turn. tor, being a patent, being a bus conductor, being a shop assistant and so
on. Within the play, she does not confine herself to a single rolelposition,
but takes up multiple positions which respond to each other:
He plays that hc is, tor instance, offering hi~nselfsomething, and lie buys it;
Ile gives a letter to himsclf and takes it away; he addresses himself as a par-
Taking turns in complementary social positions is c e n ~ a tol Mead's the- .
ent, as a teacher; he arrests himsclf'as a poiiceman., , The child says some-
ory of the significant symbol and self-reflection. Both the formation of thing in one character and responds in arlo~llcrcha~acter,and then his
significant symbols and the emergence of self-reflection depend upon rcsponding character in another character is a stirnulus LO llirnsclf in the
perspective-taking within a social act, and the primary mechanism that first charac~cr,and so the conversation goes on. (Mead, 1934, pp. 150-151)
enables perspective-taking is position exchange. But is moving between
complementaiy social positions within a social act necessary for all per- The child enacts one perspective, and that action calls out a seconcl
spective-taking? perspective, within the given social act (buying calls out selling, posting
The problem is that position exchange, while common within some calls out receiving, teaching calls out learning, etc.). In play, as Mead
domains, it is not common in other domains. There is repeated position describes it, children take up each of these complenlentary sides of social
exchange within the social acts of giving/receiving, speakingilistening, acts consecuti~~ely. Through play, then, the child cultivates the perspec-
rvinningllosing, and so on, but what about the social acts involved in het- tives, 01. experiences, that belong to various social positions-usually the
social positions that the child is not allowed to take up in act~iality.
erosexual relationships, parenting, and teaching? Men and women can-
But the young child is not stable. When she moves to a new position,
not exchange social positions; children and parents also cannot exchange
she fitlly enacts that position, leaving behind the previous one. Whcn shc
social positions; also, students and teachers rarely exchange social posi-
is in the position of tlie salesperson, the perspective of the shopper is
tions. Yet men and women can (to some extent) take each other's perspec- absent. She is not yet able to mediate her actions, as a salesperson from
tive, as can children and their parents, and students and their teachers. the standpoiilt of the shopper. "The child is one thing at one time and
Thinking more broadly, it is evident that people are able to take (to some another at another" (Mead, 1934, p. 159). Having cultivated a diverse
extent) the perspectives of judges, doctors, policemen, businessmen, and array of perspectives, corresponding to the perspectives sustained by the
numerous others, without ever having been in these social positions. More institutions of society, how is it that the child integrates these perspec-
to the point, what about encounters between tourists and members of a tives? How does she link together the perspective of the salesperson with
very different culture? Neither has been in the social position of the other, that of the shopper? The answer is to be found in Mead's theorization of
yet perspective-taking (to some extent) occurs. How is this possible? the game.
Games are social acts because they have differentiated social positions
and entail position exchange. Games are f~~nclamentally different to play.
Play and Games: Cultivating and Integrating Perspectives Play is solitary, games are social. In games, the child must coordinate her
behavior with respect to the other participants. In a game the child can-
Mead (1922, 1925) recognized the importance of the imagination in not move freely between social positions, as eveiyone's social position
perspective-taking. In order to show how children's imagination enables within a game must be agreed upon by the group. Moreover, to be an
them to take all the many perspectives that comprise society, Mead theo- effective participant in a game, to skillfully enact one's prescribed social
rizes children's play and games. position, one must be able to mediate one's actions from the standpoint
30 A. GILLESPIE Becoming Other 3 1

of others within the game. That is to say, successll participation in games The Golden Rule, like all rules, draws equivalences between the radically
entails self-reflection, in the sense that self reflects upon self's action from divergent perspectives that exist in the social field. And thus, like all rules,
the standpoint of others within the game. it encourages people to react to themselves in the same way that they
One crucially important feature of games is that they entail the very react to others, that is, they encourage self' to become other.
mechanism that Mead argues is the basis of perspective taking, namely
position-exchange. In the game of football, for example, children take
turns at being striker, defender, and goalkeeper. Position-exchange within Example: The HidinglSeeking act
games enables children to see the game first from one perspective and
then from another. With repeated and rapid position-exchange, it is Let us consider 110147 humans master the hidinglseeking act, a social act
assumed that the perspectives within the game become integrated into an in wl~iclisomething is concealed and potentially found. This social act
architecture of intersubjectivity within the child (Rommetveit, 1974, arises in many different contexts, from childhood to adulthood. People
1979). The importance of position-exchange has already been empha- try to conceal their incomc from the tax authorities, and try to conceal
sized in chapter I. adulterous affairs ft-om partners. Some people must conceal their political
Games, however, have another important feature, namely, rules. The affiliations. PeopIe try to conceal their disdain and disgust in ordcr to
concept of rules is a particularly important concept, both for children and reinair1 polite. l'eople routinely conceal their motivations frorn somc peo-
adults. At a certain age, Mead (1922, p. 162) observes, children have "a ple but not from others. Indeed, much of the dynamics of self-prescnta-
passion for rules." Among adults the passion for rules may be somewhat tion hinges upon some attempt to conceal. On the other hand, people are
diminished, but the importance of rules is ever present in the form of laws always usually kccn to get beyond platitildes and self-prcsei~tation,they
and regulations. From a Meadian standpoint, rules, within a social act or want to know .ridlat others "really" think about their cooking, their dress or
game, are significant symbolic structures that bridge divergent perspec- their latcst publication. Suspiciot~spartners tly to uncover adulle~y,a n d
tives. The important thing about rules is that they apply equalfy to self suspicious teachers try to uncover cheating. In all of these domains, and
and other. Most rules apply to everyone playing the game, and rules that many more, the hidinglseeking act is eviclent. The cluestion is: How docs
are associated with specific social positions must apply to whosoever occu- our significant symbolic understanding of this act come about? How does
pies that social position. For example, in football there is a rule that can the rich architecture of intcrsubjectivity implied in the dynamics of hiding
be paraphrased as "no player is allowed to take the ball off the pitch dur- and seeking develop throughout the life course?
ing the game." This rule is a significant symbol. It can be invoked when I The hidinglseeking act begins with elementaly games like peek-a-boo.
take the ball off the pitch, or when someone else does. This is quite an In peek-a-boo the child and the carer take turns in conceali~lgancl reveal-
intersubjective achievement, because dribbling the ball off the pitch to ing their faces to each other (Bruner & Shewood, 197.5). Participation in
avoid a tackle, is a very different situation to chasing a player in posses- peek-a-boo cultivates in the child the experience or hiding, and the insti-
sion of the ball off the pitch. Yet the rule manages to bridge these diver- tution of turn-taking. Mastcring these dynamics enables the child to par-
gent perspectives. With rules, what applies for "you" also applies for ticipate in the game of hide-and-seek, which is doubtless critical for
"me." The important thing about rules is that they structure perspective- mastering the hiding/seeking act. The game of hide-and-seek has a his-
taking. Before the child is able to regulate her behavior from the stand- tory that goes back at least to the ancient Greeks (Opie & Opie, 1969) and
point of the group she can follow a rule. But by virtue of following the the game appears to have been independently invented in various cul-
rule she is subordinating her behavior to that of the group. In this way, tures (Pandya, 1992). In all cases, two social positions and thus two per-
the rules of a game can socialize children into the perspective of the spectives can be clearly identified. Common rules are that the seeker
group. closes her eyes giving the hider time to hide, and then the seeker shouts
Laws, both lega! and moral, also apply equally to self and other. Con- out that she is beginning to search for the hider. If the seeker does not
sider the so-called "Golden Rule" which appears to be found in many reli- close her eyes, or if she starts to seek before giving a warning, she can be
gions. This rule, as expressed by Mathew 7: 1, is: "All things whatsoever ye accused of cheating. Each social position entails a different action orienta-
would that men should do to you, do ye so to them." Stealing for personal tion (i.e., a different perspective). The seeker does not know where the
benefit is quite a different experience to being the victim of theft. The hider is and has the interest of fincling the hider. The hider usually knows
purpose of the Golden Rule is to bring these two experiences together. where the seeker is, and has the interest of remaining concealed. Because
32 A. GILLESPIE Becoming Other 33

the seeker does not have any interest in concealing herself from the hider, Rules facilitate the integration of perspectives by scaffolding the child's
the seeker often addresses and even taunts the hider, but the hider, hav- behavior in accordance with the interests of others within the game. Ebr
ing the interest of remaining hidden, must not reply to these taunts or example, initially the child will be give a i-ule, such as, "the seeker must
else she will give away her location. Not only does the game of hide-and- first close their eyes and count to ten." The rule does not make sense from
seek contain and structure different perspectives, but more interestingly, the perspective of the seeker-the seeker wants to find those hiding so
it also entails repeated position-exchange as the players repeatedly move why should they close their eyes? The rule only makes sense from the per-
between the social positions of hider and seeker, spective of those hiding-it is a necessary constraint upon the seeker's
Peskin and Adrino (2003, p. 506) report the errors that 3- and 4-year- action in order to give those hiding a chance to hidc. The child wit11 no
olds make when teaching a confederate how to play hide-an4seek. Theo- appre~iationof these intersubjective dynamics will not understand the
retically, two types of error can be distinguished. First, children fail to dif- rule, but will nevertheless be able to follow the rule, and by doing so, will
ferentiate the perspectives of hider and ,seeker. For example, they might enable the gatne to proceed. By following the rule the child acts according
assign both tllemselves and the confederate to the same social position to the interests of the group, even in the absence of knowing the interests
(i.e., they would seek together despite the fact that nobody was hidden); of the group. Thus the rule guides the child's activity in appropriate ways,
they might tell the confederate where to hide; and/or, they telI the confed- and scaffolds intersubjectivc understanding.
erate where they themselves were going to hide. Second, sometimes the Vocal gestures also play an important part in integrating perspectives
children do not manage to regdate their actions within one social posi- within a game. What does the word "hide" mean in the contcxt of hide-
tion from the perspective of the complementary social position. For and-seek? It nlcans different things from different points of vicw. From
example: they begin to hide before the confederate has looked away; they the perspective of those hiding, it means finding a conccalecl location,
simply fail to conceal themselves properly; and/or they do not manage to l-emaining quiet, and avoiding the seeker, From the perspective of the
remain concealed. These errors demonstrate that in order to be a success- seeker, thc word "hide" refers to the actions of others. It means that
ful participant, the chifd must firstly differentiute the two social positions "they" go out of view. It also means that "they" shoulcl be found. And so,
with their respective perspectives and secondly integrate these perspectives For the seekel; it leads to movement frorn one potential hiding place to
so that she can regulate activity within one social position with respect to another. I11 the context of hide-and-seek, then, the word "hide" calls out
the compIementary perspective. This occurs through play, position- the responses of hiding, But also oj'seeking. The word sounds the same
exchange and rules. wlicthcr one is hiding or seeking, and thus each can associate it with their
Hide-and-seek begins with play. The child initially joins in the game, actions. Mead's point is that, given position exchange, participants come
usually with the help of an adult. At this stage the adult will guide the to associate the word "hide" with botli the perspective of hiding and the
child either toward a hiding place, or toward someone hiding, depending perspective of seeking. In this way, the word "hide" becomes a significant
upon the social position being played at. The child may enjoy the sus- symbol.
pense of hiding or the joy of finding, and may elaborate these perspec- Mastering the game of hide-and-seek, however, is not equivalent to
tives. Simply playing at either hiding o r seeking, then, is enough to aid mastering the hiding/seeking act. Once children are bored with hide-and-
the child to differentiate these perspectives, but it is not enough to lead to seek, they usually introduce various complications (Opie & Opie, 1969).
integration. For example, they begin to play the game in the dark or outdoors. One
Position exchange is the main social mechanism driving integration. In common variation is that those hiding are allowed to move about with the
games like hide-and-seek, there is frequent position exchange. The child aim of touching the seeker's base before being seen. I11 other variations,
constantly moves between the perspective of the hider and the seeker. the hider does not hide his or her own person, but instead hides some
According to Mead's theory, we expect that it is this repeated exchange of object, like a button, and verbally guides the seekers toward the hidden
positions that integrates the child's experience of seeking with the child's object-for example by saying that the seeker is getting "hot" or "cold."
experience of hiding. The rules of the game will also help to bind these Related games, such as kiss chase, cops and robbers, and treasure hunts,
perspectives together. Once this integration takes hold, then the child is which share the same basic hiding/seeking interaction, further enrich and
able to hide effectively by taking the perspective of the seeker, and seek generalize intersubjectivity within the hiding/seeking act.
effectively by taking the perspective of the hider. In short, the child Raising the level of complexity still hrthel; it is possible that ~larrative
begins to master the intersubjective dynamics of hide-and-seek. structures, involving hidinglseeking or escaping/chasing, may further
34 A. GILLESPIE Becoming Other 35

enrich the evolving architecture of intersubjectivity, further differentiat- THE CULTURAL STREAM AND THE IMAGINATION
ing and integrating the perspectives. Dramatic films, for example, often
have narratives that turn upon the dynamics of escaping and chasing or Play and games may be able to explain how children can take the perspec-
concealing and finding. In order to be able to follow such narratives, the tives of major social positions in our society (such as police officers, doc-
viewer must alternate between taking the perspective of the hider and tors, and teachers) and the more generalized social positions (such as
perspective of the seeker. As mentioned above, hiding and seeking can giving/receiving, hidingiseeking, and talking/1istening). Adults rarely play
occur at many levels of complexity. Consider the film L+?Mepris (con- these types of games, yet they still lcarn to take new perspectives. Is there
tempt), directed by Jean-Luc Godard. The film begins with Camille and any way that we can extend this model for adults?
Paul, a script writer, very much in love. Paul, in search of a neh commis-
sion, lets his wife travel home with the film m o p 1 Prokosh, and thus
Mass Mediated Imagination
exposes her to his advances. CamilIe waits for an apology, but Paul fails to
see the blunder he has made. She begins to despise her husband, but can-
Although adults rarely play overtly, tbey do engage i11 claydreamillg
not tell him what is wrong, for he must recognize this himself. This film
and reverie. While this is often a private activity, it also has a public coun-
then proceeds to follow the collapse of their relationship, as she hides the terpart in the mass media and fictional narratives. Toward the end of his
cause of her contempt and he seeks the reason for it. In order to under- life, Mead (1926b, 1936, p. 408B becatne increasingly interested in clay-
stand this collapse, the viewer must be able to take both Camille's point of dreaming and the mass media. Once significant syt~lbolsare formed,
view and Paui's. The film leads the viewer from one perspective to other, there is a sort of "symbolic take-orf." Significant symbols allow for thc crc-
and back-repeatedly. At this level, the viewer no longer takes the actual ation of new perspectives, composite perspectives, and even llctional per-
social position of either Camille or Paul, but the narrative and imagery spectives. Adults also play, but their play is at a more symbolic le17el, using
encourage the viewer to generalize their own experiences of hiding and tcchnologies, like the novcl, newspapers, drama, atid film to imagine the
seeking, and of relationships into the unfolding narrative. Equally, the perspectives of a variety of social positions. Using thcsc technologies,
unfolding narrative then reorganizes, elaborates, differentiates, and inte- adults participate in the perspectives of film heroes, politicians, super-
grates these prior experiences, taking the complexity of the hidingseek- stars, policewomcn, judges, doctors, mourners, lawyers, criminals, mur-
ing act to new heights. derers, teenagers, presidents, terrorists, famine victirns, millionai~-es,
There is then a continuous institutional structure that spans from peek- neighbors, Iovers, adulterers, farmers, and aliens-to name but a few.
a-boo, through hide-and-seek, and into the most complex adult negotia- Reverie and collective imaginings, just like childl*en's play and games,
tions. Initially children may use their mastery of the hidingheeking act cultivates the diverse perspectives that exist in society (and many that do
for doing mischief and escaping apprehension. Later it makes possible not exist) and integrates these into an architecture of intersubjectivity.
keeping secrets, either for business or pleasure, and investigating what Again an important mechanism is position exchange. In daydreams, for
example, people change their social position in relation to other people.
has been concealed. In the hide-and-seek of adult emotional displays the
In the mass media, the consumer is encouraged to participate in tlie
differentiation and integration of the perspectives of hiding and seeking
exploits of characters, all of who are in a different social position to the
can become very finely elaborated. What is being hidden and sought can viewer. In the warm glow of a reading lamp, or cathode ray tube, the con-
become ambiguous, and each participant can, by taking the perspective sumer can tour the perspectives of society. In tlie massive consumption of
of the other, go through many levels of recursive thought. But each level '(human interest stories" we can see people t~yingto get into the innumer-
of mastery brings forth a new level of complexity and uncertainty, and so able mundane social positions that comprise our society. Other people,
the refinement continues. I call this a continuous institutional structure their lives, their successes, and failures, Mead writes, "have an interest for
because, from the standpoint of Mead's theory, all of these interactions us which is rather astonishing when one just stands off and looks at the
and narratives are instances of the same basic social act and turn upon situation" (1936, p. 3'74). Fly-on-the-wall documentaries, and reality T V
two basic social positions; the one who conceals and the one who searches. sho~vspromise to bring the consumer right into unusual and interesting
At a11 levels of complexity, the fabric of intersubjectivity is advanced by the social positions, and give them a view from the inside. These social tech-
integration of these two perspectives. nologies enable us to enact in imagination diverse social positions, thus
36 A. GILLESPIE Becoming Other 37

differentiating perspectives, while position exchange within a narrative, by television and radio. People connect with it when they go to the cinema
or soda1 act, can facilitate the integration of perspectives. Thus, these or the theatre. And it can be heard in the babble of conversation that per-
technologies bring us back to the twin dynamic of differentiating perspec- vades evely corner of society. Tourists and Ladakhis inhabit quite differ-
tives and integrating them. ent cultural streams. The tourists are embedded in a cultural stream of
In the case of tourists heading off to a far-flung region of the Hima- glidebooks, films, and travellers' tales, while are carried along by a cul-
laya, such as Ladakh, the mass media is, as we will see, particularly impor- tural stream involving local publications, informal conversations, and ele-
tant. Why do tourists choose to travel to Ladakh if they have not been ments of the Western mass media.
there before? They are led there by a trail of images. Magazines such as Many words are used to label the contents of the cult~~ral stream. We
the National Geographic, novels such as Lost Horizon and films such-as Seven can call it knowledge, evelyday knowledge, common sense, representa-
Ears in Tibet provide tourists with a vivid image of life in the Himalaya- tions, discourses, or semiotic clements. But whi~heverterm we use we are
vivid enough to motivate many thousands of tourists to tour Ladakh every referring to msanzngs. Mcanings circulate al-ound so~iety,moving from
year. These imaginings include the perspective of those who live in the one group to another. Meanings are propagated tlirough the mass media,
Himalaya. The mass media portrays the life of Buddhist monks, their and transformed through this process. Meanings are constructed by
daily rituals, and the life of traditional farmers, their pattern of life, and gmiips, for those groups, in order to facilitate certain actions. Meanings
their perception of the West. And, of course, the mass media is also a win- open up new paths of action while constraining others.
dow on the perspective of tourists for those who live in Ladakh-it pro- When we try to apply Mead's theoiy of tlie social act to a real-world
vides them with a means to imagine the exotic and alien places that context it is apparent that the theory docs not take due account of the cul-
to~iristscome from. tural stream in -cvhich actors are embedded. Mead's theorizing is at a f ~ ~ n -
The possibility of imagination does not mean that position exchange is damental levcl. His theo~yof the social act is tlieorized in tlie abstract, it
not necessary. Imagination is only possible because there has been posi- is not instantiated. For example, Mcad's (1936, p. 351-352) makes general
tion exchange. Position exchange sets up the rudimentaly significant sym- statements such as "the process of knowing lics insidc the process of con-
bolic sttuctures that enable imagination. Without some basic position duct." Such a staterrlent may be valid at a theoretical level: all knowledge
exchange, there would be no significant symbols, and thus no imagina- may indced arise through human conduct, or social acts. Howevel; when
tion. Moreover, imagination is severely limited by the degree to which one looks at any particular social act, then one cannot say that all the
there has been position exchange. Perspectives, or experiences, are knowledge (or, semiotic elements, discourses, representations, images,
embodied-they tug upon visceral responses. Experiencing the death of etc.) that is utilized within that social act originated in that social act. The
someone close, a mental illness, or becoming disabled or disfigured in vast majority of the knowlcdgc that actors draw upon within a social act
some way, are not experiences that are easy to imagine unless one has preexisted that social act, even though it may have been constructed in
been in that position. Equally, as we will see, it is not easy for tourists to previous social acts. This pt-eexisting knowledge is the cultural stream,
imagine the concerns and guiding rationales of the people who inhabit and we need to understand how individuals interact with this stream, and
the Himalaya. Being labelled "traditional," living in remote villages, how they draw elernents out of this stream in order to imagine the per-
being toured by tourists are so far removed from tourists' reserve of expe- spective of the other.
rience, that there is an experiential gap that the mass media cannot fill. What ever interaction occurs behveen tourists and Ladakhis does not
The imaginings are likely to be faint or misplaced. Out- research question create knowledge cle norro. Both tourists and Ladakhis enter into these
then is, given an absence of position exchange between tourists and Lada- interactions with preexisting knowledge, with images and discourses. The
khis, how do they each imagine the perspective of the other? question we should be asking is how does their interaction transform
those knowledges, and how do they mobilize these preexisting structures
of meaning in order to act within this new social context?
Symbolic Resources and the Cultural Stream Humans may be embedded in cultural streams, but they are not domi-
nated by these streams. Although thought and action may often by
Humans live in a cultural stream (Valsiner, 1998; Zittoun, 2006). They shaped by this stream in vely fundamental ways (Bourdieu, 1984), we
are surrounded by images, representations and discourses. The cultural must not fail to differentiate the individual from this stream. Individuals
stream is embedded in books, films, and newspapers. It is carried along within this stream do exercise control over which part of the cultural
38 A. GILLESPIE Becoming Other 39

stream to participate in-to go to the cinema o r the theatre, to go to uni- exchange are only possible if both sides coordinate with the perspective
versity or to join the priesthood. Tourists going to Ladakh prepare by of the other. Without being able to take each others' perspectives (to
choosing to see certain films and read certain books, and most choose to some extent) these interactions would largely breakdown. Guides would
buy a guidebook. Moreover, when we consider the individual within their not know what to sholv tourists. And Ladakhis would be unlikely to let
stream, we find them using semiotic elements drawn from that stream to tourists photograph them. At an identity level, there is also a rupture.
answer to their own needs. For example, they may use elements fi-om the The mere presence of another perspective upon one self is a rupture.
cultural stream, or the mass media, in order to imagine the perspective of Until one can fix the perspective of the other, ones own identity
the other. remains somewhat fluid, for a part of ones identity is constituted by the
The concept of symbolic resources (Zittoun, Duveen, Gillespie,Jvinson, perspective of the other. Accordingly, both tourists and Ladakhis to
& Psaltis, 2003; Zittoun, 2004, 2006) conceptualizes how people use semi-
reconstruct the perspective of the other-and they must do this in the
otic elements (such as books and films), drawn from the cultural stream, absence of position exchange. They must imagine the perspective of the
as resources to resolve ruptures. These knowledge structures and cultural othel; and within this imagination we expect to find elements of the cul-
elements become resources when they are used by one or more people in
tural stream being utilized, and being reconstructed, for the purpose at
order to do something. People use symbolic resouires to deal with prag-
matic, identity and emotional ruptures (Zittoun, 2001). In the midst of
these ruptures people seek out resources within their cultural stream.
Representations, songs, proverbs, religious ideas, social knowledges, dis-
Social Representations and the Content of a "Me"
courses, common sense, sayings, narratives, the mass media, and the
advice of friends a11 offer the individual a range of possible resources for
dealing- with a given rupture. It is easy to say, at an abstract level, that a "mc" arises by taking (or
The moment of use is always somewhat creative. Within a given rup- imagining) the perspective of another upon self. But wlien we turn to
ture, it is always somewhat unpredictable as to what will become a empirical research it becomes apparent that a "me" cannot bc considered
resource, and how it will be used. Knowledge can be taken from one abstractly, it must be studied in terms of contcnt. In f;ict a "me" is all
domain, and used in another. fictional narratives become templates guid- about content-it is about a reflective self-awareness in regards to some-
ing action. Emotional problems can be attenuated by the sound of music. thing. It is not "me" in general that wc study, but only specific aspects,
What may work as a symbolic resource for one person may have no such as "me-as-good," "me-as-unemployed," "me-as-rich," "me-as-tradi-
valence for another. But in all cases, the use, whatever it may be, trans- tional" or "me-as-a-tourist."
forms, to some extent, the symbolic element. Accordingly, perspective taking is not something done in the abstract,
The idea of symbolic resources fits very nicely into the Meadian it is always to take a contentjlil view upon the world or oneself (i.e., "me").
scheme, because it coincides with the action-nrpture-thinking phase-reso- If rve are to deal with perspective-taking in an empirical setting, we need
lution model espoused by Dewey and Mead. Specifically it enables us to to understand the content of perspectives. 'Thinking again of tourists in
deepen our understanding of the thinking phase. When Mead, para- Ladakh, when we talk about their perspective we need to talk about
phrasing James, describes the thinking phase of action as "the kaleido- meanings-about the meaning of traditional societies in a modern world,
scopic flash of suggestion, and intrusion of the inapt, the unceasing flow about the meaning of remote regions seemingly untouched by modernity,
of odds and ends" (1903, p. 101) he does not let us know what the "sug- and about the meaning of Buddhisn~in consumerist societies. The prob-
gestion" is, nor what the "odds and ends" are. He does not speculate lem is that Mead does not give us any language for talking about such
about where these suggestions and odds and ends have come from. Are meanings.
they images from books or films? Are they the voices of friends? And how Thus, we need to introduce a theory of the content of knowledge and
are these suggestions used? These are the questions that the concept of of the reconstruction of knowledge in terms of its content. We turn to the
symbolic resources enables us to address. the017 of social representations (Farr & Moscovici, 1984; Voelklein &
Tourist-Ladakhi encounters stimulate both practical and identity rup- Ho~varth,2005), because more than any other theoly, it focuses upon the
tures. At a practical level, each group needs to construct a working content of knowledge (Duveen, 2000). Moscovici defines social represen-
knowledge of the other. Sightseeing, photography, and economic tations as:
Becoming Other 41

systems of values, ideas and practices with a two-fold function: first, to estab- an 'environment' in relation to the individual or the group." Such per-
lish an order which will enable individuals to orientate themselves in their spectivism is quite commensurate with Mead's perspectivism.
material and social world and to master it; secondly, to enable communica- Here at this point of similarity between Mead and social representa-
tion to take place among members of a community. (Moscovici, 1973, tions theo~ywe also see the difference between these theories. IVhile
p. xiii)
Mead asserts that different groups have different perspectives on the
The first thing to note about social representations is that they have a social world, he never enquires into those perspectives, or gets embroiled
pragmatic function. They enable individuals to orient themselves and in the specifics of how they might bc different. Yet this is exactly what
master the material and social world. Knowledge is power to act, and social representations researchers have done.
social representations are closely related to action. Consider Jodelet's
i Why is it that some ideas stick and others do not? Fi-orn a Meadian per-
(1 989/I 99 1) study of people in the French village of Ainay-le-Chiiteau spective one would answer in terms of the utility of ideas to coordinate
who take in mentally ill lodgers. Jodelet shows how the people of the vil- action, but social representations draws our attention to another aspect:
lage have cultivated representations to differentiate the "loonies" into the background body of meaning, the cultural stream, in rclation to which
those who are "simple" and those who are "nervous." Each representa- that new idea cither makes sense or does not make sense. Social represen-
tations theoly suggests two means through which a new idea is made
tion, she shows, has different action consequences for dealing with the
sensc or: anchoring and objectification.
lodgers. Those who are "nervous" are not to be trusted, while those who
Let us consider the concept of anchoring first. When knowledge circu-
are simple are never devious. In this sense there is a close connection to
lates in society, it docs not pass unchanged fl-om one group to the next
Mead's concept of knowledge. Knowledge is not a "mirror" or indeed a
(Bartlett, 1920, 1928, 1932). In order to l ~ made
c sense of, the unfamiliar
"1-epresentation"(in the pictorial sense) of the world. Rather knowledge is
aspects of the new knowledge must be rnade familiar in some way. A TIT-
a means of interacting with the world. Knowledge is intertwined with peo-
quently cited example of this is Moscovici's (1976) finding that Catholics
ple's ongoing projects (Foster, 2003).
in France anchored their understanding of psychoanalysis in thc familiar
Second, social representations enable people to communicate around a
knowledge of the Catholic confession. As we will see, tourists traveling to
given phenomenon, and to organize their interactions around that phe-
the remote region of Ladakh, anchor the unfamiliar sight of traditional
nomena. In this sense social representations are like universes of dis- Ladakhi life into their understanding of their own past-"primitive soci-
course. They are sets of shared assumptions against which things can be ety." Anchoring, then, refers to the way in the unfamiliar is understood in
said. They have their own internal logic, their own history, and their own terms of the familiar.
moraI imperatives, and thus tlley bind groups together into communica- Objectification, on the other hand, conceptualizes the solidification of
tive communities. We must add, here, a caveat. Social representations do abstract knowIedge into tangibles. This is our "tendency to turn verbs into
not only enable people to communicate, they are also transformed in the nouns" (Moscovici, 1984, p. 42), that is, our telldellcy to turn the dynanlic
process of communication (Bauer & Gaskell, 1999; MarkovB, 2003; Mos- and complex into tangible and often visual objects. Repeatedly at the
covici, 1972). This is an important additional consideration when we try heart of social knowledge we find strong tactile-visual images. The popu-
to understand the transformations of social representations Uovchelov- lar representation of biotechnology, for example, contains the historical
itch, 1995). and visual objectificatio1-1 of "Frankenstein foods" (Bauer 8c Gaskell,
There is a third point to be made about social representations, but 2002). Returning to tourists' representation of Ladakh as "primitive soci-
which is not explicit in Moscovici's definition given above: social repre- ety," the subsequent analyses will show how Ladakhis are objectified in the
sentations are perspectival. Given that groups construct representations, image of the goat herder. In all cases, when the abstract is objectified in
it follows that different groups can construct different representations of terms of concrete imagely, then the meanings associated with that imag-
the same phenomenon. Moreover, because representations shape the ely bleed into the meaning of the object. The object becomes its visual-
paths of action around the phenomenon, it follo~vsthat different groups tactile objectification. These images are generative: they generate new
may perceive different paths of action around a given phenomenon, and judgements, explanatio~lsand evaluations of the object (Jodelet, 19891
thus, we can say that the groups inhabit different environments. As Mos- 1991, p. 293). Genetically modified food, for example, becomes bad
covici (1984, p. 23) clearly states: "social representations must be seen as because it is a "Frankenstein food."
42 A. GILLESPIE Becoming Other 43

The idea of objectification fits very nicely with Mead, because it In the light of this pragmatist conception of theory, it is quite surpris-
emphasizes the embodied nature of knowledge. At the basis of Mead's ing that Mead's theory has had such limited consequences. Or to be more
theory of knowledge is the idea of an embodied response, or orientation precise, the consequences that his theoly has had tend to have been at a
to action (Farr, 1997, p. 320). This is what was originally meant by the theoretical level and there have been few practical consequences or conse-
term "attitude" (Darwin, Flemming), and this is why Mead used the term quences for empirical research. Mead's theory is often quite successf~ilin
interchangeably with the term "perspective" (Farr, 1996). From a Meadian theoretical debates, and is a powerful invocation against individualism.
standpoint, to see someone do something is to participate in that doing But this is not our concern. We are in search of the consequences for
(O'Toole & Dubin, 1968). To understand the percept of a bicycle is to feel, empirical research. We want to use Mead's theoiy in order to understand
to some degree, the feeling of cycling (for similar ideas see, Lakoff 8c 1 a particular interaction, namely tourist-Ladakhi encounters. And in ori-
Johnson, 1999). It is this level of embodied response-responses which enting to this task we find that there is a dearth of empirical research that
need no explanation-that the transformation of the abstract or the unfa- call sewe as a precedent.
miliar tends toward.
We will be using the theoly of social representations to concept~ialize
the content of both the tourists' "me" and the Ladakhis' "me." Too much The Social Act: A Neglected Concept
research on identity has neglected content (Duveen, 2001; Howarth,
2002), and Mead's theory is often interpreted, or at least discussed, with- Symbolic interactionism (Blumer, 1969) is usually seen as tunling
out much regard for content. But empirical research will force us to
Mead's abstruse tl~eorizing into a coliercnt program of etnpirical
engage with the achial content of each "me." In doing this we will be
research. This traclitioll or research takcs as its point of depart~ircMead's
enquiring into how the given "me" is objectified, and how it is anchored
basic insight that humans act on the basis of meanings. From this starting
in previous kno-cvledges, images, and representations,
point, classic studies have shown how pcople become deviant (Beckel;
1963), have explored the microtexture of social ties (Whyte, 1955), and
CONSEQUENCES FOR EMPIRICAL RESEARCH how people engage in self-presentation (Goffman, 1959). Across this
~vholetradition of research there is an emphasis on exploring the mean-
What are theories? And, what is a "good" theory? From a Cartesian stand- ings that exist within the situation being studied. In this sense the studies
point they are meant to be accurate representations of the world. How- are geuuincly perspectivist. 'They assume that the participants inhabit a
ever, from a pragmatist standpoint it is absurd to say that theories present dil2'erent enviro~l~nent to that of the researcher. Moreover, becausc they
a "mirror7' of nature (Rorty, 198911995). Theories may afford a certain focus on people engaged in social activity, this tradition of research comes
action, and may lead to an anticipated result, but it does not follow that closest to utilizing Mead's concept of the social act.
the theo~yis a simulacrum or model of the world-in-itself. Instead of a Ho~vevcr,within this body of research I cannot find any examples of
mirror metaphor, pragmatists propose that we consider theories as tools. empirical research that has systematically utilized the concept of the social
Theories are a means of interacting with the world, just like a tool. "When act (an omission that has recently been pointed out by Blumer & Morri-
we speak of a scientist's apparatus we are thinking of the very ideas of one, 2004). There is theoretical discussion and confusion around the
which he can make use, just as he can use the things which he has in his social act (e.g., Blumel; 1980; de Waal, 2002; Gillespie, 2005; Shibutani,
laboratory" (Mead, 1936, p. 351). Just like the scientist's apparatus, the 1961), but \rely little systematic research which operationalizes the key
scientist's theory mediates his/her interaction with nature. In the same components of the social act, such as position exchange within the social
way that we cannot say that a scientist's apparatus "mirrors" nature, so we act, the vocal gesture and the significant symbol. This is truly surprising,
should not think of theories as "mirrors" of nature. But what we do find is given that Mead (1934, p. 8) describes the social act as "the most funda-
that a good theory opens the world up to action and research, it leads to mental datum." The reason for this neglect, I suspect, is that symbolic
actions that are successful and predictable, and it has consequences that interactionism is overtly sceptical of big theoretical ideas-including
are beneficial-just like a tool. It follows from this that a good theory is a Mead's. The preference of this tradition is to put aside preconceived the-
theory that has useful o r at least interesting consequences, opening the ory, and to derive theory directly from the data (Blumer, 1969; Glaser &
world up to new paths of action. Strauss, 1967). While this emphasis certainly had the advantage of gener-
44 A. GILLESPIE Becoming Other 45

ating a host of interesting research studies, it has been of little benefit for ne~vbornsand chimpanzees to those of a~~tllors such as Jane Austin and
the systematic development of Mead's concepts, such as the social act. Fyodor Dostoyevsky? What can chimpanzee imitation contribute to our
The present research takes from the symbolic interactionism a focus tmderstanding of the failure of tourists and Ladakhis to take each other's
upon microinteractions, and the meanings that guide people within these perspectives? In short, the search for ever more rudimenta~yforms of
interactions. However, it aims to carry the operationalization of the social perspective-taking may have had the unintended consequence of ignor-
act further. That means not just identifying the institutional patterns of ing the more complex forms of perspective taking.
interaction and specifying the socia1 positions and perspectives, but also A new research question needs to be instigatecl: How do the nidimen-
exploring position exchange and the vocal gesture. It means exploring tary structures of intersubjectivity that appear present in newborns
the extent to which perspective-taking occurs, and then exploring how it develop into the complex and subtle architecture of intcrsubjecti~ l' ~y t that
occurs. It means searching for the const~uctionof new significant sym- most humans inhabit? Turning away from the "origins" of perspective-
bols, and new discourses. And finally it means identifying forms of self- taking toward the development or increasiligly subtle forms of intersub-
reflection that seem to originate in that social act. jectivity will direct our attention back toward processes (Gillespie, 2006a;
Ma1 tin, 2006). So long as one thinks of perspective-taking as an ability,
then it rnakes scnsc to study nonhuman primates and young children,
Perspective-Taking: From the Rudimentary to the Complex since they are presumed to be acquiring this ability-while adults arc pre-
sumed to all-ady have it. But Orice one conceptualizes pel-spective-taking
There has been much research on perspective-taking, though not all of in terms of an elaborate architecture of intersubjectivity, that is constantly
this work has its origin in Mead's theory. What is noticeable about this clevelopirig and being refined, then nonhuman primates and young chil-
work is that it tends to treat perspective-taking as an ability and as a vari- dren no longer have a privileged position for
able, something that either is done or is not done. Indeed, much of the Approaclling the problem of tourist-Ladakhi encounters, it bccomes
research is a quest for the developmental origins of perspective-taking. clear that perspective-taking does not simply occur. To say that these
Researchers have found that newborns, only 30 minutes from the womb, groups do or do not have the ability to take each other's perspective is to
seem to be able to imitate actions such as tongue protrusion, opening miss the problem. In order to study perspective-taking at this complex
mouth, closing eyes, an so forth. (Kugiumutzakis, 1988). Pushing the ori- level we need to enter into the phenomenological worlds of both tourists
gins back even further, into our phylogenetic past, primatologists have and Ladakhis, and try to understand how each is constructing a knowl-
been exploring perspective-taking in non-human primates (e.g., Whiten edge of the other. We need to understand the collectively elaborate social
& Custance, 1996). For example, they have found that chimpanzees will representations of the other, and the way in which each group is using the
imitate a human unlocking a box by removing two rods. There is also evi- symbolic resources that they have available in order to reconstiuct the
dence suggesting that chimpanzees will imitate cage cleaning, painting, perspective of the other.
hammering, and washing. Do these studies on neonates and nonhuman
primates lay to rest the problem of perspective taking? By pursuing per-
spective-taking back into the womb, and back into our phylogenetic evo- Self-Reflection: In Search of a Methodology
lution, do these studies imply that perspective-taking is innate? And thus
that we have no need for Mead's theory of the social act? Self-reflection, for Mead, is the defining feature of humanity-it gives
What do these studies actually tell us about perspective-taking? They us our agency, our identity, and makes society possible. It is to explain
clearly tell us much about the phylogenetic and ontogenetic origins of self-reflection that Mead developed the theory of the social act. As
perspective-taking, but they tell us tittle about the actual mechanisms of described (chapter 1) his basic idea is that in self-reflection we become
everyday perspective-taking. The problem is that by pursuing perspec- other to ourselves, we stand apart from ourselves, by taking the perspec-
tive-taking back into the womb, and beyond, these studies seem to have tive of more or less generalized others. Self becomes self-aware, as a "me,"
increasingly lost sight of the phenomenon. The ability to imitate tongue by virtue of taking the "I" position of an other.
protrusion is not what makes perspective-taking an interesting phenome- The research presented in the following chapters seeks to explore
non. It is too far removed from the complexities of perspective-taking whether tourists are reflecting upon themselves from the perspective of
among adults. Can we really compare the perspective-taking capacity of Ladakhis, and whether Ladakhis are reflecting upon themselves from the
46 A. GILLESPIE Becoming Other 47

perspective of tourists. This means we will be looking for the emergence each "I" position. And again we need to analyze where that content has
of a new "me" within tourist-Ladakhi encounters, and our analysis will come from. But most of all we need to trace the movement of the "I" as it
have to try and connect the "I" with the perspective of the other. But what moves from one position to the next. What is the logic of this movement?
might this analysis look like? How are we to actuaIly study self-reflection? Do these movements echo movements within social acts?
Turning to the literature provides much advice, but few examples. In order to pursue an analysis of the I/me dynamic, we also need to
Conceptualizing the self in terms of the "I7' and the "me" is a sophisti- expand Mead's conceptualization of the "I" and the "me." Recent
cated articulation of the reflexive nature of the self and thus is unsurpris- research has shown that these internal dialogues are not simply between
ingly frequently referred to. Yet these references tend to remain at a the "I" and the "me"-the human mind is populated l y the voices and
theoretical level. The I/me dynamic was first identified using the method- -: perspectives of others (Hermans, 2002; Hermans & Kempen, 1993). The
ology of introspection (James, 1890), and as such it is phenomenologi- dialogical self comprises both "I" positions that are identified with, and
cally convincing. But how can we get this I/me dynamic on the analytic those which are not identified with-the "I" positions of others (Hcrmans,
table without using introspection? 2001). Nevertheless, these othcr "I" positions are an important aspect of
Valsiner and van der Veer (1 988, p. 130) suggest that the lack of empir- the dialogical self, especially ifwe take seriously Mead's hasic idea that the
ical research on the I/me dynamic is due to "psychologists' uncritical self reacts to selr in the same way that self rcacts to others. Inclccd, in
acceptance of traditional methodology." Researchers simply lack method- order to even begin to empirically cxplore this idea we need to be map-
ological tools to grapple with these dynamics. Valsiner and van der Veer ping out not just the "me" but also the "you" or the "they" Tor only then
make some suggestions about -where we might start to develop such meth- can we study whether the "you/they" does actually become the "me."
odological tools: Accordingly, 1 propose that we expand Mead's conceptualization of the
self to include "you," "they," "he," "she," "them," and so on. As well as
If Mead's theoretical perspective of "I"-"me" relationships is taken seri- many difrct-ent "mes" thew are also many different "yous" and eve11
ously, the empirical method should specify the specifics of the "I" and "me" "theys." I am referring to the othcrs within self (Mal-kov5, 2006), which
at every time interval in the course of ongoing observations o f the functioning
are an important basis for internal dialogues and self-reflection. Our
of the Self. Subsequently, the transformation of the "1'-"me" relationship,
and the emergence of new aspects of the Self, can be traced from the empir-
interest, however, is not just with the dialogues that occul- between thesc
ical record that preserves the temporal structure of the phenomenon under others within self, we want to understand how the "I" moves between
study. (1988, p. 131) these positions, specifically we want to explore whethcr the "you/they"
does become the "me."
There are two parts to this suggestion. First, we need a methodology
that will provide data which preserves the temporal structure of the
stream of consciousness. The dynamics of the "I" and the "me" were ini- FRAMING THE RESEARCH
tially identified with introspection, but introspection-the once dominant
method in psychology-is now out of favour. We need an alternative One of the main challenges for Meadian research is not simply furthering
source of data, one that will externalize the stream of consciousness in a Meadian theoiy, but it is operationalizing the theory that is already there,
public form, such that it is open to public analysis. In chapter 10 I will and thereby turning it into something that can be furthered through
begin to develop upon these suggestions, and make the case for analyzing empirical research. Repeatedly the theory is espo~~sed at a theoretical
tourists and Ladakhis discourse as a stream of thought. Discourse, I level, but empirical consequences for the theory need to be established at
argue, is closely related to the stream of thought and, importantly, pre- the level of research. By presenting a case study of one social act, in con-
serves the temporal structure of that stream. siderable detail, the present research aims to explore the ways in which
Second, once we have this externalization, we need a method of coding Mead's theory is useful for empirical research.
and analyzing which will make visible the Ilme dynamics of self-reflection. The social act that I will consider is tourism in Ladakh, which I will call
We need to be able to identify the "I" positions that are being adopted, the towing a.ct. The reason for cl~oosingto focus upon tourist-Ladaklli
and ideally to show their relation to the sociai world. In other cases we wiII encounters is the massive divergence of perspective within these encoun-
be dealing with "I" positions that are very generalized-belonging to the ters. Ladakhis are from a remote region of India, high up on the Tibetan
generalized other. We also need to identify the "me" that corresponds to Plateau, while the tourists visiting Ladakh tend to be relatively wealthy
48 A. GILLESPIE Becoming Other 49

middle-class urbanites. Each possess a relatively distinct history, and each united within the theory of the social act. The task is now to show how
is embedded in a relatively distinct cultural stream. In tourist-Ladakhi they are related in a real-world social interaction.
encounters we have a meeting of cultures. This scale of this divergence of
perspective is important for each of the domains of Mead's theory that I
want to pursue.
In terms of position exchange and perspective-taking, tourist-Ladakhi
encounters are interesting first because there is such a divergence of per-
spective and secondly because there is almost no position exchange. Most
tourists have never experienced what it is like to be toured and photo-
graphed as a representative of "traditional culture.'' Equally, few Ladakhis
have been tourists, especially not tourists touring "traditional culture." Yet
as we will see, tourists and Ladakhis do take each other's perspectives.
Our question is: how? How have tourists and Ladakhis managed to imag-
ine the perspective ofthe other? What symbolic resources have they mobi-
lized to do this?
Given the magnitude of the divergence of perspective between tourists
and Ladakhis, it is impz-essive that they manage to interact effectively. In
the touring act, actions must be coordinated: guides lead tourists; souve-
nirs are made and sold; photographs are taken; dances are performed;
and appropriate meals are served. There is, then, an architecture of intcr-
subjectivity between tourists and Ladakhis-there are significant symbolic
structures that enable each to orient to the orientation of the other. Does
this architecture have a significant symbolic structure? How are tourists
and Ladakhis incorporating the reconstructed perspective of the other
into their symbolic universes, and how is this constituting new meanings?
SpecificalIy, I want to ask, has the touring act produced new significant
Third, the research focuses upon self-reflection. Self-reflection is what
Mead's theory of the social act is designed to explain-how we become
other to ourselves. The touring act in Ladakh is again wel suited to
examining this aspect of Mead's theory empirically. Given the massive
divergence of perspective between the tourists and Ladakhis, if there is
perspective taking, this should cause self-reflection. Our task will be to
study the extent to which both tourist and Ladakhi self-reflection can be
made explicable in terms of perspective-taking within the touring act. Do
tourist and Ladakhi self-reflection correspond to changes of perspective
within the touring act? Are tourists and Ladakhis reflecting upon them-
selves by taking each other's perspectives? This question brings us back to
the first concern with perspective-taking. If they are reflecting upon
themsetves by taking the perspective of the other, then how are they tak-
ing this perspective?
Thus we have three inter-reIated concerns: perspective-taking, the con-
struction of significant symbols, and self-reflection. These concerns are


Tourism is the worlcl's largest economy (Icearney, 1995). This is a com-
mon observation in the tourist literature, a n d it betrays a ceiitral con-
cern of that literat~lrc,namely economics. l'earce (1982, p. I ) , one of
the first social psychologists to look at tourism, suggests that tourism
has been understudied because it is associated wit11 leisul.~,not work,
and therefore is not sccn as a "serious" sul?ject. Pel-haps for this reason,
the discipline of tourism studics oriented toward "serious" economic
issues. Researchers have felt "a need to legitimate their seemingly frivo-
lous topic by pointing out its eco~lomicand social importance" (IiX-
gren, 1999, p. 6).
But more recently there has emerged a new body of literature which
goes beyond these economic issues, and begins to take the "fi.i~olo~s"
aspects of tourism seriously (See also Crick, 1989; Franklin & Crang,
2001; Uri-y, 1990). The representation of the tourist as a na'ive camera-
touting dupe, which was originally perpetuated in the literature, is now an
object of study (MacCannell, 2001). Equally, the representation of help-
less host populations swamped by "hoa~ds"of tourists (e.g., Turner &
Asch, 1975), is now7giving way to a more nuanced account of the agency
of host populations (Crick, 1994). Tourist-local encounters are power-
laden on the one hand, but also sites of agency and self-making on the
other (Desmond, 1999; Kirshenblatt-Gimblett, 1998).

Becon~i?~gOther: Aonl Socinl Inte~nctionto Self-Relection, 51-67
Copyrigllt O 2006 by I~lforlnationAge Publisliing
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52 A. GILLESPIE Becoming Other 53

The present chapter introduces Ladakh, the representations chat lead £2,338,174, or, £1 6.70 per capita, 48% of which, Jina (p. 136) estimates,
tourists to Ladakh, and begins to outline the dynamics of tourist-Ladakhi comes from tourists. The other main sources of income are the govern-
encounters. Tourists in Ladakh, with guidebook in hand, face one set of ment and the army. The per capita income is misleadingly low because
ruptures, while Ladakhis confronting their tourist guests face another set Ladakhis meet many of their needs through subsistence farming and gov-
of ruptures. And in the space between them is a liminal domain in which ernment rations. Nevertheless, if we focus just upon the percentages,
identities are created and a new "me" arises. these figures are startling. For comparison, in the Maldives, Barbados and
Jamaica tourism accounts for less tllan 20% GDP (gross domcstic prod-
uct). The economy of Bermuda is one of the most heavily depeildent
INTRODUCfNG LADAKH upon tourism, which accounts for about a third of its GDl? But in Ladakh,
tourism accounts for almost a half of the regions income. According to
Ladakh, in the state of Jammu and Kashmir, is the northernmost part of such figures, although tourists visiting Laclakh may be trying to get o E the
India and lies high (10,000 ft.+) in the Himalaya. It is 96,701 square kilo- beaten track, they are in fact travclling to one of the most tourist-depen-
metres in size (a bit bigger than Portugal) with a population of about dent societies in the world.
150,000. Ladakhis speak Ladakhi (cIosely related to Tibetan) and Hindi/ The importance of tourism for Ladakh is clearly evident in Lch, thc
Urdu. Many of the younger generation speak English, which is now the capital, which has a population of 15-20,000-a tiny population when one
main medium for Ladakhi education. Culturally, Ladakh has much in considers the number of tourists who pass througl~in the summer
common with Tibet, including Mahayana Buddhism, social structure and monrlls. Due to thc scarcity of precipitation in Ladakh, villages were tra-
social practices, or social acts. Howevet; Ladakh is distinct from Tibet ditionally built away from the glacial melt-water streams so that the maxi-
because it has historically been a border region between Buddhism and mum amount of land was available for agriculture. This is tllc case in Lel~.
Islam. In Leh, Ladakh's capital, the population in 1981 was 8 1% Buddhist The "old town" is set back up a dry and dusty hill bereft of vegetation.
and 15% Muslim (Government of Jammu & Kashmir, 1998). Nearby Cllangspa was traditionally the fa]-ming area. A glacial stream
Ladakh adjoins Kashmir to the west, Central Asia to the north, Tibet to keeps it vcrdant. Although initially the guesthouses were in the old town,
the East, and India to the south. b r centuries, Muslim traders plied back tom-ists tcnd to find it bleak and dusty, and so, sincc thc carly 1980s, the
and forth across its difficult terrain carrying salt, apricots, pashmina, bar- main growth on the green fields of Changspa has bccn hotels, guest-
ley, textiles, dyestuffs, and narcotics (Rizvi, 1999). To travel anywhere houses, trekking agencies, souvenir shops, and internet caf6s. These
from Ladakh used to take weeks, if not months (Crook & Osmaston, 1994; traces of tourism give the Changspa side of Leh a relatively cosmopolitan
Rizvi, 1983). In the 1960s, a road was built connecting Leh to Kashmir, feel that is entirely at odds with the rest of Ladakh. Hawkers and restaura-
compressing a 2-weekjourney into a 2-day journey. Now, one can fly from teurs tly to communicate in several European languages. A recent food
Delhi, Srinagar, or Chandigarh to Leh in about an hour. sensation in Leh is High-Life, an Italian restaurant. It has imported
Since the 1960s, Ladakh has been subject to "modernisation" in terms olives, pasta, and a stone oven for pizzas. It caters mainly for tourists
of electricity, telephones, televisions, vehicles, commodities, roads, educa- nursing themselves through their adjustment to the altitude, getting over
tional system, and infrastructure (Wangyal, 1997). Howevel; this modern- a bout of "Delhi-belly," or rewarding themselves with some familiar food
ization has been largely limited to Leh valley and there are still numerous after a difficult trek. It is also frequented by wealthy Ladakhis, usually
villages not connected to either the road or any electricity service. those who have made their money through tourism. Alternative popular
One major force in this modernization has been tourism. Due to bor- restaurants senre mixtures of Chinese, Israeli, Indian, "Continental"
der conflicts with Pakistan and China, the Indian government did not (European) and Tibetan food. Until recently there was a Ladakhi restau-
allow tourists to visit Ladakh until 1974. Since the early 1980s, about rant, the Ladakhi Kitchen, but it has closed down. figure 3.1 sho~vsthe
12,000 tourists have visited Ladakh annually (Singh, 1997). About 70% of main market square, which is surrounded by restaurants, and rising in the
the tourists are from Western Europe. In winter, the temperature in backgro~~nd is Leh Palace.
Ladakh can fall below minus 30 degrees Celsius, and for this reason about Much can be learned about what goes on in Ladakll by comparing two
90% of tourists visit between June and September when the temperature of the most numerous shops in Leh-the souvenir shops and the "fancy
is quite pleasant (and it is monsoon season in the rest of India). Jina goods" shops. The souwenis shops are oriented to tourists and are partic-
(1994) estimates that in 1992, the gross income of Ladakh was ularly eye-catching. With names like "Aladdin's Cave," these shops spill a
54 A. GILLESPIE Becoming Other 55

each is keen to consume the commodities associated with the social posi-
tion of the other.


For the Occident, Ladakh has long been an imaginative landscape,
beyond the known, and populated by hopes, dreams, and even gold-dig-
ging ants (Francke, 190711998, pp. 9-1 1). During the crusades, in the
twelveth century, rumors circulated about the kingdom of "l'restor John"
some~vherein Asia (Delumeau, 199212000). Prestor John was thought to
control a huge and powerful Christian paradise created by St. Thomas.
The hope was that Pi-estorJ o h n would comc to the rescme of the crusad-
ers, by attacking the Muslims from the East. These rumors persisted, and
in the early seventeenth centuty, Bento dc Goes, a Jesuit missionaly and
one of the first occidental explorcrs in Ladakh, set OKin search of mythi-
cal lost and isolated Christian cornrnunities (Wessels, 1998, p. 9). Needless
to say, he did not find any.
figure 3.1. The market square and Leh Palace. By the ninetee~ltlicentury, Europeans no longer feared Muslims or any
other group. Such was their sense of superiority that Susie Carson Kijn-
hart, a missiona~ywho travelled in Tibet from 1895 to 1899 could write:
variety of treasures onto the pavement, including: Tibetan and Kashmiri
carpets, pashmina shawls, "ancient" t/langka (finely detailed religious ['llbetan Buddhist religious leaders, or Lnmns] are mel-e children in knowl-
paintings), antique Buddha statues, "yak bone statues" and jewelry. To edge, swayed by the emotions that play on tlic very surface of being. During
enter these souvenir shops, or "handcraft emporiums," is to enter the all our four years' sojourn among thc Tibetans of various tribes a i d dis-
Occidental representation of the Orient. There is nothing electrical, plas- tricts, we did not meet a single one who was conversant with evcil die si111ple
tic, or obviousIy mass produced. One feels one is surrounded by natural facts of nature .... They are living in the dark ages, and are thetnselves so
materials, earthy colors and much fine handcraft. I have never seen a blind that they are not aware of the darkness. (Cited in Lopez, 1998, p. 3)
Ladakhi purchase anything in these shops. But one is guaranteed to find
The idea that Orientals al-e like children, unaware of "even the simple
Ladakhi consumers in the "fancy goods" shops that are often located side-
facts of nature" and living in the past, or "dark ages," is central to the dis-
by-side with the souvenir shops. The fancy goods shops are much less eye-
course of Orientalism as described by Said (1978). Needless to say, such a
catching, from the outside, but within they gleam with the products of
representation is particularly convenient for legitimating (and rationaliz-
modernity. Plastic predominates. These shops are stacked with cassette
ing) missiona~ywork.
players, radios, cameras, televisions, DVD players, batteries, petrol gener-
By the end of tile nineteenth century, there was a permanent mission-
ators, posters of Switzerland and New York, wall clocks replete with flash-
ary population in Leh. They introduced a short-lived newspapel; large
ing lights, floppy disks, deodorant, modern underwear, branded
windows (for solar heat), potatoes, biomedicine, and modern education.
perfumes, CD players, televisions, satellite dishes and receivers, hair
The attitude of the missionaries towards Ladakhis is evident in the follow-
spray, watches, and birthday cards. In these shops one rarely finds tour- ing statement by Hanlon, a missiona~y,who wrote an account of ''Ladoak,
ists. Instead one finds Ladakhis buying what they consider to be luxury the Ladahis and theirpopulal- BztddI~is~~z,''
which he intended to:
items. In these shops it can be difficult to find anything that reveals one is
in India, let alone Ladakh. While the souvenir shops sell Ladakhi trinkets stand as an account of the Ladakis as they are in 1893, useful, ~z~hen hel-eaf-
to tourists, the fancy goods shops sell modern trinkets to Ladakhis, and ter education, civilisation, and as we hope, conversions to our holy faith will
56 A. GILLESPIE Becoming Other 57

have obliterated many of their present customs and beliefs (cited in Bray, (Mohan, 2002), which is oriented to occidental coffee tables. The caption
1997, p. 33) reads "Archers from the Ladakhi village of Skurbuclzan travel to Lelz for
the annual festival." The young long-haired men carry bows, and are
According to HanIon, the Ladakhis were uncivilized pagans. With suclz wearing the traditional gonchha (maroon overcoat), earrings, and jewel-
an attitude is perhaps unsurprising that Hanlon and his colleagues won le~y.Here we see the "hardy mountain stock engaging in "ancient tradi-
few converts. Today, 20-30 Christian Ladakhi families and a missionary tions" and "not yet encumbered by modern gadgetry." The image conveys
school are traces left by this missiona~yproject, but the project of mod- tlze idea of an ancient community event.
ernizing Ladakh has passed from missionary hands to the central Indian
Figure 3.3, a photograph taken by me, is of Mohan taking the previous
government and the Jammu and Kashmir state government.
photograp11 for lzis book. Mohan, who was invisible in Figure 3.2, is now
In the twentieth century, the meaning Ladakh created in Occidental
the object of the photograph. My photograph was not taken in Skur-
minds was again one of hope and even salvation. This was objectified in
buchan or in Leh, but 10 milcs from Leh, in Stok (Stok is visible 011 tlze far
the idea of Shangri-La (Bishop, 1989; Lopez, 1998). Shangri-La was, until
left), and these "ar~hers"were not "travelling to Lelz for lie annual festi-
its "discovery" in China (British Broadcasting Corporation, 1998), a fic-
val." The "archers" have been delejpted by their families to participate in
tional valley described by James Hilton in the book Lost Horizon written in
1933 amidst a sense of impending war. In the book, Shangri-La is a deep a village festival in order to attract tourists. They are wearing wigs and
fertile valley isolated in the Himalaya. At the bottom of the valley are their ealrings arc held over their ears with bits of string. Mohan, an
Buddhist peasants, while above them, high up the side of the valley, is a Indian-Australian, went tlzrough three rolls of film while constructing his
semireligious establishment. Here all that is good in modern culture, lit- photograph. He had considerable trouble stopping lzis photoge~iic51111-
erature, science, and art, is being stored, so that when the modern world jccts from smoking cigarettes and laugl~ingat the mocking jibes of tlie
self-destructs, Shangri-La will, like Noah's Arc, reseed the world. "rcal" Ladakhi youths, tvl~icl~ can bc seen behind Molian. These youths
While the original idea was that Shangri-La preserved all that was good wear combat trousers, Hawaii shirts and bascball caps.
in modernity, today tlze image of Shangri-Ia is typically an antithesis to By comparing these two photographs I am t~yingto point to tlic prc-
modern culture. Ebr example, in 19'78, the National Geog/aphic ran a cover ferred persistent tendency (Bartlett, 1932, p. 258J) in the West's tun-ent
story titled "Ladakh: the last Shangri-La," which described Ladakh as

peopled by hardy mountain stock, proud, spirited, steeped in ancient tradi-
tions, not yet encumbered by modern gadgetry such as matches, gunpow-
der, or (except for mechanized prayer devices) the wheel. (Abercmmbie,
1978, p. 338)

A feef ng that the "simple" and "innocent" life of Ladakhis is being lost
through processes of moderniz'ation pervades the article. Ancient tradi-
tions are being traded for gunpowder. The message is that we are losing
the last Shangri-La. In this article, and related articles, there seems to be
something quite meaningful in this loss. It is as if Ladakh serves as a
marker of peoples' ambiguous feelings toward modernity. In any case,
tourists from across the globe are willing to invest considerable time and
money in order to get a glimpse of Shangri-La. This is one of the projects
leading tourists to Ladakh, and the prospect of capitalizing on that desire
is what led to the Chinese tourist authorities' claim to have "discovered"
Figure 3.2 is a typical photograph of Ladakhis that is likely to appear in Figure 3.2. Archers from the Ladakhi village of Skurbuchan travel to Leh for
the mass media. It is from a glossy picture book, Hiddm Faces of India the annual festival.
Becoming Other 59

regions of the Himalaya, in terms of the past. But this is not denigrating
gaze, if anything, it is a romanticizing gaze and a nostalgia for that which
we have lost. The simplicity and contentment perceived in Ladakh stands
as a critique of the perceived materialism of modernity. This is evident in
the most popular book on Ladakh, A?~cientAtt~nas:Leai.ningfiom Ladal?A
by Helena Norberg-Hodge (1992), which argues that the alienated and
bureaucratized West needs to learn from Ladakh in orcler to ~ecultivate
local community struct~~i-es. Ancient fixtures-Ladakh is both "our" past
and "our" future. Such a representation reveals ho~vdeeply entwined the
imagination of' Ladakh is with tlie Western self. In either case, ~vhether
one sees ones' past or ones' future in Ladakh, it remains that in Ladakh
one sees oneself.
When tou~istsbecome interested in traveling to Laclakh, the first sym-
bolic resource that they usually turn to is a guidebook, There arc many
guidebooks, but the irnage portrayed is stable. 'The Lonely Planet guide-
book, Iizdiniz Hinznlaya (Mayhew Ylunkett, Coxall, Saxton, 8c Greenway,
2000, p. 201), describe Ladakh as "the last Shangri-La" anc1 "one of
India's most remote regions." The guidebook promises to lead thc reader
figure 3.3. Stepping back from the "Skurbuchan archers." through this remote region, towards "ancient" Huddhist monasteries and
into traditional villages. In between tlie practical inrormation, and the
buxed text on cxotic topics such as polyandly in Ladakh, there are
imagination of Ladakh, There is a shared motivation to position Ladakh imager;: Images of snowy peaks and smiling villagers, images of goat
as an objectification of community cohesion, rich culture, timeless tradi- hel-dcrs and deep river gorges, and images of cl~ildrenat play and Bud-
tions, and premodern innocence. This motivation is evident not just in dhist monasteries perched high upon craggy cliffs. These arc the type of
the mass media, in photographs like those taken by Mohan, but also in his images that lead tourists to invest the time and money in travelling to
audience. Westerners seem to want to believe in a natural, spiritual, stress- Ladakh.
free, and community-focused premodern life. The National Geog.r;aphic,for
example, does an extensive trade in such images, in their coverage of
"indigenous" communities from all parts of the globe (Parameswaran, TOURISTS CONFRONTING LADAKH
2002). In June 2004, the Natiolzal Geographic published a story about ele-
phant hunting in Tanzania by the spear-wielding Barabaig people. Tourists arriving in Ladakh leave behind their normal context and rou-
Images portray the Barabaig, dressed in traditional clothes carrying tusks, tine, their friends and their work. Once abroad, tourists enter into a new
as if fresh from a hunt. Vigilant readers, however, pointed out that the way of living. Eve~ydayroutines are ruptured, and new questions arise:
tusks were stamped with various numbers. According to the editors' subse- Where to sleep? Where to eat? What to eat? What to do in the morning?
quent apology (Allen, 2004), these tusks were actually from the Tanzania What to do in the afternoon? Then there are the questions that relate to
Department of Wildlife. The photographer had brought the tusks and the act of touring: What to see? What to photograph? HOWto organize a
staged the photographs. Incidents such as this give us insight into the trek? Where to trek? And so on for the duration of the tour.
preferred persistent tendency in the West's imagination of traditional Tourists arrive in Ladakh w7ell prepared. They bring clo~vnjackets, sun
societies. cream, medicines, sun caps, maps, packs, breathable yet waterproof hik-
Most tourists who travel to Ladakh have not been there before, nor ing boots, universal plugs, water purification tablets, music players, cam-
have they been anywhere else in the Himalaya. Yet they do have images eras, sleeping bags, walking sticks, emergency smack food, and gifts
and expectations. They are led to Ladakh by a path of images constructed (usually pens and sweets) for Ladakhis. All of these are preaclaptations
in the mass media. These images objectify Ladakh, and the remote (Valsiner, 1998, p. 388), orientations to a fiiture that is imagined before it
60 A. GILLESPIE Becoming Other 61

is actualized. But, of all the preadaptations perhaps the most important is hawkers, noisy taxis, and determilled guesthouse owners, it can be diffi-
the guidebook. cult to find the tranquillity and spirituality expected.
Guidebooks, arguably, epitomize what has been called a symbolic Thus the biggest ~ u p t u r ethat tourists face in Ladakh comes from the
resource (Zittoun Duveen, Gillespie, Ivinson, & Psaltis, 2003; Zittoun, meeting of expectation and experience. While guidebooks can aid tourists
2006). From the earliest guidebooks, which detailed how to dodge a in dealing with many ruptures, this is a rupture that is in part produced by
charging animal (Galton, 1872/1971), to present guidebooks, which tell guidebooks. Yet this rupture still needs elaboration. According to Dewey
tourists where to get the best filter coffee, guidebooks have always and Mead, it should stimulate a thinking phase which struggles to recon-
equipped travelers with knowledge and strategies that will help them to cile the experience with the expectation. If the guidebooks are not used,
overcome the unfamiliar problems that they may encounter. then what symbolic resources are used? What knowledge do tourists con-
Guidebooks draw upon the collective intelligence of thousands of struct in order to harmonize their experiences of Ladakh with their
tourists who have previously been to Ladakh, and make this knowledge expectations? These ai-e questions we will need to answec
avaiIable to the new arriva1. Contemporary guidebooks are often sup-
ported by web pages and discussion forums on the internet ensuring
that information is up-to-date. Guidebooks directly address the rupture LADAKHIS CONFRONTING TOURISM
of being a tourist. Guidebooks are not narratives, they are not sup-
posed to be read from cover to cover. Rather, they are organized by Tourists have more significance Lor Ladakllis than Ladakhis have for tour-
place and are designed to be dipped into in order to solve some prob- ists. Ladakhis are exposed to more tourists than tousists are to Ladakhis.
Iem. Using their guidebooks, tourists know where the good hotels are, Since 1974, when Ladakh opened to tourists, about 350,000 tourists have
how much they cost, how far it is from the airport to the city centre, visited a Ladakhi population of 150,000, wit11 tourists spending most of
how much the taxi should cost, which internet cafe has the fastest con- their time in Lch, which has a population of only 15 or 20 thousand.
nection, where they can buy supplies for treks, and so on. They provide While Ladakhis see tourists every year, tourists, on average, only scc
maps, historical titbits, itineraries, information about hospitals, police, Ladakhis once, for a week or two. Scconcl, Ladakhis are economically
government, travel permits, holidays, festivals, and so on. Guidebooks more dependcnt upon tourists than vice versa. This was particularly evi-
dent in 1999 when few tourists visited Ladakh due to the Iqargil war being
point out paths of action, they make the unfamiliar environment of
Fought between India and Pakistan in western Ladakh. While this meant
Ladakh an actionable environment.
little more for tourists than a changc in their itinesaries, Lor Ladakhis it
These guidebooks, and their associated Web pages, are institutions
caused a large economic rupture resulting in many business closures.
supporting the growth and integration of tourist knowledge and culture. Ladakhis, then, need a knowledge that will help them to profit from tour-
Indeed, they have, in the last couple of decades, become so powerful as to ists, and to explain the economic power of tourists.
reverse the asymmetry of knowledge between Iocals and tourists in remote The importance of tourism for Ladakhis, how eve^; goes beyond eco-
regions such as Ladakh. In the past, travelers were dependent upon local nomic issues. Ladakhis must confront the inexplicable actions of tourists.
guides, whereas now a tourist can easily tour Ladakh without ever need- While trekking may seem obvious to us today, it is quite a recent phenom-
ing the help of a Ladakhi. In many respects the guidebooks provide more enon (Ki~rhner,1950) and one that has little resonance with previous
information than a local could, and it is now common practice for guides generations of Ladakhis. The problematic status of trekking is clearly evi-
in Ladakh to keep themselves up-to-date by reading tourists' guidebooks. denced in Ghulam Rassul Galwan's unique book, Servant of Snhibs ( 1 923).
Guidebooks, such as those published by the Lonely Planet and the Ghulam Rassul Galwan was a Ladakhi who worked as a caravan bashi,
Rough Guide, promise to take their readers "off the beaten track," and employed to organize and manage men, pack animals, and supplies by
thus toward the images of Buddhist spirituality, timeless traditions, and Western explorers, sahibs, about a centuiy ago. His book, which he wrote
secure community that have motivated the tourist to travel in the first in English, is an account of his life and travels. The most psobleinatic
place. However, there is no guarantee that tourists will find what they are sahib enco~interedby Galwan, was the sahib who, "never travel by straight
looking for. Once in Ladakh, many tourists experience a tension between way" (p. 268). This sahib was one of the first trekkers. Enjoying trekking as
who Ladakhis are supposed to be, according to their expectations, and an end in itself, he sought to climb the mountain peaks, rather than skirt
the Ladakhis who confront them. Especially in Leh, among the street them, and to go in circles, rather than in a straight line. Galwan and the
62 A. GILLESPIE Becoming Other 63

men in this sahib's service were so resistant to his mode of traveling that The transformative potential of liminality lies in the ludic nature of
they refused to go with him, and instead remained on the known routes, becoming nobody. Once the pilgrim has left the home community, their
while he made his own way: identity becomes unfixed. They lose their histo~y,their reputation, and
their famiIiar social positions-they become nobody. Both pilgrims and
We travelled by way [trail]. We looked him as a tiger, which going on hills. tourists, by escaping the gaze of the home community, escape the con-
Sometime the Turki people and I laughed. Most time I was sorry. (p. 273) straints of expectation. They become frce to play with who they are, and
how they present themselves. This opens up an arena for being playful,
As the early pragmatists observed, ruptures turn the objective into the
for enacting and exploring new social positions. Such play, as Mead theo-
subjective. The rupture for these Ladakhis in the sahib's service concerns
rized, is an important rrieans for cultivating different perspectives. Tour-
the objectivity of the mountains: are they obstacles to be avoided, or are
ism, for example, can be a means to explore new possibilities for one's
they objects to be toured?
style of dress, one's rnode of self-presentation, one's spirituality, and one's
But it is not just trekking that puzzles Ladakhis. Tourists take photo-
sexuality (Ryan & Hall, 2001). Viewed through the lens of liminality, tour-
graphs of people they do not know, they go to Buddhist go?n+a, or monas-
ism can be considered as:
teries, and yet they are not Buddhist, they choose to leave behind lives of
imagined luxu~yin order to visit villages considered by Ladakhis to be a cultural laboratory where people have been able to expcrilnent ~ v i t l inew
"backward." Tourists have, relative to most Ladakhis, vast financial wealth aspects of idenlities, their social relations, or their interactions with nalure
and they give this to some Ladakhis but not others. Some schoolchildren and also to use the important cultural skills of daydreaming and mincl-trav-
get sponsorship for their studies, but not others, and some guides always clling. Here is an arena in which fantasy has become an important social
get large tips. From the Ladakhi point of view, these actions need to be practice. (Liifgren, 1999, p. 7)
made explicable, predictable, and even profitable. Ladakhis want to know
what meaning they create in the minds of tourists. Do the tourists respect Travel affords fantasy because it entails escaping the gaze and expecta-
them? And why have they come? tiotls of home communities, and may thus pave the way for transforma-
Ladakhis have no guidebooks to aid them in dealing with the ruptures tions of self. Thc tourist's body escapes the gaze of the tourist's
of tourism. Ladakhis, although they face a bigger rupture than tourists, community and thus his or her identity becomes liminal. This fluidity can
have no book that either explains tourists' history, their interests, or how then bc taken advantage of as the tourist can try out diil'crent roles, or
to interact with them. Accordingly, the hdakhis must resolve these rup- identities. In Ladakh, tourists climb snowy mountain peaks, trek to
tures themselves. They must construct a knowledge that is reasonable and remote villages, stay in Buddhist monasteries, tnakc romance with "tradi-
practical and which makes tourists familiar. tional" Ladakhis, live on rural farms, and in so doing are living out
aspects of their identity that are not given voice at home. Tourists tour
more than places; they tour perspectives and social positions.
Tourists' actions, howevel; are not completely unconstrained. While
they escape the gaze of their home community, they become objects in the
Turner and Turner (1978) use the concept of liminality to conceptud-
gaze of the local community, and most importantly, in the gaze of other
ize the pilgrim who goes beyond the threshold of perception of their
home community. By escaping the gaze of the home community, pil- tourists. Tourists tend to be savage in their criticism of other tourists
grims become liminal. Such liminality, Turner and Turner speculate, is (Crick, 1989; MacCannell, 200 1; Prebensen, Larsen, & Abelsen, 2003).
a major "transformative dimension of the social" (p. 2). Through limi- Tourists in search of the unmodern, or the traditional, will be disap-
nality, social relations, identities, and even thought patterns become pointed at the sight of other tourists. The sight of another tourist may,
open to change: like a rnin-ol; make visible to tourists their 01~11object-state as a tourist. A
tourist alone may direct his or her gaze on the toured population, remain-
Liminality is now seen to apply to all phases of decisive cultural change, in ing invisible to self, but when other tourists are present, then the tourist
which previous orderings of thought and behavior are subject to revision may be reminded of his/her own outsider status. The rupture of other
and criticism, when hitherto unprecedented modes of ordering relations tourists, then, can turn an experience of tradition, into an uncomfortable
between ideas and people become possible and desirable. (p. 2) reflection on tourism. How do tourists deal with the rupture of other tour-
64 A. GILLESPIE Becoming Other 65

ists? How do they position themselves in relation to other tourists? Again,
these are questions that we will need to answer.
Like pilgrims, tourists also return home. Although they escape the gaze
of the home community while abroad, they must return into that gaze
when they return. When tourists return they must take up one or more
new social positions. At the very least they will be positioned as, for exam-
ple, having been to Ladakh. This positioning needs legitimation-the
home audience will demand an account of the travels, and an account of
any identity changes. Whatever new symbolic capital that the tourist
claims will need to be backed up by a stock of travel narratives. The tour-
ists' experiences, experiences which exceed those of the home commu-
nity, must be made intelligible in terms of the symbolic world of the home
One resource for dealing with the rupture of the return is photography.
Photographic images of places toured and people met become tangible
props in establishing a new identity position, or a new "me," upon return
(Cra~vshaw& Urry, 1997; Sim%o, 2004). Self-photography is common,
especially among tourists traveling alone (perhaps more than others they
feel the need to record their experiences). Figure 3.3 shows a photograph
of an Australian who had taken a bus to Leh. The bus passes over the
world's (reportedly) second highest motorable road. This Australian,
because he was traveling alone, asked a feUow bus passenger to take the Figurc 3.4. A tourist's self-photograph.
photograph. 'The sign, which the Australian is posing beside, reads "you
have reached Tanglang La top ht. 17,582 ft." Hanging from the sign one
can see Buddhist prayer flags. The Australian said, as he showed me this into Norbu's circle of friends, the story imploded. Norbu's friends told
photograpl~,"1 took that for my dad, because he is a scientific man, and Carol that Nol-bu's father was a traffic policeman, and that Norbu had
he will look at that and go 'gosh! 17 thousand feet, that is pretty hig' " not finished his high-school studies. Such instances show how Ladakhis
This image, like a souvenir, or a well rehearsed story, may be used by the can use their enco~~nter with tourists for participation in, and cultiva-
tourist, upon return to the home community, to substantiate the new tion of, the imaginary facets of their self. While Norbu played at being
"me" of having been 17 thousand feet high in the Himalaya. But the pho- modern, I have encoutltered other Ladakhis, who, wl~enin pursuit of a
tograph does more than establish this fact, it also substantiates the adven- tourist girlfriend, play up the traditional side of their identity, claim-
turousness of the tourist. It depicts him, alone, on a Himalayan mountain ing, in the eyes of the courted tourist, the position of spiritual, peace-
pass with snow capped peaks in the distance. Thus it supports his claim to ful, and nonmaterialistic.
having been in the HimaIaya, and having had the type of experiences that Horvever, the scope for Ladakhi liminality is much more limited than it
his home audience expect. is for tourists. This is because Laclakhis do not leave their home commu-
Let us turn now to liminality among the Ladakhis. They neither nity. Moreover, they have the added gaze of tourists upon them. Thus
leave home nor return home, but nonetheless they do find some limi- Ladakhis are, so to speak, fixed within a second line of sight. From the
nality in their encounters with tourists. Norbu, a young Ladakhi man, tourist point of view, Ladakhis are supposed to be traditional and peace-
for example, started a friendship with Carol from the United States. He ful Buddhists. The identity that tourists extend toward Ladakhis, and
told her that his father owned three hotels, that he managed one of other inhabitants of the Tibetan Plateau, is so tempting that it can
them, that his brother was a heart surgeon and that he himself was become a prison. Lopez (1 998), for example, has shown how the Tibetans
going to the United States the following year to study Information are "prisoners in Shangri-la." Tibetans, like Ladakhis, are veiy rigidly
Technology. As the relation grew into a romance, and Carol was drawn positioned by the occidental imagination, which leaves little room for
66 A. CILLESPIE Becoming Other 67

deviation, while rewarding typification generously. How do Ladakhis react comprise these social acts? In the next chapter I tiy to conceptualize tour-
to this identity position that tourists extend toward them? How do the ist-Ladakhi encounters in terms of social acts.
Ladakhis take the perspective of the tourists in order to conceptualize
who they "should" be in the eyes of tourists? Again, this is a question we
will address.


Tourist-Ladakhi encounters have different meanings for both tourists and
Ladakhis. The perspective of the tourists is quite alien to the Ladakhis,
and the Ladakhi experience of being touted is completely alien to tour-
ists. The perspectives of tourists and Ladakhis are held apart by econom-
ics, language and cultural assumptions. Further dividing these
perspectives is the fact that there is little position exchange between tour-
ists and Ladakhis--tourists do not get to enact (either in play or actuality)
the perspective of Ladakhis, and Ladakhis rarely get to enact the perspec-
tive of tourists. In the interaction between tourists and Ladakhis, then, we
have a meeting of radically divergent perspectives. Yet these perspectives
cannot remain indifferent to one another.
For tourism in Ladakh to succeed, and for Ladakhis to succeed in tour-
ism, both tourists and Ladakhis must, to some extent, take the perspective
of the other. Tourists want to know what Ladakhis think about tourists and
the west, while Ladakhis want to know what tourists think about Ladakhis
and Ladakh. Each perspective is something of a puzzle for the other.
Tourists and Ladakhis when negotiating the price of a souvenir, or the
details of a trek, each need to be able to think about the situation from the
standpoint of the other. Guides, for example, need to be able to take the
perspective of tourists in order to lead tourists to what they want to see.
The questions guiding the present monograph are: How do tourists and
Ladakhis take each others' perspectives? And, what are the consequences
of this perspective taking? Does it lead to the emergence of nmv signifi-
cant symbols, and thus new domains of self-reflection and self-mediation?
But in order to use Mead's theory of the social act to address these
questions, we first need to operationalize the theory. We need to concep-
tualize the mass of tourist-Ladakhi interactions in terms of social acts-
only then will the theory become useful. This is a formidable task in itself.
The interactions between tourists and Ladakhis are infinitely subtle and
various. Yet the task is to pick out those patterns which are stable, and
which reoccur. Social acts are institutions with stable social positions.
What, then, are the institutionalized patterns of interaction that arise
between tourists and Ladakhis? And what are the social positions that

. -


Herbert Blumer (1 969), one of Mead's students, has triccl to turn Mead's
ideas into an empirical social psychology. His starting point is pragmatist.
He criticizes both psychology and sociology for putting primaiy causes
outside of interaction. On the one hand, psychology usually situatcs the
origins of action deep withi11 thc individual-in a set of cognitions, a
dynamic unconscious, or a personality trait, for exatnplc. On the otllel;
for sociology, action is explained by macrosocial structut-es, f~inctions,or
social facts, among others. In such accounts, the interactiotl, rather than
being causative, is merely a vehicle for hidden causes. Blumcr's advice is
that "the empirical social world consists of ongoing group life and one has
to get close to this Iife to know what is going on in it" (p. 38). The point is
that when the researcher gets close to lived life s/he does not find the
invisible hands of statistics or traits, but people acting on rhe basis of
meaning. The task of the present chapter is to enter the micro~vorldof
tourist-Ladakhi encounters, and to ask, simply, "what is going on?"
While the question may be simple, the means to answer it is complex,
its uildertaking is subtle. To o b s e ~ ~"what
le is going on" is surprisingly dif-
ficult. This is analogous to the problem of being a fish in water-the
things -cvhich routinely "go on" are invisible. In order to make the taken
for grantecl dynamics of the social world visible, we need a theoretical
frame. Our theoretical "apparatus" is the theory of the social act.

Beconli?~gOther h r n Social 1?7femction to S e ~ R ~ l e c f i o69-99
Copyright O 2006 by I~lformationAge Publishing
All rights of 1-eproduction in any form resenred.
70 A. GILLESPIE Becoming Other 71

"What is going on" in tourist-Ladakhi encounters? Tourists and Lada- all worked with tourists, and cooked numerous meals for tourists, but
khis interact around sightseeing and photography. Ladakhi guides lead, none of them had ever seen a tourist cooking before.
and tourists follow; Ladakhis pose, and tourists take photographs. There My most recent trip to Ladakh was in 2005. I met with Ladakhi col-
is also much economic exchange. Tourists spend a lot of time being leagues and continued my participant obsewation. I visited toured some
served by Ladakhis. Ladakhis put on cultural shows for tourists, they cook Ruddlii~tmonasteries on a motorbike, I went on a trek (almost the same
for tourists, they sell them souvenirs and take care of their accommoda- trek that I had done in 1997), and I clrank Ladakhi tea in the kitchen with
tion. Using the social act, to conceptualize observe each of these interac- colIeagues. 1 even bought some souvenirs. The surprising fact is that 8
tions, we need to ask a series of detailed questions: What are the different years later, I was participating in the same encounters that had first intro-
social positions that comprise a given social act? How do these social posi- duced me to Ladakh. Sure the encounters wcrc morc familiar to me, and
tions interact-what is the logic of these interactions? Do tourists and nly encounters had more conversation than silence, but the basic patterns
Ladakhis ever exchange social positions within these social acts? of interaction were the same. Where previously I saw uncertainty and
adventure, I now see patterned institutions-a wcll worn path along
which most touiists proceed.
PARTICIPATING I N AND OBSERVING THE TOURING ACT Each trip to Ladakh is, of course, ~rnique,as is each tourist-ladakhi
encounter. Btrt there is also a pattcrn. Within the torrelit of itlteraction
My observation of and participation in the touring act began in 1997, created each year by 12,000 tourists, a thcy pass through Ladakh, there
when I visited Ladakh with a group of friends. We stayed for 2 weeks and are pools of stability. Sightseeing and photography are the two most perti-
were impressed with our Himalayan adventure. We visited the main mon- nent social acts. Feiv tot~ristspass through Laclakh ~vithoutengaging in
asteries, went on a trek, encountered (and photographed) picturesque these. These interactions consummate the tourists' motivations for travel-
Ladakhis, bouglit souvenirs, explored the roads on Enfield motorbikes, ling-to experiencc and see Ladakh. Accordingly, I will desct-ibe these two
and (due to a small motorbike crash) we spent a highly-prized night in a interr-elated social acts in considerable detail-in each case, idcntifjing
rural Ladakhi house. I particularly remember entering the kitchen, with the various social positions that Ladakhis and tourists occupy, pointing to
numerous brass pots, a packed earth floor, and a stove in the middle of the rnpturcs instigated, and qiiestioni~lgwhethcr thcre is any position
the room. There we sat in relative silence with our hosts, who served us exchange within these social acts.
Ladakhi tea (a brew of green tea, butter, and salt). At that time, our expe-
rience of Ladakh seemed filled with uncertainty, potential, and adven-
Systematic fieldwork began in 2000, and was followed up with
extended visits to Ladakh in 2001 and 2002. During this period I spent The sightseeing act is the central social act within the touring act. Tourists
time staying in tourist guesthouses, a monastery, urban houses, and rural come to Ladakh in order to tom; to see the sceneiy and the Ladakhi way
houses. During the 12 months or so that I have been in Ladakh, I have of life. The sightseeing act is the main social institution through wllicll
participated in all the main tourist practices (trekking, cultural show, tourists achieve these ends. As part of the sightseeing act, tourists attend
sightseeing, jeep safari, motorbike safari, rafting, mountain climbing, cultural shows and religious festivals. They tour the Buddhist monasteries
etc.) and many Ladakhi practices (travel agency work, making and selling and trek to remote villages. Sightseeing is a social act because it implicates
souvenirs, a wedding, several festivals, spirit possessions, snooker, cinema, distinct social positions. Tourists do not simply tour Ladakh: they must
religious teachings, political demonstrations, NGO work, herding, cook- engage with the perspectives of the local population on the one hand and
ing, etc.). While I have certainly been accepted, or passed, as a tourist, I guides on the other. Within the sightseeing act each of these three groups,
cannot say the same for my status among Ladakhis. Despite forming have a different interest. Tourists are seeking out that which is authentic,
long-lasting friendships and learning the rudiments of Ladakhi, it has and are willing to travel to remote regions and sit in kitchens to do so.
been impossible to cease being an angrespa (foreigner). The only time I Ladakhis are hying to preserve that which tourists are willing to pay to
was called a Ladakhi was when I was cooking for some Ladakhi col- see. The guides mediate the relationship between tourists and Laclakhis,
leagues. They laughed at me, calling me a Ladakhi. In pursuit of my and in so doing find profit and sometimes a romantic partner. Let us con-
research of quizzed them about this. It turned out that although they had sider each of these social positions in turn.
72 A. GILLESPIE Becoming Other 73

Tourists Sightseeing female) on the way. When I met him he was travelling with a younger
woman from the United States. Chris spent his first week in Ladakh in
Tourists are in Ladakh primarily to sightsee. The sights they want to bed with altitude sickness. He said he was too weak to go trekking (as
see are structured by expectation-largely from the mass media. Once in intended) and that instead, he was spending a week visiting some of the
Ladakh, tourists search out their expectations. Sightseeing is this search monasteries, before travelling to Rajasthan, to do a camel safari. As we
for expected images and experiences. But perhaps because the social talked he told me about his recent visit to Hemis monastery. There, he
position of tourists is so much framed in terms of a search, tourists are and his companion met a monk who invited them into his quarters for
also preoccupied with authenticity. Fearing that Ladakhis know what it is tea. "It was really cool to go with the monk," Chris said, "we got an insidc
they are looking for, tourists guard against being duped. view." It was the backstage view that fascinated him. He said, "we were
In Leh, every evening during the tourist season, there are cultural per- hanging out with this monk in his little house, seeing what he ate and so
formances for tourists. The venue for one such show displays a sign in on." For Chi-is, it was the small things, such as what the monk ate, which
English above the door that reads, "Ladakh what was, and now here for were interesting. While the cultural pcrCormanccs have been staged, Chris
you daily." The entry fee is Rs100. (£1.20). Both the advertising and the could have faith in the authenticity of his encounter with the monk, and
admission fee give rise to a certain distrust among tourists: these are per- in what he saw in the monk's quarters.
ceived to be staged encounters. While watching the performers, tourists Chris' encounter can be classcd alongside my o.ivn encountel; rnen-
note the crisp white shirt collar protruding from the neck of the tradi- tioned above, of sitting in a Ladakhi kitchen drinking tea. From a tourists'
tional goml~haor a digital watch on the wrist. In this situation, one way to perspective such an encounter seems particularly genuine, for being in
avoid being duped, is to revel the artificiality of the show, for that distin- the kitchen means being brought into the centcr of actual as-it-is-lived
guishes oneself from the next tourist. With this in mind, the tourists I Ladakhi life. Tourists feel privileged. For Ladakhis, how eve^; inviting
spoke to were always keen to hear from me how the music in these cultural strangers into the house to sit in thc kitchen and drink tea is a most ele-
shows was faster than it "should" be, that there were traces of Hindi pop mentaly form of hospitality, and one accordcd to all guests. Accordingly,
tunes in some of the music, and that the songs had been abridged or the it is much moly widespread than most tourists realize. Although I have no
dances fabricated. Such knowledge is important for tourists because it figures on the mattel; I would spcculatc that almost a half of tourists to
gives them insider knowledge and allows them to position themselves as Ladakh end up, at some point, sitting in a Ladakhi kitchen drinking tea.
less duped than the next tourist. This particular encounter we can term the kitchen-visit act, and for many
The cat and mouse dynamics in which tourists perceive themselves to tourists this social act is the apothcosis of an authentic encounter.
be embedded, is aptly captured in MacCanneH's (1973) conceptualization Authenticity for tourists however, is more complex than simply striving
of staged authenticity. Using Goffman's distinction between frontstage to get backstage. Ritzer and Liska (1997, p. 107) and Wang (1999) have
and backstage, MacCannell argues that tourists are trying to get from criticized MacCannell's conception of authenticity, arguiag that some-
front regions to back regions, while the toured, wise to this search, are times tourists search out the authentically inauthentic. This aspect of the
busy making the front regions look like back regions. The main problem sightseeing act is illustrated by returning to Chris. A couple of days after
with cultural shows, for tourists, is that they are the epitome of the front our initial meetingwe met again just before he was about to leave Ladakh.
stage, and they want to find the authentic backstage. Accordingly, most He agreed to show, and discuss with me, the photographs he had taken
tourists are not satisfied with these cultural performances, and they leave while in Ladakh. Figure 4.1 shows a photograph he took while at Thiksey
Leh, and head out to one of the surrounding monasteries or villages- gomnpa. The photograph depicts a young monk holding a Coca-Cola bot-
often assuming that the h r t h e r they get from Leh, the more authentic tle. This monk is not conforming to the standard tourist representation of
their encounters will become. Indeed Lingshed which has a reputation for who he "sl~ould"be. The photograph revels in the inauthenticity of this
being the remotest village in Ladakh (4 days walk from the nearest road) authentic Ladakhi monk. Although this is an authentically inauthentic
is, during the summer season, a veritable tourist center. photograph, it is a staged photograph. Chris said that he saw the monk
The search for the backstage is clearly illustrated in the case of a Cana- with the Coca-Cola, liked the connection of the colors and the disruption
dian musician, Chris, who I met. He was in his late 30s, had been in Indo- of expectation, and so asked the monk to pose. The monk made the V, or
nesia the year before, and Latin America the year before that. He aIways victoty, sign on his own initiative. Chris made a point of directing my
traveled alone, saying that he liked to meet companions (particularly attention to the sunglasses on the monk's forehead-another amusing
74 A. GILLESPIE Becoming Other 75

something in common, which is revealing about tourists' aspirations. In
both contexts Chris is privy to something. There is a degree of exclusivity
to sharing tea with a monk, and equally, not eveiy tourist gets to see the
monks with their Coca-Cola. Or rather most tourists think that these are
relatively exclusive experiences. These are not exclusive for Ladakhis, but
they are exclusive for tourists. And thus, we see that in the sightseeing act,
tourists have one eye on their fellow travelers.

Ladakhis Seeing Tourists Sightseeing

Let us now turn to the social position of 1,aclakhis within the sightsee-
ing act. How do the Ladakhis react to tourists sightseeing? Do thcy con-
ceive of themselves as inventing tradition (Hobsba~vm& Rangel; 1992)?
Are the Ladakhis ~ynicalpurveyors of "traditional cu1trrre"-an excliangc
that enables them to buy into modernity (Bruncl; 2005; Tilley, 1999)?
While inauthenticity is a tnajor topic of discussion between tourists, it is
riot an important issue for Ladakhis. Within the sightseeing act, Laclakhis
may be trying to profit fi-om tourists, but they are not tiying to clupe
them. Choreographers, dancers, singers, and lay Ladakhis, while being
open to debating those small changes that have been made to the danccs
and songs for the Benefit ol'tourists, resist firmly the idea that the cultural
shorv is a charade. This resistance arises not only when it is I, a tourist,
who presses them on the issue. Cultural shows have more Ladakhis in the
audience than tourists, and they are not there to see and heal- about their
"fake" culture. Ladakhi culture, which is what is 011 display, is far too
important a concept in Ladaklli society to be conccptualizcd as a charade.
Thus the ciuestion of manipulation or invention of tradition seems to say
more about Occidental anxieties than about Ladakhi intentions. Simply
put, the distinction between authentic and inauthentic traditions is not
important within the Ladakhi symbolic universe. Ladakhis are just as
figure 4.1. Tourist's photograph of monks in Thiksey golrspa. keen to watch a cultural performance for tourists as they are to watch a
cultural performance for a purely Ladakhi audience.
In the past, Ladakhis rarely "watched" performances of their own cul-
incongruity for him. The interesting thing about this photograph is that ture-whenever there was a dance, evelyone participated in the dance.
the tourist is touring the disjunction between who monks "should" be and Today, however, there is more watching than participation. Now Ladakhis
what they are. In this mode of touring, Chris is immune from having an I take the same social position as tourists, namely, within the audience.
inauthentic experience because he is touring inauthenticity itself. I They obse~veprofessional dancers on stage perform, and they clap in
We must bear in mind that Chris is the same tourist who was so response. Arguably, they are learning a new mode of appreciating their
impressed with his authentic (intimate) encounter with the monk back- own culture from tourists.
stage in Hemis gompa--of seeing what the monk ate and so on. Chris is Often at festivals announcers explain the meaning of clances in both
engaged both in seeking out authentic encounters, and in reflectively English and Ladakhi. While the English commentaiy explains the dance,
touring the seemingly inauthentic. But both of these accounts share the Ladakhi announcement both explains the dance and offers reasons
76 A. GILLESPIE Becoming Other 77

why the dance should be preserved. In a sense these Ladakhi announcers Sightseeing From the Standpoint of Guides
are educating Ladakhis about their own culture, and thus making explica-
ble to Ladakhis why the tourists beside them are paying money to be Ladakhi guides facilitate tourists' sightseeing and trekking. These
there. This divergence was amusingly evident during the Women's Alli- guides must work closely with tourists, being aware of tourists' motiva-
ance "Festival of Traditional Culture" in 2001. A troupe of girls in tradi- tions, in order to guide them toward areas of interest. In short, the Lada-
tional dress sang a contemporary Ladakhi song, in Ladakhi, about the khi guides, by v i r t ~ ~
ofethe specificity of their position, need to be able to
reasons for preserving Ladakhi culture which the tourists assumed to be a take the pcrspective of the tourists within the sightseeing act. The various
traditional song. AIthough seated side-by-side, tourists and Ladakhis were dynamics of this act can be illustrated by consiclerirlg Tsering, a gorizi~n
in different environments. While the Ladakhi audience was being fed the guide whom I have known since for 5 years.
reasons for preserving traditional songs and dances, the tourists were, Tsering grew up in a village a day's drivc from Leh. He has an arts
from their standpoint, experiencing a traditional song and dance. degree from Jammu University. Wc spends the winter in Delhi studying
Within the sightseeing act it is not only Ladakhis telling each other for government of India exams (aiming for a secure government job), and
that they should preserve their culture, tourists also do. Although the vast the summer in Lell whel-e he guides tourists 011 "culture tours" in order to
majority of tourist-Ladakhi talk is surprising for its superficiality, there are subsiclize his studies. He says that tourists ask many more questions than
times when culture becomes the topic. What usually happens, in these Ladakhis, that the old Laclakliis havc "blind fiiitli" and that toclap the
instances, is that the conversation becomes dominated by tourists, while younger Ladakhis are more inquisitive. Six years ago he did a course on
Ladakhi interlocutors remain relatively silent. Tourists speak emphati- how to bc a go17zpo guide, in which hc had to learn when the main gonz/)o
cally, and without hesitation. They tell Ladakhis that they are "lucky" that were built, wliicll sect they belonged to and the basic tcncts of Buddhism.
they have a "precious" culture and they should preserve it. The peculiar Sometitnes the tourists pose difficult questions and recently lie has been
attitude with which tourists orient to Ladakhis, somehow respectful and thinking about doing a refresher course. Two of the most frecluent ques-
paternalistic at the same time, is evident in the comments that have been tions that tourists ask him arc, "what altitude are wc at?" and "how old is
left in the guest book at Stok Palace. There is a small museum and the this or that?" These are puzzling questions for lli~nto answer, as neither
guest book is prominently displayed. The interesting thing about the has any place witllin thc traditional Ladakhi symbolic univcl-se. Accorcl-
comments is that so many are directed at Ladakhis. It is as if these com- ingly, he often asks to~~rists if he can borrow their guidebooks overnight ill
ments are what tourists want to say to all Ladakhis. The following is a order to study and prepare for the questions they may ask him. He says
fairly representative sample of these comments: "very beautiful--continue that it is vely good for Ladakhis that tourists want to visit the monasteries
to preserve the things," "treasure your treasure," "thank you for the privi- for it means that Ladakhis, like him, have to learn about their culture.
lege, I feel deeply moved and blessed," "the behavior ofthe staff is rude," When guiding tourists, Tserirlg uscd to wear a gonchha, and prostrate
"a real step back in time," "would love to wake up here in the sixteenth when enteiing a shrine room. Now, he does not, though he says lie got
century," and "a beautiful step back in time to spiritual peace." The com- more tips and photographs when he did. Somc tourists even ask him why
ments endow Ladakhis with valuable culture, and they insist that this he is not wearing the gonclthn. Recently, as a means to increase his tips, he
should be preserved. Within the sightseeing act, Ladakhis are constantly made a contact in the kitchen of Thiksey gonzpa. This means he is able to
exposed to such comments. It remains a question for subsequent chapters take tourists backstage into the old smoky kitchen, and offer them some
as to how these imperatives are received within the Ladakhis' symbolic basic monk fare. He says that the tourists like to tly the Ladakhi tea, but
universe. do not like the salt and butter in it. Such strategies are common among
Within the sightseeing act, Ladakhis find themselves in possession of guides, and illustrate how guides orient to the perspective of tourists.
something valuable-their culture. Buddhist monasteries, traditional Here we have the kitchen-visit act from the standpoint of a guide. The
dances ad music, and traditional dress all become objects of value within visit is for tourists, but it is not a charade. When I ask Tsering why the
the sightseeing act. Accordingly, there are moves toward restoration and tourists like to go into the kitchen, he is unsure.
preservation. While part of this is orienting to tourists, as emphasized, The young men of Ladakh, like Tsering, are keen to acquire Western
Ladakhis do not perceive their culture as a charade. In this sense, for goods. In Leh there are numerous "fancy goods shops" selling Indian and
Ladakhis, their culture has no backstage-it is what appears on the stage Chinese replica Sony walkmans, Nikon cameras, Ray-ban sunglasses,
for tourists. Levis, and Nikes. However, the young men know that the "fancy goods"
Becoming Other 79

bought in Leh are fake, and for this reason gifts from tourists are highly Another aspect of the guiding act is its potential for romance. The
prized. Tsering has an impressive collection of such gifts from tourists: desire to meet a bestern girlfriend is no secret among guides (the vast
Ray-Ban sunglasses, Nike shoes, a Maglite torch, and a North Face jacket. majority of guides are male). But how to succeed in this venture is still
His most recent acquisition was a pair of Salomon Gore-Tex hiking boots. problematic for most. Tsering, among others, has asked me how to chat
The boots were a size 10, three sizes too big, and so he asked me if I knew up l\lestern women. In this Ladakhis are willing to make concessions, in
any tourist who might buy them. He had got them from an Italian man, order to become desirable. One such romance involved a woman from
who at the end of a 3-day "culture tour" asked Tsering what size his feet Boston, Liz, who had left her office job because she was "feeling a bit
were. Tsering looked at the Italian's feet and guessed that they were big- down about the general lack of spirituality" and had come to Ladakh "to
ger than his, so he answered size 8 instead of size 7. Tsering told the Ital- see the gonzfia perched up on the hill." She found what she was looking for
ian that they fitted perfectly. in Hamid, and they started a relationship. I joined Hamid, Liz and five
A minoricy of guides resort to Machiavellian tactics to get the desired other tourists on a trek, and one day, Hamid and Liz were late for break-
reaction from tourists. A current strategy involves the reinvention of an fast. When Liz arrived she proudly told us that Hamid was meditating.
old tradition. In Ladakh it is, or at least was, believed that every mountain I-Iaviag kno~vnHamicl Cor about 5 years, and having stayed in his house, I
pass is the abode of a spirit, a Iha, and traditionally Ladakhis have given was surprised becausc I had never seen, or heard of, Hamid (who is Mus-
offerings to these Zhu as they cross over the pass-usually nothing more lim) meditaling. Obviously the example is complcx. Liz's comtnent was
than a khatags (white religious scarf) o r a prayer flag. Today, sawy guides directed at her tourist audience, and tneant to solidify the significance ol'
tell their clients, as they lead them over a pass, that the first time one Liz romancing with a "spiritual" Ladakhi. For Hamid's part, he was ori-
crosses a pass one must make an offering to propitiate the Iha, via the enting to the meaning that Liz was searching for-"the lack of spiritual-
guide, whose history of traversing the pass brings familiarity with the Lha, ity" in the United States. Here, again, we are dealing with a subtle
and ensures the newcomers safe passage. When the tourists ask what the coordination of perspectives.
normal offering would be, they are told it is a meal. Then, given that most From the perspective of guides, the sightseeing act, is fillcd with poten-
tourists do not carry a meal with them, they give the Ladakhi guides tial retvards. Befriending thc right tourist can bring large tips, generous
enough money for a meal, according to tourist meal prices, which can eas- gifts, maybe even sponsorship for fiirther study or romance. But in order
ily equate to half a day's wages for a guide. to tap into this resource, the guide must he ablc to incorporate the per-
Guides, however, are not only seeking money from tourists, they also spective of the tourists. To theorizc the mind of the tourist, then, is a pri-
seek recognition. Most treks in Ladakh involve crossing mountain passes maiy aim and, potentially, the key rupture for these guides-this is the
of 14-18,000 ft., meaning that altitude fatigue is inevitable, and altitude unknown quantity that needs to be made known. While the guides may
sickness common. However, as the air becomes thinner, and the tourists use tourist's guidebooks to aid them in understanding the perspective of
slow down, it is not uncommon for the Ladakhis to, or at least to seem to, tourists, they do not have any guidebooks that answer to their own inter-
go faster. Tourists react saying things like "how do you walk so fast?" and ests. Instead they must rely on their own collective experience. Accord-
"do you not feel the altitude?" Such comments offer Ladakhis a rubric of ingly, the guides are keen to exchangc stories about tourists, and are
favourable attributions which some embrace. On one occasion we had a especially keen to exchange tips and advice.
steep ascent along a zigzagging path. The cook, who had started out after
us in the morning, carrying a big rucksack, overtook us and leaving the
path, went straight up the side of the mountain! That night while we were Position Exchange?
eating dinner, he was outside vomiting (a classic symptom of altitude sick-
ness). This observation (along with two others) is similar to the phenome- From the standpoint of Mead's theory of the social act, one of the main
non described by Adams (1996) in her book Tigers of t h Snow. She has dynamics driving perspective-taking within a social act is position
shown how Nepali Sherpa, who live in the vicinity of Everest, are exchange. Accordingly, is there any position exchange within the sightsee-
extended the identity attributes of being skilled climbers. Early mountain ing act? Do tourists and Ladakhis ever exchange social position? I suggest
climbers used to award Sherpa "Tiger" medals for their endurance at alti- that this only occurs in a vely limited way.
tude. Today foreigners in Nepal expect Sherpa to be "tigers of the snow" First, let us look at Ladakhis enacting the social position of tourists.
and they offer recognition to them for conforming to this expectation. Many Ladakhis aspire to going on tour and visiting foreign countries.
80 A. GILLESPIE Becoming Other 81

One of my Ladakhi colleagues, for example, saved up his earnings in defining props of tourism. A surprising number of tourists even travel
order to take his ageing mother on a tour of northern India and Nepal. with bvo cameras. So, "what is going on" in the photographing act?
Admittedly, this tour was more of a pilgrimage to prominent Buddhist There are two main social positions, that of tourist photographer and
sites, than a holiday in the modern sense. Nevertheless, it is one of several Ladakhi subject. While Ladakhis may seem to play a small part within this
instances I have come across when Ladakhis pack their cameras, change social act, analysis suggests that they are indeed actors within this social
currency, travel abroad and take adopt the social position of sightseeing. act. Tourists' concern within this social act is to get photographs, but the
These instances do imply Ladakhis taking the social position of tourists, project is considerably complicated by the "reverse gaze" of Ladakhis,
but only in the most limited sense. Although they step into the structural that makes tourists feel uncomfortable. While most Ladakhis take pride in
and economic position of tourist, they do not step into the symbolic world being photographed, tourists fccl that photographing Ladakhis objecti-
of tourists. The motivation for traveling is different. The gaze of Ladakhis fies them. Tourists tllus engagc many strategies to surreptitiously photo-
does not seek out the authentic premodern, and very few admire nature graph Ladakhis. And Ladakhis, for their part, are able to control the
in the same way that tourists do. extent to which they participate in this social act by controlling their clress
Let us now turn to tourists taking the social position of Ladakhis. (wearing traditional clress gl-eatly increases their photogenic status) and
Again, this is rare, but "The Farm Project," an initiative of the Interna- the places they li-cquent (I have beard the Eadakh Festival clescribecl by
tional Society for Ecology and Culture, deserves mention. The Farm tourists as a "photo-fest").
l'roject invites people from all nationalities to travel to Ladakh for a
month of workshops and hands-on experience of life in a rural village.
According to a leaflet that advertises the Project: "Living and working Ladakhis in Tourist Photography
with a Ladakhi family for a month gives participants an opportunity to
experience daily life, learn about Ladakhi tradition, and witness firsthand The fliincrtr, the voyeuristic stroller, has become an at,chetypicaI mod-
the pressures from the consumer monoculture." Volunteers live with ern character (Benjamin, 1973; Jokinen & Veijola, 1997). 'The emergence
Ladakhi families and work side-by-side with Ladakhis in the fields. But of tllefla^ne~~r
has been linked to the rebuilding of l'aris in tlle lattcl- half of
are tourists really taking the social position of Ladakhis? Although they the nineteenth cenhuiy, where old cncloscd communities were ripped
are doing the same manual work, and they are living in the same condi- open and exposed by a network of new bouleval-cls. These boulevarcls
tions, there still seems to be a divide. While tourists can do the same placed people into an anonymous visual relation with one another. It
bccame possible to maintain a discrete detachment or privacy in public.
actions as Ladakhis, it is more difficuft to take the Ladakhi world view.
The Jinezw exists only by virtue of the anonymous crowd. The JIBVICIL~
Tourists working on the Farm Project do not get to experience what it is
arrives, gazes, and moves on with an arsenal of "internal" narratives that
like never having been outside Ladakh, or being Buddhist from birth.
take as their subject the gazed upon. Simmel (190811921) also obsei-ved
They do not experience tourists' photographs-they are not reacted to by
that mass society puts increased emphasis on visual, opposed to verbal,
tourists as Ladakhis. And thus they are not in the same position as Lada- relations. We are increasingly used to seeing people ~vithoutspeaking to
khis vis-a-vis tourists. them. Before the advent of cities, this was almost impossible. Tourism is a
While some Ladakhis do travel and some tourists work in Ladakh, Lada- further advance on this interest to gaze, from a position of extreme exteri-
khis and tourists cannot exchange social positions in a substantial way. ority, and its principle aid is the camera (Urty, 1990).
While they can enact each other's behaviors, it is not so easy to take on the But this urban practice is quite out of context from a Ladakhi point of
others' world view or to get the rest of the world to recognize this change. view. The idea of strolling, gazing, photographing, and not participating
in the life observed is a peculiar product of modern cities and their inhab-
itants. This activity is quite alien within the traditional Ladakhi life world.
THE PHOTOGRAPHING ACT I11 the sparsely populated valleys of Ladakh, people know each other, and
visitors are rare. In these valleys tllefla^neliris extremely out of place. Yet
In the course of my fieldwork, whilst interacting with a couple of hundred when tourists arrive, this is what they do. They stroll, they gaze, and they
tourists, I met only one tourist who did not have a camera or was not trav- photograph. They rarely stay anywhere more than a night before moving
elling with someone else who did. The camera has become one of the on to the next destination, and they rarely return.
82 A. GILLESPIE Becoming Other 83

As part of my fieldwork I collected 16 rolls of camera film from eight senting to being photographed-indeed not to be photographed might
generous tourists, yielding a total of 462 photographs. Each of the tour- be something of a disappointment. Within the context of a cultural show,
ists I approached had several rolls of film, and out of this stock they Ladakhi culture is meant to be appreciated, and photography is one
selected 1-3 rolls to share with me. Accordingly, there is doubtless selec- means by which tourists can demonstrate their appreciation. I remember
tion in the sample of photogi-aphs that I have collected. Nevertheless, one occasion when, in the company of a Ladakhi colleague, we visited a
they are revealing with regards to what tourists photograph. 137 of the family in Nubra valley-tlorth of Lch. We had Ladakhi tea, the conversa-
photographs are of Ladakhis. This in itself is worth pausing upon. If we tion was good, and we stayed for dinner. Then, at the end of the meal the
extrapolate, this means that almost a third of all tourists' photographs are energetic lady of the house stood up with enthusiasm, gathered her chil-
of Ladakhis. If one assumes that each of the 12,000 or so tourists visiting dren about her, and said to me that riolv I should take a photograph.
Ladakh each year fills several rolls of film (with almost one third photo- Without a camera I could not oblige. The anticlimax was awkward. I felt
graphs of Ladakhis) then one can begin to appreciate the impact of pho- that without a camera I was unable consummate the recognition that this
tography on Ladakhis. Every year several hundred thousand photographs woman expected. This, howevel; is not to suggest that Ladakhis always
are taken of Ladakhis-who are barely 200,0000 in number. Moreover, welcome tourist phutography. Scvcral Ladakhis have told rnc that they do
tourists' photographs are not evenly distributed among Ladakhis. Using not like it when tourists sneak illicit "shots" photograplis ol them, espe-
nonmutually exclusive coding, the content of tlle 137 photographs of cially wllen they are engaged in menial work.
Ladakhis can be summarized in the following manner: 74 photographs T l ~ etourist gaze, as objectifiecl in the camera, has been rlescl.ibed in
contain images of adults in modern dress, 49 contain images of children, tlle literature as having the power to create a cultural revival (Brunet;
29 contain images of Ladakhis in traditional dress, and 12 contain images 2005, p. 1 19), to commodify local culture (Philip & Mercer, 1999) arid cul-
of elderly Ladakhis. These ratios are heavily skewed toward Ladakhis in tivate new forms of self-consciousness alnong thc indigenous citizens
traditional dress and children. That tourists search out Ladakhis in tradi- (Tilley, 1999). In Ladakh it certainly seerlls to be thc case that tourist pho-
tional dress is unsurprising, but the salience of children needs some tography has created a new self-awal-encss among Ladakhis, and has
explanation. given them a feeling of pride iu their culture. Within the photographi~ig
Children generally wish to be photographed by tourists. For example, act, Ladakhis are taking tlle perspective of tourists, and derive a sensc of
they follow tourists chanting "one photo, one photo"-indicating that I-ecognition and pride from this perspective.
they want the tourist to take a photograph of them. It is unusual for these
children to request money for being photographed. Rather, it seems they
get an identity reward, or some form of recognition, by virtue of being Tourists Photographing
photographed-it positions them at center stage as a focus for attention.
On some occasions I have seen tourists get so many requests from chil- Most of the research on tourist photography has focused upon the
dren that they resort to pretending to take photographs. impact of tourist photography on their indigenous subjects. Concepts,
Equalty, there is evidence to suggest that adults are aIso appreciative of such as Urly's (1990) "tourist gaze," have teilded to endow the tourist
tourist photography. From a Ladakhi point of view, tourists are a means behind the camera with much pourer (e.g., Crawshaw & Uriy, 1997). How-
toward economic development. In order to promote tourism, free festi- evel; the photographer-photographee relation is a complex interaction
vals, such as the Ladakh Festival, are organized. These festivals, though with at least two sides (Cohen & Almagol; 1992). It is not only the photo-
expensive to organize and unprofitable (they bare free for tourists), are graphee who is influenced by the interaction, so too is the photographer.
seen to contribute to the overall economic development of Ladakh by The photographee can gaze upon the tourist photographel; and this
promoting tourism. In a similar vein, there is a sense in which individual "reverse gaze" can play an important role in constituting the emerging
Ladakhis, by welcoming tourists and by posing for photographs, are also self of the tourist photographer (Gillespie, 2006b).
contributing to the development of Ladakh. This attitude is reflected in This reverse gaze is clearly evident in an unusual interaction that I
the fact that, unlike elsewhere (e.g., Bruner, 2005, pp. 117-118), it is rare observed at a cultural festival that had been arranged by Women's Alli-
for Ladakhis to ask for financial compensation for posing for photo- ance, a local NGO, in order to display Ladakhi culture to Western tourists.
graphs. Ladakhis who attend festivals such as the Ladakh Festival are The audience comprised a couple of hundred foreign tourists and Lada-
asked to wear their traditional dress, and by doing so they are tacitly con- khis sitting and standing in a wide circle. At the center of the circle was an
84 A. GILLESPIE Becoming Other 85

open space where troupes of traditionally dressed Ladakhi women took not ask for permission. Overall she was obliging, though I did note she
turns to sing and dance. In this type of situation it is expected that tourists joked with one tourist by pretending to dodge the ,tourist's photographic
will take photographs, and most tourists were availing themselves of the gaze. The Frenchman in Figure 4.2 was the most active photographer that
opportunity. However, not all the tourist cameras were trained upon the I observed. He followed the Ladakhi woman al-ouncl the festival taking
dancing women. Several tourists were openly photographing traditional- photographs, and when she sat dolvn, he took up his position in Figure
looking Ladakhis in the audience. 4.2. By this time the Frenchman's relentless photographing had been
figure 4.2 shows a picture I took of a Ladakhi woman being photo- noticed by other tourists.
graphed by a French tourist with a telephoto Iens. This particular Ladakhi Shortly after I took the photograph in Figure 4.2, a female tourist,
comes from the remote village of Drass. She is wearing a homespun nearby the photogenic Ladakhi woman, offered the Ladakhi her camera
woolen dress, with traditional jervelry and traditional shoes. Adorning her while pointing toward the Frenchman. The Ladakhi woman accepted the
head is an impressive arrangement of flowers. In many ways she crystal- camera and began pointing it toward the French photograplic~;and me,
Iizes tourists' image ofhLadakh as spiritual and timeless, and of Ladakhis behind him. Figure 4.3, another photograph taken by me, sllows thc
as practicing colorful traditions (Bishop, 1989). The dress and manner of amusement on the face of tlie Ladakhi photog rap he^; her colleagues ancl
this Ladakhi woman, more so than many other Ladakhis at the festival, the tourist who lent her camera to the Ladakl~i.In terms of' the reverse
conformed to expectation. Accordingly, she was the focus of many tourist gaze, the noteworthy featiu-e of this interaction was in tlle manifest
cameras. Indeed, during the course of 14 minutes I counted 21 different embarrassment of the French tourist. The Laclaklii woman's numerous
tourists photographing her. Some of the tourists requested if they could spectators became aware of the camera she hcld, and they S~~llowecl its line
take her photograph, and some even posed with her, but the majority did of sight toward the Frenchman. The gaze of the other tourists combined
with her mitnic~yto create a moment of confusion. As a consecluence, his
face flushcd, and his actions became awkward. As Figure 4.3 shows, he
lowered his telephoto lens. IIVllile I was able to slip tny camera into my
pocket, his large camera became painfully conspicuous. The tourist in the
left of liigu-e 4.3 had previously been photographing thc photogenic
Ladakhi woman as well, and he, unable to hide his camera, simply began
to photograph, or at least pretend to photograph, someone or something
else. The French tourist briefly adopted a similar strategy, before standing
up and leaving tlie festival area. Given that he could not ignore the
reverse gaze, hc decided to simply break off the discomforting iaterac-
One could argue that the French tourist was perturbed by the disturb-
ing novelty of this interaction, or simply by being caricatured, but such
explanations do not go far enough. The origin of flushing is not simply in
the individual's involuntary physiological response; rather this originates
in the social field, particularly in the individual's understanding of other
people's perspectives. The feeling of embarrassment implies a discrep-
ancy between our "ideal" self-image and the "tarnishecl" self arises from
considering how other people perceive us (Edelman, 1987). The embar-
rassment of the French tourist indicates that his image of himself has
altered, not necessarily in a fundamental way, but simply that within this
interaction, he has been repositioned (Holland, Lachicotte, Skinner, &
Cain, 1998). IVithin this interaction, we can speculate, a new "me" has
Figure 4.2. My photograph of a tourist taking a emerged for the French man, namely, "me-as-a-tourist-photograp11er."
photograph. And the manifestly social nature of his discomfort, the blushing, indicates
Becoming Other 87

a roughly equidistant object. Then with a sideways sweep, the target Lada-
khi is photographed quickly and unsuspectingly. One variation on this
theme is to take photographs without looking through the lens at all (this
is the method which I used when taking the photographs in Figure 4.2
and Figure 4.3). Using an automatic focus camera, the strategy is to sim-
ply, and swiftly, point the camera in the right general direction and take
the photograph. With practice this can be done so quickly that it almost
dissolves into a fluid motion. Digital cameras greatly facilitate this
method because they reduce the cost ofwasted film. Surreptitiously using
a telephoto lens from a distance is yet another popular strategy to avoid
the reverse gaze.
One of the most extreme strategies for avoiding the reverse gaze is to
either travel without a camera or to hide one's camera. For example, I
met one Australian who, when staying in a gonzpn, and meeting with
monks, hid his camera despite being painf~illyaware that he was missing
sorrle of the best photographic opportunities that he had cncountered.
When I asked him why he did this, he said:

It's the Ladakhis' perception of'me taking a photo-if I have a camera, I am
a tourist, rr~hereasif I don't, that tllought is not so )>rotnitlentin their minds.
Like say they look at me taking a photo and say "there is another tourist tak-
figure 4.3. My photograph of a Ladakhi taking a ing a photo."
photograph of a tourist.
The reverse gaze has the power to constitute or position this A~~straliari
that the mechanism underlying this repositioning is to be found in the as "another tourist taking a photo." Beingjust "another toul-ist" presents
social situation. He was, I suspect, taking the "I" position of others. an undesirable self-image. This Australian had made an effort no1 to stay
in a guesthouse or hotel and instead had gotle out of his way to stay in a
During my fieldwork, this is the only time that I saw a Ladakhi take a
gomprr. He did not make this effort in order to be tagged as just "another
photograph of a tourist without the tourist requesting it-though notice-
tourist." Accordingly, he engages in self-presentation (Goffman, 1959),
ably in this case a second tourist has, in some sense, done so by proxy. As
t~yingto control the impression that he makes on the Ladakhi monks. By
such, the interaction I have reported is highly unusual. Yet, this interac- not wielding a camera he hopes that he can lay claim to a more favorable,
tion exemplifies the dynamics of the reverse gaze, which to a lesser extent and mom unique, position within the reverse gaze. Although it was
is a necessary potential in all photographer-photographee interactions. important for this tourist to capture his experiences on film, in this
The photographee, by fixing a prolonged stare, a questioning look, or instance it was more important for him to avoid the reverse gaze. In this
even just raising an eyebrow, can momentariiy reverse the relationship situation the photographic gaze was subordinated to the reverse gaze.
between photographer and subject. In a glance the photographee can, It is evident that the reverse gaze can cause discomfort, in the form of
like the Ladakhi woman with the camera, capture and objectify the tourist embarrassment, shame, or a spoiled identity. Indeed, there is no evidence
photographer as a particular type of tourist. That is to say, the reverse of tourist photographers, in Ladakh, beaming with pride or satisfaction
gaze, in its various forms, can mediate the emerging tourist self. when caught, with a camera, in the reverse gaze. But why does the reverse
The power and pervasiveness of the Ladakhi reverse gaze is apparent gaze cause such discomfort for tourist pl~otograpl~ers? Surely, at least
in the diverse ways that tourists seek to avoid it. For example, some tour- sometimes, this should not be the case-for we knorv from the above anal-
ists pretend to photograph a landscape or a building which is in the same ysis of the social position of Ladakhis that they sometimes do like being
general direction as the target Ladakhi. The camera is thus focused upon photographed. Here we have a social act, with each social position orient-
88 A. GILLESPIE Becoming Other 89

ing to and reacting to the other, but the intersubjectivity is fractured. While it would be simplistic to suggest that Ladakhis' propensity for
Whose perspective are tourists taking if they are not taking the actual per- photography is solely to "play" (in a Meadian sense) at being tourist pho-
spective of Ladakhis? tographers, there is certainly a sense in which Ladakhi children are play-
ing with the position of tourist photographer. Ladakhi children, as
mentioned, are well aware of tourist photographers. They call after tour-
Position Exchange? ists "one photo, onc photo" and relish being the subject of tourist photog-
raphy. The interesting thing, bowevel; is that these same children also
It is fair to say that almost all tourist photographers will have been in cnjoy playing at being tourist photograpllers. Figure 4.4 presents a non-
the position of photographee, that is to say, they will all have been the contrived photograph I took of a young 1,adakhi child who was playing
subject of a photograph. In this sense, tourist photographers have occu- with a toy camera. But again, while the example illustrates some degree of
pied both of the social positions within the photographing act. However, position exchange, we must again question that degl-ee. Playing with a toy
this is a very loose application of the concept position-exchange. For camera, striking a tourist pose, these are actions that are u~ilikelyto call
although tourist photographers might themselves have posed as photo- forth the tourists' symbolic universe. These actions in tl~cnlselvesdo not
graphic subjects, this is a far remove from being photographed as a Lada- reveal why tourists take photographs, and thus again the limited nature of
khi by a tourist. It makes a difference who is taking the photograph, with this position cxchange must be emphasized.
what motivation, and in what relation they stand to the photographee.
As mentioned in the above discussion of the reverse gaze, the incident
captured in Figures 4,3 is the only time that I witnessed a Ladakhi take a THE SERVING ACT
photograph of a tourist without that tourist requesting the photograph.
Given that tourists usually photograph Ladakhis without a Ladakhis' Tourism is a particularly consumerist institution. Toul-ists, once abroad,
prompt, it follows that tourist photographers have not really experienced must pay for everything: each night's accommodation, each meal, and
the social position of Ladakhis within the photographing act. In figure most activities. Within each oi' these domains, tourists pay locals to setvc
4.3 there is a sense in which there is position-exchange, for it is the Lada- thcm. In Ladakh, the serving act arises in trcks, clurii~gsigl~tsecing,in
khi Dard who is the photographer and the Frenchman has become the g~~esthouses and hotels and in restaurants. Across these diverse contexts,
photographee. Yet, such an assessment might be hasty for the Frenchman the senring act, sustains the social position of tourists as possessing ecn-
is never actually positioned as a Ladakhi. He is not a photographee nornic power and the social position of Ladakhis as desirous of that eco-
because he is "traditional." Indeed, the reverse gaze actually makes salient nomic power, and thus willing to sei-ve.
his identity as a tourist photographer. Thus within the photographing act
there are certainly moments when tourists move position, but exactly
~vhichposition they move to is a moot point. I suggest that they are rarely, Tourist Consumers
if ever, actually participating in the social position of Ladakhis.
When we look at the photographing act from the Ladakhi perspective, Tourists fi-om high-income countries traveling in low income-countries
there is some noteworthy play of social positions. Ladakhis are surpris- find that they are possession of m ~ ~ ceconomic
li polvec Part of the liminal-
ingly keen photographers when compared to other populations within ity of being a tourist in India, is carried by this financial power to enact
India. Most of the younger Ladakhis have photo albums, and they are consumerist dreams. Eating out in restaurants, staying in hotels, taking
keen to show them. Indeed, many Ladakhis purchase cameras and take taxis, and renting motorbikes are all much more affordable in India com-
photographs of themselves, their friends and their family-at times pared to high-income countries. Particularly cheap are all labor intensive
staged with a surprisingly touristic backdrop. Upon befriending Lada- prod~~cts (souvenirs, jewelry, textiles etc.) and seivices (guides, massage,
khis, there invariably comes a time when their photo album is brought laund~yetc.). While tourists themselves rarely admit to reveling in the
out. Catering to this enthusiasm, in Leh the shops that develop photo- power of their currency, they certainly do spend much time being seived
graphic film will also take portrait photographs very cheaply. When pur- in numerous ways.
chasing these photographs, locals can choose from a variety of painted The dynamics of the senring act are particularly evident on treks,
backdrops, including the Taj Mahal, a city skyline and a leafy forest. when tourists and Ladakhis have to live in close contact. Tourists on a
90 A. GILLESPIE Becoming Other 91

Within the serving act, tourists have a particular concern for hygiene.
Food-sickness and health concerns are ever present for tourists, and
within the seming act they entillst their health to Ladakhis. Accordingly,
problems arise when they fear that those serving are not maintaining suf-
ficient standards of hygiene. On one trek a Canadian man was appalled at
the "thousand year old rag" which the helper was using to clean the plates
and cups. He confronted the helper asking him to wash the "rag." On the
same trek, each and every morning the cook would draw water from a
nearby stream and boil it for the tourists, and the vely samc man,
reproached the cook for not doing so for the full 10 tnintrtcs recom-
mended in the guidebook. Subsequently, each morning he timed the
duration of the boil. On a different trek, our cook, who had much experi-
ence ~vorkingwith tourists and very good English, asked an Australian
woman in our party if he could have some of her drinking watcc She
replied sotnewhat awkxvardly, "well (pause) but you miglit havc germs,
have a cold, I don't likc to share my water." These instances are significant
in that there is a ~ x p t u r ein the seiving act. Tourists becotne concerned
about hyygieae, and they communicate this anxicty to those serving them
-thus positioning them as unhygienic.
Anothcr discomfort, for tourists, within the serving act is the exchange
of tnoncy. Employiug 1,adakhis and buying souvenirs creates an awkward
arnbivalcnce for the tourist who is in pursuit of images of spiriluality and
nonmateriaIism. The problern is that one of the main media through
which they interact with Ladakhis, and through which they pursue these
I images, is moncy. It is rnoney that brings them to Ladakh, enables them
figure 4..4. My photograph of a hdakhi child playing to sunrive in Ladakh, and to sightsee. It is money that gives them access to
at photography.
the "authentic" souvenirs they so desire. It is money that they pay in order
to trek to remote "authentic" villagcs. Evely exchange of money, and par-
ticularly evcly instance of being over-charged or "scammed," repositions
trek have a guide, a cook, a pony man, and usually a helper. Every meal the tourist as a dupe. To pm-chase one's "authentic" experiences is to taint
is composed of several courses and is served to the tourists. The guides them with materialism from the outset. And to be conned in the process,
and cooks know to prepare Indian or European food rather than Lada- is to position oneself as further removed from the "real" Ladakh.
khi food, which they say tourists find "a little bit heavy." Tables and Within the serving act, however, tourists do engage in some limited
chairs are often brought along. After the meal the dirty plates and pots self-reflection. On one trek that I joined, the group refilsed to travel with
vanish. When the tourists arrive at the campsite for the night, the a dining table and chairs, and forced the guide to leave it behind in Leh
kitchen and dining tents are pitched, when they wake in the morning because it was "too colonial." This reflection was short-lived. When up011
they are senred tea in bed, and when they set out for the walk they are the trail, at designated campsites, we sat on the floor in our dinning tent
and a couple of fellow tourists lamented leaving the chairs behind.
given snacks and boiled water. Meanwhile, the cook, helper and pony
Another domain in which there seems to be a twinge of guilt from tour-
man eat the leftovers, are not provided with lunch (they must keep
ists, again upon treks, is in regard to the washing up. While in restaurants
walking so as to arrive at the camp before the tourists), and besides hav-
tourists are quite happy that their dirty dishes are dealt with someone out
ing to do the same trek, are expected to prepare everything for the of sight, the problem of dirty plates on treks is more conspicuous. Usually
tourists. on treks there is some effort to help with the washing up-but one
92 A. GILLESPIE Becoming Other 93

encounter with a glacial stream is usually enough to quash any h r t h e r Tipping is another domain in which tourists flex their economic power.
attempts. With surprisingly little reflection, tourists make choices eve~ydayabout
which Ladakhis to reward and which to punish. When asked tourists say
that they tip those who give good service, who are friendly and who look
Ladakhis Serving Tourists like they need it. But those who need tourists' cash enough to tiy and
overcharge, or those who are impolite, are deemed not worthy. From the
Within the serving act, tourists do have much economic power. The are Ladakhi social position this creates a rupture. They want to know: What
" c a d rich" and they can use this to command Ladakhi labor because actions encourage tipping? Unsurprisingly, Ladakhis have elaborated just
Ladakhis are in pursuit of money. It is fair to say that most Ladakhis such knowledge. The trekking guides tell me that saving women who fall
involved in tourism are primarily t~yingto earn an income. In order to do while crossing one of the glacial streams is particularly profitable. We liavc
this effectively, they orient to the interests of tourists. already seen how Tsering was given a pair of Salomon hiking boots as a
One way of getting tourists to part with their cash, is by selling them tip, and this is quite common. In order to promote such tipping several
souvenirs, and Ladakhis and Kashmiris are veiy successful at temping guides deliberately go trekking in gear that seems flimsy-hoping that
tourists with their "antique" wares. From a tourists' point of view, the most tourists will take pity otl them. Ilowever, such behavior is somewhat
eye-catching buildings on Leh's streets are the "art paIaces" and "Kashrnir scorned upon among the guides for it comes close to hegging. None of
handcraft emporiums." With names like "Aladdin's cave," these shops the guides ever opeilly ask for gifts..This is in part becausc due to rules,
spill onto the street Rashmiri carpets (made of silk, wool, or artificial silk), established by trekking agencies, which guides are mcant to follow, and
pashmina shawIs (pashmina is a very expensive textile made from the very partly due to sclf-respect. Rut it also seems, in part, to be a f~~nction of
fine hair found on high altitude goats in Ladakh, but most of the shawls Ladakhis knowlcdge that the best way to get tips ft-om tourists is not to
sold are made of viscose), "ancient" thangka (finely detailed religious ask. Tow-ists scem particulal-ly gcnerous toward Ladakhis who they per-
paintings on silk, often mass produced by child labor in Nepal), antique ceive to be untainted by money, or at least those Ladakhis who they do
Buddha statues (in various metals, plasters, and plastics), "yak bone stat- not feel are trying to get moxiey from them. Whe11rnoncy is involved tour-
ues" (which I have never seen anywllere else in Ladakh) and jewelry (of ists arc likely to feel that the authenticity of the encounter has been cor-
various qualities). In the tourist mind these displays are analogous to the rupted. Accordingly, Ladakhis are in the awkward position of bcing
Venus flytrap and the chant of shopkeepers, "pashmina, gold, ancient rewarded with money for not appearing interestcd in money (i.e., con-
thangka, turquoise," to the sircn's call. They are tempting because they forming to the represcntation of who tourists think Ladakhis should be).
offer the authentic Ladakh neatly packaged for tourist consumption and
identity narration. They are dangerous because in the act of bargaining
Position Exchange?
for these desirables, tourists lack relevant knowledge relative to the sell-
More than either the sightseeing act or the photographing act, there is
Bargaining for antiques, or any other commodity, redresses the balance
evidence for position exchange within the sewing act. The serving act
of power between tourists and Ladakhis. WhiIe tourists have cash, they
occurs across the world. Indeed, many of the tourists who visit Ladakh
lack knowledge. Within bargaining one can see tourists and Ladakhis work in the service indust~y.Eq~ially,tourists are not the only ones to fre-
trade cash against knowledge. And in terms of bargaining strategies, it is quent the restaurants in Leh, Ladakhis also do this. Both Ladakhi chil-
the Ladakhis who have the experience. Dealing with tourists day-in, day- dren and children in high-income countries play at the sel-ving act. All
out, has given them a finely tuned ability to make tourists feel like they are tourists and Ladakhis have been in the social positions of buying and sell-
getting the upper hand. With a skilled shopkeeper the tourist is left feel- ing, of commanding and obeying, of consuming and sei~ling.Position
ing that he or she has impoverished the shopkeeper, regardless of the exchange at this general level is fundamental to the touring act. Both
price paid. With a skilled shopkeeper the tourist, even if paying way over tourists and Ladakhis understand commands; both can command and
the odds, feels a sense of indebtedness, as if the shopkeeper has been par- obey. Both tourists and Ladakhis understand economic exchange; both
ticularly generous. In these interactions, Ladakhis exercise considerable can bargain. In bargaining and as much as orclering something in a res-
skill and agency (Gillespie, in press b). taurant, both parties must coordinate to the perspective of the other, and
94 A. GILLESPIE Becoming Other 95

this is possible because each has, to some extent, been in the social posi- Hasan flexes the power of his position by asking if the shopkeeper
tion of the other. accepts American Express cards. The amusement builds as the shop-
Yet we must not overstate the case. Position exchange within this social keeper tries to sell Hasan a tl~anglrafrom Ladakh. Hasan not only knows
act is again limited. The serving act in Ladakh is quite different from the that it is fake, but he can also understand what the shopkeepers are say-
social acts that tourists, at home in their high-income countries, may have ing to each other about the real value of the tllnngkn. The narrative con-
experienced. Equally, while Ladakhis may frequent restaurants, use taxis, cludes when Hasan casts off the position of tourist, and tells the
buy "fancy goods" and so on, there remains a semantic barrier. Within the
shopkeeper that he too coines from Kashmic Hasan's family uscd to be
serving act they are not positioned by others as tourists, and thus not
traders, and accordingly tlicy had a house in Kashmil; where Hasan was
accorded the symbolic power of tourists. The importance of being identi-
fied as a tourist is illustrated in the follo~vingstory about a Ladakhi being born. It is necessary to emphasize the amusen~entthat the Ladakhi par-
mistaken a for tourist while in India. Ladakhis have facial features that are ticipants expressed upon hearing this stoly. The amusenlent seems to
quite different from the majority of Indians-they look more Tibetan. be hvofold: first they are out smarting thc I<asllmiri sliopkccper, and
Accordingly, when Ladakhis are in Delhi and other parts of India, they second they are accorded the respect and economic power of being a
are sometimes mistaken for tourists from the ~ a East. r tourist. The vety amusement aroused by this stoiy, I suggest, betrays the
rarity with which Ladakhis really experiencc the tourists' position within
Hasan: We went to one of the big shopping complexes in Delbi. the sei-ving act.
There were so many Kashmiri shops. We were getting a Equally, there is little evidence to suggest that tourists ever gct to really
rucksack, a camera, a money bag .... We went to a Kash- experience the social position of 1,aclakhis within the sei-ving act. I only
miri shop, we just went. And we are Ladakhi and they came across one instance in which a tourist was accorded the position of a
thought we were either from Korea, Taiwan, or japan Ladakhi. The incident occurred in a guesthouse and involved a tourist
[laugh]. "Excuse me Sir would you like to see my shop, horn the United States, Emily, who was of Japanese deccnt and thus
please come inside." I said "I just want to know the price became mistakcn for a Ladakhi. Emily had been staying at the guesthouse
of this thangka [a Buddhist painting]," and he said 12,000 for several weeks, was friendly with the family, and strode about the guest-
rupees [everyone laugh]. I said "please, where is this house looking quite at home. One day, while I was in the courtyard with
thangka from?" He said, very seriously, "this thangka is some fellow tourists, two new tourists entered. While they were asking us
from Ladakh!" [everyone laughs]. It was very expensive. whcrc the owner was to be found, Emily emerged from a room besicle
He said "I'll give you a discount." One Kashmiri was say- them, and one of the tourists asked 11e1; in sitnplified English: "clo you
ing to the other, it was worth 9,000 rupees in Kashmiri!
liave any rooms free?" There was a pause before Emily replied, sell-cvi-
[everyone laughs]. "Why don't you come inside." So we
dently annoyed, and affirmed that she was not the person to ask. The sit-
went inside and were sitting there and I told them, "do
you accept American Express card" [everyone laughs] uation was striking for the degree of cmbarrassrnent it generated. We all
"yes I do, but I will show you more things" ... then I asked blushed. At that moment a mis-positioning occurred and, although rare,
him, "which part of Kashmir are you from?'' I said in it was particularly revealing. While Ladakhis are amused to be mistaken
English, and he said "Dal Gate" [laugh] for tourists, Emily was certainly not amused to be mistaken for a Ladakhi.
Thubten: The poorest place! For a brief moment, Emily was, in the eyes of some tourists, a Ladakhi,
Hasan: And, and I said in Kashmiri "I am from Ne-Shat" [a place and her experience was one of shock and resistance. While Hasan and his
in Kashmir] [everyone laugh]. I said this in vulgar colleagues found it amusing to be positioned as tourists, Emily did not
tongue, in Kashmiri, and he was shocked! find it amusing to be positioned as a senrile Ladakhi. This reveals the
power hierarchy that is instituted within the serving act and the social
This amusing story reverses the power hierarchy between Kashrniris positions that tourists and Ladakhis usually occupy vis-2-vis each other.
and Ladakhis, by positioning Hasan as a tourist. Normally, Kashmiris Both the amusement aroused by Hasan's transgression and the shock of
look down upon Ladakhis. However, in this narrative, Hasan is mis- Emily's rnis-positioning indicate that genuine position exchange within
taken for a tourist and called "Sir." The shopkeeper is overly polite, and the senring act is rare.
96 A. GILLESPIE Becoming Other 97

The Self-Narration act such as "we were the only white people there." This surprisingly common
phrase distinguishes its narrator from the masses, and raises the value of
Tourists are repeatedly called upon to narrate their travels. While the account.
abroad, when tourists meet other tourists, they exchange stories, and in so
doing position each other. In cafes and bars across Leh one can hear the
tourists exchange their tales. Back at home, tourists face a home audience The Audience
that requests an account of the trip. Both the audience of tourists and the
home audience extend to the tourist narrator various identities depend- Tourists' tales are usually less exciting I'or the audience than for the
ing to the narrator as dictated by the narrative. In this social act the social narrator. Unfortunately language often fails to convey the excitement,
positions are those of the tourist traveller and their audience. While Lada- authenticity or amusement of a given encountec Moreover, the audience .
khis often feature in these narratives, they are rarely participants in the gains less from these tales than the narrator. While the narrator claims
self-narration act. This social act, then, is different to the sightseeing act, privileged kno~vlcdge(of the story told) and usually tlirorrgli the story
the photogi-aphing act and the serving act because this social act is just claims a privileged position (having had a given experience), the aucli-
between tourists. ence is little rnore than a vehicle for tllc narrator to gain recognition.
Unsurprisingly, there is resistance. Tourists' tales, from the staildpoint of
tllc audience, can appear self-aggrandizing, inflated and pretentious.
The Need to Narrate Tourist narrators, howcvcr, are aware of this, for they too are subjected
to tourist's tales. Accordingly, narrators will orient to the orientation of
Tourism is a form of self-making. Mead wrote that the modern novel their audience. Consider the way in which Levi-Str-aussorients to his read-
resulted in a significant development of the modern self because it ers:
enabled its readers to be socialized into communities from other times
and places. Tourism takes the self-making technology of the novel one Travel and 11-avcllersare hvo things I loathe-and yet here I am, all set to
step further: rather than exploring "novel" social positions, the tourist lit- tell the story of m y expeditions. (1 961, p. 17)
erally leaves his/her habitual social positions behind, and moves out into
the world, taking up, and trying on new social positions. Travelers by This quotation is from the opening sentence in A World on the A'nne, a
crossing mountain passes become explorers, by traveling to remote vil- book in which LCvi-Strauss tells of his travels in Brazil. Levi-Strauss statcs
lages become adventurous, and by having authentic encounters with that it has taken him 15 years to write the book because he lias "been hcld
Ladakhis partake in traditional culture. back by a sort of shame and disgust." To write a book filled wit11 "insipid
However, in order for these new identity positions to become fixed, details" and "incidents of no significance," he fears, xvould place his work
they need to be supported by some persuasive stories (Adler, 1989). This alongside the "travel-books, expeditionary records and photograph-
is because these positions need to be sustained in the gaze of fellow tour- albums" which clutter bookshops. In these remarks LCvi-Strauss is effec-
ists and the home audience. Through narratives, tourists' experiences are tively apologizing for the tale he is about to tell.
transformed into symbolic capital (Bourdieu, 1986). Through narratives
tourists become people in the community who have had such and such an
experience-for example, been up the highest road in the world or had Position Exchange
tea with a Buddhist monk. In the act of narration tourists consummate
their claim to a certain identity position, for every position claimed needs More than any of the social acts we have considered, the self-narration
to be recognized. act involves position exchange. All tourists tell tales, and all tourists have
In order to lay claim to a privileged position, tourists need to differen- heard the tales of fellow tourists. Indeed, many encounters between tour-
tiate themselves from other tourists. The symbolic capital generated ists are little more than the exchange of such narratives. In such
through self-narration risks becoming debased if the target audience sus- exchanges, it is the exchange of position that interests us. Each takes a
pects that the narrative-content is commonplace. Safeguarding against turn, first at basking in the glow of their own narrative, and second at
this, in a preemptive gesture, tourists will often make a sideways remark raising an eyebrow when they hear their interlocutor's narrative.
98 A. GILLESPIE Becoming Other 99

L6vi-Strauss' quotation illustrates, not only an attempt to differentiate The interesting problematic is that there is minimal position exchange
self from other and an attempt to orient to the audience, it also demon- ~vithinthe touring act between tourists and Ladakhis. Of course both
strates position exchange. Although LCvi-Strauss does indeed "loathe" tourists and Ladakhis will have exchanged position within rudimentary
travellers and their "trash-can" memories, he recognizes that he is, unde- social acts, such as givingtreceiving, buying/selling, and speaking/listen-
niably, in the social position of telling a traveler's tale. He has previously ing. Accordingly, we do not expect any break down of intersubjectivity
listened to the "trash-can" memories of other travellers, and now he must within such elementary interactions. But when we deal with more specific
listen to his own. Previously he has been in the social position of the audi- social acts, such as the photographing act, the sightseeing act, and the
ence, now he is in the social position of the narrator. And what we see is sel-riing act, then we realize there is an absence of position exchange.
that he is using his experience of one social position in order to regulate Within these social acts neither has been in the social position of the
his behavior in the other-which is just what we ~vouldexpect on the basis other, yet, for these social acts to proceed, each must orient to the orienta-
of Mead's theory. tion of the other.
Before proceeding to analyze exactly how both tourists and Ladakhis
have managed to take each others' perspectives we need to first map out
CONCLUSION the pci-spcctives of both tourists and Ladakhis. That is we need to know,
what perspectives are there to be takcn, and what perspcctivcs have actu-
In the summer season, a veritable torrent of Ladakhi-tourist interaction aIIy hccn taken. We need to map out how both tourists and Ladakhis see
flows across Ladakh. It is, of course, impossible to characterize each and themselves (the various "me" images) and each othcr (the various "thcy"
every detail of these interactions. Some tourists are in Ladakh for imagcs). This mapping out is done in chapters 5 and 6, and it sets up
research, others to study Buddhism, and still others for bicycling, rafting, chapters 7, 8, and 9 wllich attempt to analy7e exactly how each "me" has
or motor biking. It is inevitable that many diverse forms of interaction arisen by pcrspective taking within the touring act.
have been overlooked. I could add to the above account the trekking act,
the eating act, the lodging act, the greeting act, the polite conversation
act, and so on. However, I would argue, that the four social acts that I
have presented do point us toward the main institutionalized patterns of
interaction within the touring act. Few tourists pass through Ladakh with-
out participating in the sightseeing act, the photography act, the serving
act, o r the self-narration act.
Each of these social acts, then, with its own peculiar social psychologi-
cal logic, is being continually reenacted in Ladakh. Within the logic of
each social act is a disjunction of perspectives, which causes ruptures for
both tourists and Ladakhis. Tourists must get to grips with touring, inau-
thenticity, the reverse gaze, the poiitics of being served, and of position-
ing their own experiences in relation to the experiences of other tourists.
Ladakhis, on the other hand, make sense of tourists' motivations for
sightseeing and taking photographs, with tourists' feedback about their
culture and their hygiene practices and with their economic inferiority.
From our Meadian perspective, these ruptures are expected to stimulate
construction and reconstruction in the semiotic domain. The touring act
is not a Deweyan act in which individuals engage, in isolate, with prob-
lematic object. The touring act is a social act, and there is always more
than one perspective involved. Indeed, the greatest creator of ruptures
within the touring act is the perspective of the other. For the touring act to
proceed, both parties need to orient to the orientation of the other.


It is IIOW time to listen to what is said within the touring act. In the previ-
ous chapter we observed the touring act, simply clescribing tourist-lada-
khi encounters, from our position outside the touring act. Jn the prcserit
chapter, a d the following chaptel; we eriter into the touring act, and tly
to understand it, first from the perspective of totaists (this chaptel-) and
then from the perspective of Ladakhis (chapter 6). Our way into the per-
spcctive of tourists and Ladakhis is through their discourse, through lis-
tening to what they say among themselves.' Our question is simply: What
do tourists say among themselves about themselves and Ladakhis? What
- of "me" and "they" arise in this discourse?
The discourse I am interested in is the discourse that nat~lrallyoccurs
between tourists, in the p~esthouses,bars, and restaurants of Laclakh-or
anywhere else that tourists talk. This discourse, although it is everywhei-e
in Ladakh, is quite dimcult to collect and utilize in an analysis. There are
practical and ethical constraints. Accordingly, I decided to engage tourists
in group discussions, and in this manner to construct quasi-naturalistic
discussions. The PI-esent chapter begins by describing hotv this discourse
was constiucted, and then moves on to attempting to map out this dis-
course. The map is meant to convey, not only the main topics that tourists
discuss, but also the debates, the uncertainties, and tourists' critical self-

Beco?~fingOfhey: A n m Socinl Dltevnction fa Self-Relection, 10 1-125
Copyright 0 2006 by Information Age Publishing
All rights of reproduction in any forin reseived.
102 A. GILLESPIE Becoming Other 103

CONSTRUCTING A CORPUS OF TOURIST DISCOURSE are small groups which reflect the fact that tourists in Ladakh tend to
travel in small groups-couples are particularly common. However, I did
Collecting data is particularly difficult when one does not know what one manage to find three natural groups with more than five members.
is looking for. Normally data collection begins by defining a population, Including age diversity in the corpus proved more difficult, because the
and then drawing a sample from that population. But what if one cannot bulk of tourists in Ladakh are behveen 20 ancl 40. I simply could not find
define the population before hand? This is the problem we are con- any tourists younger than 15 or older than 65. This fact in itself is inter-
fronted with when we try to gather together tourists' discourse on them- esting, when one considers the impression this must make on Ladakhis.
selves and Ladakhis. Our interest here is not individual tourists (sampling When I asked some Ladakhi colleagues about this, they told me they had
tourists would be easy), but with discourses. We know from government never seen either an elderly tourist or a tourist child.
records the population of tourists in Ladakh, but we do not know the pop- Gathering discourse from tourists with diverse nationalities proved t-el-
ulation of discourses. We do not know the range of discussions and atively easy, if onc confines tourist origin to the so-called "developed"
debates that arise between tourists about themselves and Ladakhis. We do ~vorld.In the corpus 13 nationalities are represented, with participants
not know how many topics these debates cover, and we do not know how frotn die United Kingdom, Israel, United States, and Francc bcing most
many different points of view exist on each of these topics. In our case, we cotnmon. No tourists from Latin America, M i c a , or Asia are incluclcd in
do not begin with the answers to these questions, rather we begin wanting the corpus. While I did encounter Asian tourists in IAadakll,nlainly
to answer these questions. Indian, I decided not to include them because the preliminary discussions
Corpus construction is a procedure used to collect data, usually dis- I had with them led me to bclieve that their perspective was distinct from
course, when one does not know beforehand the population from which that of the tom-ists froin the so-called developed world.
one is coilecting data (Bauer & Aarts, 2000). Corpus construction accepts Although tourists in the corpus have diverse nationalities, ages, and
that often "one cannot determine a priori what a representative corpus interests, I arn actually quite struck by the homogeneous nature or these
looks like" (Bauer & Aarts, 2000, p. 29). Corpus construction approaches individuals. The tourists visiting Ladakh are a self-selected group. They
the u~lknownpopulation and tries to build a corpus of data through an have been led to 1,adakh by similar repl-ese~~tations: I-cpt-csentatioas of
iterative process. The idea is that the researcher searches out different tlie Himalaya as spiritual, traditional, exotic, ancl filled with aclventure.
manirestations of the phenomena, and keeps doing so until "saturation" is ivloreovel; a11 share an interest in going off the beaten track and in having
reached. "Saturation is the stopping criterion: one searches for different an unusual holiday. With the risk of generalizing, but in tlie interests of
representations only until the inclusion of new strata no longer adds any- cot~veyiilgsomething about this group, I ~ v o ~ be ~ l inclined
d to describe
thing new" (p. 34). Once the researcher is confident that the diversity of them as well educated professionals, or university students, \vith middle
the phenomena has been exhausted, and that each new instance is famil- class interests and ideas. While India may be cheap by Western standards,
iar, then the researcher has a constructed the corpus. it is not cheap to fly to, and thus we can surmise that these tourists, while
Given the initially amorphous nature of tourists' discourse, I decided to not necessarily wealthy, are certainly not poor.
use the method of corpus construction in order to build up a data set of
tourists' discourse. Accordingly, I sought out diverse groups of tourists, in I
relatively naturalistic settings, and talked to them about diverse topics. Discursive Context
Each discussion was compared to previous discussions, and I continued to
collect discussions until I ceased finding new topics and perspectives. In Tourists were approached in various restaurants, guesthouses, and bars
what follows I detail the construction and composition of the corpus of I in Leh. A natural group was defined as any group sitting togethec The
tourist discourse. procedure was for the moderator1 to enter the establishment, look for a
g m p that fitted the interests of the corpus construction, and then to
approach the group asking if they would participate in a discussion on
The Tourist Participants 1 "changes in Ladakh." I explained a bit about my own background, how I

The corpus comprises 25 group discussions, all in English, with an
1 would use the data collected, and asked whether I could record the con-
versation on audiocassette. No tourist declined to participate ancl they
average of 3.2 tourists in each group (excluding the moderator). These seemed to welcome the distraction.
104 A. GILLESPIE Becoming Other 105

In return for participation I offered to pay for the participants' dinner, rationalize their more "superficial" experience of Ladakh. Howevel;
dessert, beer, or coffee. This offer usually established an informal tone. being aware of this potential effect, I did try to avoid positioning myself as
Food and especially beer proved to be valuable aids in constructing dis- the all-knowing insider, and often played na'ive.
course that closely reflected the type of discourse that normally transpires
when tourists talk. As a matter of fact, tourists seem to spend an inordi-
nate amount of time in Leh's many restaurants and bars -maybe lethargy Topics Covered
induced the altitude makes restaurant seats seem particuIarly inviting.
The discussions lasted from between 1% to 4 hours, and participants In order to stimulate relevant conversation, a topic2 stimulation guicle
seemed to enjoy themselves. On several occasions, dinnertime conversa- was used. In accordance with the tenets of corpus construction, the topic
tions went on past 1 1 o'clock, when the electrical power in Leh was turned guide was not fixed at any point duri~lgtlle research, but was constantly
off, and continued in the dark. Because Leh is a small town, I often met evolving. Nor was tlic topic guide strictly adhered to. In the search for
participants subsequently. Sometimes we played pool together {the pool new arid relevant topics, the discussions were allowed to wander, And
halls have generators, and thus are not in the dark after 11 o'clock), when new and relevant topics were found, they were adcled to lhe topic
sometimes we stayed in the same guesthouses, and sometimes we went stimulation guide. Through this iterative process the topic guide
shopping for souvenirs together. On several instances I joined tourists emerged, not so much as a guide of tourist conversation, but as a rcllec-
that I had met through the discussions on outings and treks, and in a cou- tion of the discussions and debates that tourists, in Ladakh, norr~ially
ple of cases I formed long-term friendships. l~averegarding tourist-Ladakhi encounters.
Despite the "naturalistic" feel of these discussions there were The discussions would normally start with some sort of background fix-
moments when this would break down. Sometimes I was positioned as ing. Participants werc asked about their reasons for traveling, and what
an expert on Ladakh, and questions were directed at me-which serves tliey had done so far and sometillles similar questions were asked of me.
to illustrate the informal nature of the discussions. These questions were Given that the habitual interaction between tourists is based on the
dealt with in one of two ways: either the question was deflected and exchange of ~vell-rehearsedtravel stories, beginning in this way was quite
returned 01; I would answer the question honestly (in an informal man- naturalistic, a~lilwould normally leacl on to other more lrlcvant issues. A
ner) and take account of my input when analyzing the data. The sec- distinction must be made between my interests in these cliscussions-the
ond technique is best employed when topics have been "saturated in topics I wanted to explore-and the questions I asked. The topics I
prior discussions, In such cases, I found that contributing my own tour- wanted to cover were: Tourists perspectives on Ladakh and Ladakl~isand
istic opinions to the discussion contributed to the naturalistic context, tourists perspectives on tourists. And withitl these topics I was particularly
making participants more free to express their own opinions without interested in perspective taking. Howevet; one cannot simply approach
feeling they were being judged. ones' target group and ask them abstract theoretical questions. One must
However, the naturaiistic context was often punctured, and in all but approach ones problematic indirectly. Accordingly, I found myself talking
two discussions there were times when my status as a researcher became to tourists about photography, souvenir shopping, interactions with Lada-
salient. Often this manifested in allusions to my analysis (e.g., "did we khis, memorable experiences, best photographs, biggest surprises,
pass?") or the cassette recorder (e.g., "take that off the record!-(laugh)"). changes in Ladakh, Ladakhis attitude toward tourists, the impact of tour-
The main problem with my presence is that as a researcher I was accorded ism. However, my interests were usually best served by asking indirect and
a position of esteem. Within tourists' jostle for recognition, for having provocative questions, such as: Should they build roads to remote vil-
authentic experiences, and experiencing the "real" Ladakh, my experi- lages? What will you tell your grandchildren about this trip? And, would
ence and knowledge laid claim to a privileged position. On those occa- you like to have been born in a Ladakhi village?
sions when participants learned that I had been to Ladakh several times, The topics on the discussion stimulation guide were not covered in
or in winter, or that I could speak some basic Ladakhi, or had Ladakhi every case, and certainly not in any particular order. The main function of
colleagues in this o r that shop, then I suspect that my participants' object these topics and questions was to stimulate discussion. The tourists I
state as tourists became salient. Reflecting upon what the influence of this encountered were so keen to talk about tourism in Ladakh that they rarely
may have been, I suspect that my presence heightened tourists awareness wandered off topic. Accordingly, I was often able to simply sit back, and
of being tourists, perhaps making them defensive, and feeling the need to let the conversation proceed under its own momentum. Howevel; when
106 A. GILLESPIE Becoming Other 107

tourists did wander off topic, or when the conversation flagged, then I consciousness. Accordingly, our analysis must be directed not toward what
would open up a new topic with a new question. During the course of the is believed, but to the ruptured or uncertain. Our map must deal with the
conversations I freely probed and engaged with the participants. messiness of the reconstruction phase, and capture the ways in which rup-
The criterion employed for ending corpus construction was the some- tured things, from the perspective of the actol; teeter between subjectivity
what vague criterion of "saturation." This criterion is vague, unless one and objectivity.
specifies what becomes saturated. What I experienced was a saturation of In order to constiuct the map, the 52 hours of discourse were con-
basic content, that is, the last few discussions turned u p few new stories or verted into mp3 format, and analyzed in audio using the software pack-
opinions. These naturalistic group discussions were conducted in 2001 age Atlas/ti (Muhr, 199'7).The data was coded initially in terms of what
and 2002, and in subsequent visits to Ladakh and group discussions with tourists said about themselves and about Ladakhis. 'Then within each of
tourists in 2003 and 2005, I heard nothing to make me question this satu- these domains of discourse, distinctions were found. Special attention was
ration. Indeed, I was stiuck by just how similar the discourse I encoun- placed upon identifying the points of debate, and the clash of differing
tered was. perspectives-ruhethcr between groups, behveen individuals, or within a
single indiviclual's utterances. The following sections present a suiritna~-y
oC this analysis.

The tourist corpus comprises 52 hours of quasi-natural discussion and
debate, containing a multiple and often conflicting perspectives on a
range of topics. What criteria do we use to impose some order on the
Most tourists visit Laclakh in 01-cter to experience traditional communities
sheer volume of data? How can it be made manageable, for subsequent
analysis, without doing too much violence to it? We need a map of these remote fi-om so-called rnoclemity. Thus, it is unsurprising that the main
discussions in order to make tourist discourse navigable. conccrn for tourists is to evaluate whether Ladakh, 01- a particular Lada-
Onc way to provide a map would be to categorize contributors in terms khi, is traditional or moclcrn. Tourists' debate, on this topic, focuses upon
of their opinions or attitudes. However, such a map would do consider- how materialist, spiritual, peaceful, authentic, remote and/or content
able violence to the dialogicality of the discourse. The debates within this Ladakhis are. Eviclent across all thcsc debates is an opposition behveen
discourse are not simply between tourists-they are often within individ- the traditional (authentic) Ladakhi and the rnodcrn (corrupted) Ladakhi.
ual tourists. As will become evident, the same tourist often espouses con- Within these debates, the role of tourists is usually confined to luring
tradictory attitudes. Categorizing tourists in terms of their attitudes, Ladakhis away from their "natural" state, and toward modernity. By
would obfuscate these internal debates. bringing money into Ladakh, tourism is seen to foster greed and materi-
Our interest is not in the percentage of tourists who believe this o r that, alism.
but in the debates that characterize tourist discourse-whether between
tourists or within the utterances of one tourist. These debates are our con-
cern because in these debates we see the reconstructive phase of the tour- Are They Materialist?
ing act as described by Dewey and Mead. It is in these debates that we
find what is ruptured within the touring act. Tourists commonly presume that traditional Ladakhis are not con-
cerned with material possessions. Ladakhis are described as having
If all were clear, undilemmatic and utterly consistent for the members of a "eve~ythingthey need," living a "simple life," being "content" and "self-
society, there would be nothing for them to argue about, and thereby noth- sufficient." Yet at other times, this widely accepted image is problematized
ing about which to deliberate. (Billig, 199 I , pp. 7 1-72) by the image of a Ladakhi who is desirous of all things modern. Thus it
becomes a topic for debate. In the following exchange, a group of tourists
One motivation for people talk to each other, and debate, is because are eating their dinner in a Nepalese-owned restaurant, and they are won-
they are unsure of their attitudes and opinions. It is this uncertainty that dering why so many of the restaurants in Lell are owned and run by
we want to map out, for this uncertainty is the domain of self-reflective Nepalese people:
108 A. GILLESPIE Becoming Other 109

David: Here all the [Nepalese-owned] restaurants are quite new, expectation that Ladakh is a spiritual place and the problematic percep-
aren't they? [Orienting to AG] tion of many young Ladakhis who carry no overt symbols of their spiritu-
Ray: But the Ladakhis, they don't learn from them, they don't say ality.
"I don't have money, so I could do this as well?" In trying to patch up this rupture, most tourists appeal to the changes
Louise: But, do they actually want money? being introduced by tourists, and modernization. However, some tourists
Ray: Of course they want money dismiss the expectation that Ladakh should be, or ever was, more spiri-
Louise: But we just said that they are happy being farmers tual than the Mkst. Consider the following excerpt, from another univer-
Ray: But at the end of the day, like every culture that has been sity student-one who had done a course on the sociology of religion:
exposed to money, slowly, slowly became-
Louise: Materialistic I have been put off that whole spiritnal thing at uni. [university], most of our
Ray: Yeah, materialistic, corrupted lectures were like "don't ever get it into your head that these people are
morc spiritual than anyonc clsc"
In this exchange it is assumed that Ladakhis do not have money, and
This topic here the is the degree of spirituality in 1,adakh. This tourist
are not learning. Debate arises between the earlier assertion that Lada-
takes a I-elativist attitude. Hc rejccts using this evaluative dimension to
khis "are happy being farmers" and the idea that they are becoming
apply to whole populations, and makes the q~iestionredundant by posi-
"materialistic" and "corrrrpted." The domain that opens up for discussion
tioning evelyone as equally spiritual. Thus while some tourists are
is between the two poles of a traditional-modern dimension. This excerpt
engaged in debating the degree of Ladakh's spirituality, there is also
conveys the widespread assumption that Jhdakhis, "like every culture that
some i-oom to debate the very existence of this evaluative dimension.
has been exposed to money," are moving from the "happy" traditional
pole to the "corrupted" modern pole. The souire of this corruption is not
so much the apple of knowledge but money, and money is associated with
tourism. Sitting in the Nepalese restaurant, paying inflated prices for Are They Peaceful?
burgers and burritos, these tourists are impIicitly implicating themselves
in this process of "corruption." Related to the idea of I,adakh as spil-itual is the idea that Ladakhis are
"peaceful," "nonviolent" and "vegetarian." Ladakh, as mentioned, is
closely linked within tourist discourse to Tibet. Tourists often talk about
Are They Spiritual? the Dalai Lama, and the Tibctans' remarkably pcacclril struggle against
the Chinese occr~pationof Tibet. Tourists expect to witness something of
The cover of the Lonely Planet guide Indian Himalaya (Mayhew, Plun- this spiritual pacifism while in Ladakh, and when Ladakh does not meet
kett, Coxall, Saxton, & Greenway, 2000) describes the Himalaya as "the this expectation, a discursive space for elaboration and 1-econstruction
abode of the gods," and spirituality is certainly a prominent expectation opens up. The importance of this expectation to tourists has given rise to
among tourists. Ladakh is overtly advertised as being Buddhist, and often a particular genre of scandalous stories among disappointed tourists. The
referred to as "Little Tibet." Carrying fonvard this representation one follo~vingquotation is fsom an A~~stralian ~vhohad spent a month living
English university student said, "the West is far more focused on the and working in a Ladakhi farmhouse:
material things, far more, here everything is more about spirituaI things."
In such utterances, the traditional-modern dimension opposes a material- W1at amazed me, ine~ne-Ee[Ladakhi for grandfather] was such a devout man,
like he would spend ages spinning his prayer wheel, saying his prayers,
ist West to a spiritual Ladakh. One common debate among tourists is the being so peaceful and placid, giving the kids lollies, but as soon as a goat
extent to which a given Ladakhi, or indeed Ladakhis in general, are "still" ran into the house, he turned, he "warghhh, ahhrghh" and he would throlv
spiritual. This relates to the above debate about Ladakhis becoming "cor- sticks at it as hard as he could aiming specifically at the animal rather than
rupted." Tourists want to know the extent to which the younger genera- scaring it.
tion are engaged in the traditional religious practices, whether these
practices are dying out, or whether they are being perpetuated only for Here the topic concerns a typical traditional old Ladakhi man who
the sake of tourism. Such debate suggests a rupture between the tourists' seems to conform to the tourist's idealized representation of a spiritual
1 10 A. GILLESPIE Becoming Other 11 1

Ladakhi Buddhist, yet when a goat comes into the house he "turns," graph an "old man who has been like that all his life" and who thus has
becomes aggressive, and attacks the goat with sticks. This story is worth 'L.
integrity." This is, after all, one of the expectations that led Peter to
telling because the expectation among tourists is that traditional, and travel to Ladakl~.
especially "devout" Ladakhis, are peaceful. At a later point in the discus- One can, perhaps, sense uncertainty in Peters utterance, as if he is
sion, the tourist suggested that this man's behavior may have been due to
aware of an alternative point of view. And indeed there is. I11 contrast to
the changes wrought by modernization, thus reaff~rmingthe more com-
this widely espoused perspective, tourists often voice a more reflcctive
fortable expectation that Ladakhis are "naturally" peaceful, and that it is
stance. In the following exchange, for example, a Swiss woman replies
modernity, propagated by tourism, which is "corrupting"' them. Again we
see how ruptured expectations cause debate along a traditional-modern with irony to her husband who, like Petel; is saddened by the changes in
dimension, with tourists explaining away the lack of tradition in terms of Ladakh:
the encroachment of the modern.
Karl: It is for me a bit sad [the loss of cultul-el
Frieda: I like the traditional clothes, and here I have the feeling
Are They Being Authentic? that it is getting less, the young people have clothes like
mc, but I am a tourist! I say, "Oooh! No good!"
Tourists are very concerned to classify Ladakhis as either traditional
(i.e., preserving their culture) or desirous of being modern (i.e., imitating Frieda questions her right to See1 that Ladakhis should preserve their
tourists and covetous of tourist money). Such a distinction is useful for c~rlttlrc,and particularly that she is entitled to tell Ladakhis that a failui-e
tourists. They want to encounter the former and avoid the latter. They to do so is, "no good!" Notice, liowe-vcr, that Frieda does not question
have invested time and money to travel to Ladakh in part to encounter whether Ladakhis are loosing thcir culture-tliis is assumed. She affirms
traditional, not modern, people. Accordingly, tourists tend to privilege that Ladakhis are moving from being traditional to being modem, but
traditional Ladakhis, while generally scorning those who are modern. In atterrlpts to deny the evaluative aspect of this dimension. Her point is that
the following excerpt, I am asking an Australian why he photographs the it is not her right, or the right of any tourist, to judge this loss of tradition
traditional but not the modern Ladakhis. Initially he says that he does so and cultui-e. There was only one tourist, a middle aged Australian, and
because they are "more different": seasoned backpacker, who actually disnlissed the idea that Ladakhis are
loosing their culture. He argued that the idea of Ladakhis losing their cul-
AG: Is the only reason difference? tul-e is "pretty silly" because "ct~ltiu-esaren't frozen in time" and therefore
Peter: Maybe I see more integrity in an old person wearing old not something that can be lost. Rathel; they can only ever be subject to
clothes change.
AG: More integrity?
Peter: [Cough & pause] I think when I see young Ladakhis in Western
clothes who are imitating Western people, I'm not sure if they Goat Herder or Lizardman?
know what they are at, how tiue to themselves, their culture
and their family they are being, whereas say an old man who The debates about materialism, spirituality, pacifism, and
has been like that all his life and is still maintaining his ways authenticity-all can be characterized as operating upon an evaluative
has more integrity dimension between traditional and modern. They belong together in the
sense that tourists expect a traditional Ladakhi to be nonmaterialist,
Questioning tourists about why they photograph traditional-looking spiritual, peaceful, and authentic. The problem is that this expectation is
Ladakhis invariably causes some discomfort. Peter in responding to this often ruptured by tourists' encountering modern Ladakhis who are seen
question, must justify his behavior. He does so by differentiating Ladakhis to be materialist, unspiritual, or even violent and/or lacking in
according to the degree of maintenance of traditional ways of life, and authenticity. Thus we can see the tradition-modern discourse in terms of
emphasis is placed on "integrity" versus a Western modernity estranged tourists' goals and interests in Ladakh. Tourists have traveled to Ladakh
from the fortifying Iocal culture. Peter is saying that he wants to photo- expecting to find tradition and culture, and accordingly, they have a
112 A. GILLESPIE Becoming Other 1 13

knowledge that enables them to organize this project by distinguishing The image, at the opposite pole of the tradition-modern discourse,
traditional Ladakhis from modern Ladakhis. which objectifies the modern Ladakhi, is that of the lizardman. The
Let us look beneath the surface of this discourse, to the iconic cores image pertains to young Ladakhis who wear bright colored skintight t-
that sustain it. I am referring here to what Moscovici (1984) has called shirts and jet-black wrap-around sunglasses, thus looking like a lizard.
objectification. That is, how is this discourse made concrete? What images Although I only h e a d a handful of tourists use the term lizardinan, all
make the abstract ideas of "tradition" and "modern" concrete and irnagin- tourists recognize to what the term refers. It refers to usually young and
able? I am referring here not necessarily to the most commonly invoked male Ladakhis who are seen to pester tourists in various ways. These are
images, but rather to those images that seem to have the most meaning Ladakhis who do not wear traditional dress and who arc engaged in the
within the representational field. I wish to suggest that the traditional- tourist business-often in suspect ways. Alternative ternls that I heard
modern evaluative dimension is objectified, usually in an implicit way, in tourists use incli~de "sharks," "touts," "stammers," "cl~ancers," and
an opposition between the image of a "goat herder" and that of a "lizard- "harvkers." 'Taken togethel; this image-complex evokes feclings of rxloney-
man." These are the root images through which tourists actually experi- crazed Ladakhis who are out of kilter with their o~7nculture. These Lada-
ence Ladakhis. khis are aberrations produced by tourism and globalization.
I use the image of the goat herder to summarize a complex of images The image of the "lizardman" conclcnscs a whole theo~yof the psychol-
that tourists use to portray o r objectifjr traditional life. The image of ogy of Ladakhis. Tourists travel to Ladakh with the expectation of finding
Ladakhis tending animals is surprisingly common. It appears repeatedly nonmaterialist spiritual Buddhists. Howevel; in Lell they are confionted
in postcards of Ladakh and in the guidebooks. This bucolic image need by persisterit souvenir sellers and determined gxiesthouse owners-who
not involve animals-for example, several tourists invoked the camarade- certainly do not appear to be motivated by nonmaterialist interests. Such
rie of "the women working in the fields." But in all instances a sense of Ladakhis challenge tourists' expcctations. The image of the "lizai-dman"
natural order is conveyed: daily routines; of timelessness; community
is not merely a tool Tor categorizing these "rvayvat-cl" Ladakllis, it also
involvement; and hard but honest hearty work. The defining feature of explains what has happened to them. Money and modern commodities,
this image, then, is a feeling of stability, sustainability, and aligned with
both introduced by tourists, have opened the eycs of innocent 1,adakhis to
this, a lack of violence o r intrusion. The life thus objectified has a stable the many temptations of modernity, provoking them to stray from their
and timeless quality. If it could be unsullied by external influence, one has own culture. These "lizardmen" are described as idealizing thc West and
the feeling that this pattern of life would continue unchanging for the rest striving for all that is modern, while rejecting their O\VII culture. I11 01-cler
of time. The image is peaceful. Accordingly, the juxtaposition with the to feed this desire for modern commodities, the trope goes, these lizarcl-
intrusion of modernity is seen to be all the more dramatic. The following men have becomc manipulative and devious-as one tourist put it, "likc a
comment was made by an Israeli, while narrating his road-trip up to fox.?'
The traditional-modern evaluative dimension, objectified in the oppo-
When we were in Kelong, there were goats, people moving with the goats, sition between the images of the goat herder and the lizardman, is a pow-
and you see the simple people who live here for ten thousand years, or erful explanatoiy device for tourists. By using it, tourists can interpret
maybe, I don't know for Ladakh, then comes a truck, and "beep beep beep their experience of Ladakhis accorcling to their own interests. Any Lada-
bee," and it doesn't make sense, it's a conflict, you see the truck and the sim- khi who is not as traditional as expected can be explained away as being a
ple man with his goats, it doesn't go together, it's bad. modern Ladakhi. As such, this evaluative dimension is almost impervious
to experiential refutation. Nevertheless, the ditnension does receive cri-
The rustic goat herder is portrayed as being under siege by an intru- tique from tourists. Tourists suspect that the tradition-modern discourse
sive, noisy, and polluting modernity. In the natural order the goat herder romanticises Ladakh.
does not even lead the goats. Instead, the goat herder is simply "moving
with the goats." They form a harmonious unit, which has been stable for
"ten thousand years." This balance is disturbed by modernity, as accentu- SHOULD LADAKHIS ENGAGE I N DEVELOPMENT?
ated by the image and sound of the truck: "beep beep beep bee." This
intrusion is portrayed as an unnatural violation-"it doesn't go together, Tourists worly about whether it is simply the case that evelything tradi-
it's bad." tional in Ladakll is good and everything modern is bad. They critically
114 A. GILLESPIE Becoming Other 115

reflect that, while they may personally value the traditional aspects of Brian: I just think its better if you grow food yourself and eat it
Ladakh, Ladakhis may benefit from, and wish for modern conveniences. rather than do sornetlling unrelated, and it all becomes
When tourists begin to question, in this way, they are invoking a new eval- very artificial, pushing bits of paper to make things fit
uative dimension, which I will call the developed-undeveloped dimen- together
sion. Jason: I agree, I think a world without indiistrializatio~lwould be
In the developed-undeveloped dimension, the developed pole is privi- much bette~;much bettel; but medical care makes a big dif-
leged over the undeveloped, which creates a conflict with the traditional- ference, and the security, I mean I would not want to go
modern dimension. According to the developed-undeveloped dimension, back to a lifestylewhere one bad winter and half the village
it is argued that undeveloped (traditional) societies are not perfect and starves, but its a much better lifestyle than where the whole
that there are important improvements that can be achieved by develop- village working in factories
ment (becoming modern). At the developed pole stand education, bio- Robert: Which is lull by a single rich person
medicine, and hospitals while the undeveloped pole represents poverty, Linda: In the villages I had people stop me for dirigs ... the vil-
ignorance, famine, and illness. This universe of discourse privileges the lages want bctter medical care, they rcally do, so all West-
project of modernization, and thus reverses the evaluation contained in ern things are not bad
the traditional-modern discourse. Within this developed-undeveloped
discourse, development, far from being a source of moral corruption, Linda is an English doctor-. She defends the benefits of moclcrn medi-
offers salvation. Thus, while tourists may scorn Ladakhis for becoming cine against Brian who a r p c s that modern lifestyles are "artificial." While
modern, there is also an accepted argument which recognizes the possible Briar] is criticizing alienation in the Wcst, Linda is making the case that
h i t s of development and Ladakhis right to have development, if they "all Western things are not bad" and shc gives the examplc of medical
want it. care. jason agrees with both Linda and Brian. He says that "a world with-
out industrialization would be much better" but adds, that "medical care
makes a big diEcrence." Brian is using the tradition-modern evaluative
How Ideal is Traditional Life? dimension, while Linda is using rhe developed-undeveloped dimension.
Hence, they pl-oduce different evaluations. Most tourists I spoke to resem-
The discourse of developed-undeveloped is usually invoked as a means bled Jason in this exchange, using both evaluative ditncnsions side-by-
of stalling unquestioning romanticism of Ladakh, which the tradition- side, despite the apparent contradictions.
modern discourse tends toward. In the following excerpt, we can see these 14711ile the tradition-modern dimension has strong emotional appeal to
bvo discourses clash. The six participants are from diverse countries, and tourists, it is rarely expressed without either tlie speaker acknowleclgitlg
have just finished a trck together. The topic is development, and previ- their reservations, or others raising challenges. *rourists are quite critical
ously I had asked the group whether they would be happy to exchange of this dimension, like Linda, using the developed-unde~elopeddimen-
their lives for that of a Ladakhi villager. Linda, and another woman sion in order to criticize idealizations of traditional Ladakhi life. As one
Hazel, indicated that they would not, and then the conversation began to tourist, speaking on behalf of the group, summarized: "it's easy to roman-
digress. In an attempt to get the conversation back on track, and include ticise." This dialogical tension between enjoying a romantic perspective
the rest of the group, I rephrase my question: on Ladakh and a reflective concern to avoid na'ive romanticization stimu-
lates much discussion in the bars and restaurants of Ladakh.
AG: But none of you would exchange your life for a [Ladakhi]
Jason: I'm not sure. 1don't think I would be happy in any lifestyle To Preserve or Not to Preserve?
Brian: I would be happy to live in a world untouched by the
industrial revolution. It's a more honest way of life The debate between the developed-undeveloped and traditional-mod-
Linda: So am I dishonest in my job then, my job is not money ori- ern evaluative dimensions repeatedly recurs in tourist discourse because it
ented at all, I work in the NHS [the UK's National Health lies at the heart of a question that most tourists ask themselves when in
Seivice] Ladakh, namely, what should Ladakhis do? Where should their future
Becoming Other 1 17

path of action lead? More specifically, should they close themselves off does not differentiate between Ladakhis (as the tradition-modern dimen-
from modernity, and hide themselves in the Himalaya like a modern-day sion does), but it differentiates tourists from Ladakhis. The positions
Shangri-La or should they pursue modernity? Should they follow the lead within this discourse are relatively fixed: Ladakh is undeveloped, ~vhile
of Bhutan, and enforce cultural traditions, or should Ladakhis be allowed tourists come from developed countries. Thus the problem for tourists
to do as they wish--even if that means abandoning their cultural tradi- rvho invoke this discourse is that they risk positioning themselves as out-
tions? dated racists or colonialists.
All tourists say, with little hesitation, that Ladakhis "should preserve Given the resonances of the developed-undeveloped discourse, it is not
their culture." However, exactly what this means is contentious. Does this surprising that whenever tourists do invoke this discoursc, they do not
imply that Ladakhis should not have television, or access to education or load it with thc same sense of moral failure that is evident in the tradition-
biomedicine? Tourists feel that to deny Ladakhis the benefits of elecrric- modern discourse. While lizardmen are seen as morally corrupt, as is the
ity, running water, a cash economy and health care which tourists them- modernity that poisoned them, being undeveloped ncvcr carries this
selves enjoy would be perverse. It would turn Ladakh into a museum or moral weight. To be undeveloped is merely u~lfortunatc.Becoming mod-
zoo. The question that troubles tourists is: Who is to say that Ladakhis do ern indicales a subinissinn to temptation, while hcing undeveloped sim-
not have a right to the benefits of development? ply means a lack of access to various resources. Tbus while tourists may
This debate sometimes arises within the perspective oEa single individ- concede that the West has more development, more wealth and ~~~~~~a-
ual, as in the following, "I feel both ways, 1 would love them to be a str~icture,they will frmly insist that this does not imply superiority.
museum, but I feel bad about it (pause) I can't make that decision for peo-
ple." In this utterance we see the dialogical coexistence of both evaluative
dimensions. On the one hand, the tourist desires that Ladakh wiIl remain TRAVELERS AND TOURIST DUPES
traditional (and not become modern), while on the other hand, he wishes
them to make their own choices. It is implied that this will lead to devel- It took me 2 years of research to realize that most tourists in Ladakh are
opment. All of the tourists who I spoke to espoused democratic principles quite similar to me. Initially, I sought out the prototypical tourist-one
on this issue, declaring that it is up to the Ladakhis to decide about their who would be na'i\le and unrcflcctive. Hotvevel; far fiorn conl-orming to
own future. Yet believing that Ladakhis will choose development, puts this paradigm, most tourists I met expressed quite reasonable resei-vations
tourists in a bind, for the lament the loss of Ladalh's culture. about tourism and their own role within it. Nonetheless, they told me
about other tourists who were indeed naive, and so, oncc again, I strolled
the streets of Leh seeking out these "ubiquitous" tourist dupes. Only after
An Awkward Discourse speaking to a l~uildl-edtourists or so, none of whom could be described as
"naike" and almost all of whom reiterated these tales of the naive, did I
Research on postcolonialism has tended to focus only upon the colo- come to realize that no such bciilg exists. Rathel; this phantasm is always
nised. But postcoloniaIism has implications for the people of the coloniz- in the position of other-never self. This phantasm is propagated in the
ing nations too. Tourists in Ladakh, for example, are cautious about mass media and in the literature on tourism. It facilitates a self-satisfied
voicing any colonial attitudes, or presenting themselves as superior to smugness, positioning self in a positive manner, not as a tourist, but as a
Ladakhis. In the presence of me and my tape recorder, tourists certainly traveler. To characterize tourists as people who thrust their cameras into
intended to appear postcolonial, post-Orientalist, and antiracist. In one Ladakhis' faces, buy fake souvenirs and make unreasonable demands of
discussion, about development, I mentioned that Ladakhis often refer to their Ladakhi hosts, while remaining ignorant of local culture and custotn
themselves as "backward." An Australian responded: "I think we are more is a comforting analysis, as it ensures that self is far from being one of those
backward, we have lost touch with living, like, we could not sustain our- atvf~~ltourists.
selves [without technology]." He then proceeded to describe how the In hindsight it is not surprising that I was unable to find any tourist
aborigines managed to survive in the desert, in a way which "we," without dupes. Tourists are not a breed apart. They are ordina~ypeople who have
the help of technology, could not. gone on holiday. Indeed, they share much with the average social science
Tourists feel discomfort when using the developed-undeveloped dis- researcher. They tend to be relatively highly educated, middle class peo-
course. One of the problems, for tourists, with this dimension is that it ple with an interest in experienciag the variety of global cultures. Before
1 1 8 A. GILLESPIE Becoming Other 119

departing, they may well have discussed -with empathy-the living con- meet in Ladakh will be clasping a copy of Indian Hinaalayn. Accordingly,
ditions in the developing world, and will, no doubt, have taken a princi- the guide is not for "eve~y"travelel; rather it is for "any" traveler, who, we
pied stance on issues of child labor and globalization. They may have might add, is bold enough to travel to Ladakh. Moreo\rel; such a bold
lamented the adverse impacts of tourism upon traditional cultures and traveler would not use a guidebook-they would have a ompa pan ion."
the environment. To go on holiday does not deprive us of our critical fac- The representation of the tralrelel-,as one who gcts off the beaten track,
ulties (Franklin & Crang, 2001; MacCannell, 2001). Yet the representa- is perpet~~ated within the I ? ~ d i Hilnal~ya
~n guidebook. Ladakh is described
tion of the camera touting tourist dupe is widespread. as "one of India's most remote regions" and within 1,adakh choice loca-
The image of the tourist dupe is part of a traveler-tourist evaluative tions are advertised as being "least visited" and "isolated" (Mayhew et al.,
discourse. At the denigrated end of this dimension we find the tourist, or 2000, p. 201). On the other hand, there is little doubt about the guide-
more precisely, the tourist dupe. The image of tourist dupe is objectified book's view of Hemis gon~pa:"Now it is one of tlic most accessible (45krn
in two main ways. On the one hand, there is the wealthy package tourist, fi-om Leh), famous and, thel-eCot.e, most popular and touristy gon1pas
who lives behind a prosthetic filter-the camera. On the other hand, around." Accessibility has exposed Hemis to tourists, and thus it has
there is the young boisterous hashish-smoking and partying tourist who is become "touristy." Hemis, it seems, is not a p l a ~ efor travelers.
in India only because it is cheap. Both types are described as insensitive to When the Lonely l'lanet guide Ivdian Hz?rzaInycr uses the term tourists,
Ladakh, as wearing offensive dress, "skimpy tops" and "shorts" which are it principally refers to the readers of other guidebooks. Yet other guide-
"totally inappropriate." One of the main features of the tourist dupe is his books, like Tile Rozcglt Gzlide to India do the same. So what guidebooks arc
or her remove from Ladakh: objectified by either the camera or the haze the tourist dupes using? Wllicl~guidebooks promise to show their readcrs
of hashish smoke that comcs between the tourist dupe and the "real" "the beaten track?" Indeed, where is "the beaten track?" If thc most pop-
Ladakh. ular guidebooks (i.e., the Lonely Planet and the Rough Guidc) pt-omise to
The traveler, however, is an insider to Ladakhi life and customs and take their readers "off the beaten track" it follows that this IS "the beaten
lives as closely as possible to the Ladakhi ~vaysof life. The traveler is often track." We are dealing with paradox that runs througt~outbackpacker
a long-stay tourist who makes a concerted effort to understand Ladakhi tourism: thc tourist is always somconc else.
culture and above all, is respectful of Ladakhis. We have aIready seen how Thc paradox is particularly evident when one looks at the editorial to
some tourists take relativist stances regarding the spirituality or material- Indian Himalaya, because it tries to reconcile the spectacular popularity
ism of Ladakhis, and how they wish to avoid romanticizing Ladakh. One of the Lonely Planet series with their "traveler" audience. The editorial
possible reason for this is that travelers do not wish to appear duped by
begills with a stoiy about Tony and Mauleel1 M'l~eelel;who traveled over-
an illusion, and thus they are tripping over themselves to be more critical
land from Europe to A~~stralia in 1972. Given that "useful information
and more reflective than any other tourist. At the extreme, this leads to
about the overland trail did not exist" Tony and Maureen decided to write
the perspective of the posttraveler. The posttraveler, as we will see,
the first Lonely Planet guidebook. Since then, "Lonely Planet has become
embraces being a tourist with the addition of self-mockery.
the la1-gest indepel~denttravel publisher in the ~vorlc1"-with over 600
titles in English and covering evely corller of the planet. Obviously much
has changed, but the editorial writes, "some things haven't changed. The
Getting off the Beaten Track?
main aim is still to help make it possible for adventurous travelers to get
out there."
Getting off the beaten track is a well established ideal for the majority
Tourists, just like Lonely Planet Publications Pty. Ltd, want to be posi-
of tourists in Ladakh. Consider the two most popular guidebooks that
tioned as adventurous travelers. They too want to keep their distance
cover Ladakh, printed by the Lonely Planet and the Rough Guide. The
from tourists, and all things "touristy." Collsider the following excerpt in
striking commonality between these is that they both address
lvhich an Israeli man is ttying to position himself as a traveler:
"travelers"-not tourists. For example, the Lonely Planet guide Indian
Himalaya describes itseIf, on the back cover, as "an essential companion There are tivo sorts of foreigners who Come here, there is people who come
for any traveler." To say that it is an essential guidebook for every here just for holidays, and here it's a'wry ~1-p place, they can spend one
"tourist," would be a marketing blunder. Indeed, the choice of words is month, go back to their country and say "I was in Ladakh and it was very
quite precise. Travelers do not want to think that every foreigner they beautif111 and I had a good time," but for me its not the same, I came to
120 A. GILLESPIE Becoming Other 12 1

India with not much money, a lot of time I buy vegetables in the market, I imagination concerning the impact of tourism on Ladakl~is objectified in
don't go to the restaurants, so for me I try to know the place and the people. this encounter. There is a degree of natural justice in the narrative, for the
tourist photographer does not get a genuine photograph, she only gets "a
I met this Israeli man and his companions in Amdo Foods, a Tibetan fake smile." The inauthenticity of tourists' experiences is a recurring
restaurant in Leh. He was eating stir-fried noodles and drinking Coca- motif for the tourist dupe (see Taylor, 2001). Tourist dupes only ever have
Cola. In this excerpt there is a clear opposition between tourists who tour touristic experiences, they do not experience "the real Ladakh." In the
Ladakh "ust for holidays" and those who, like him, "try to know the place above excerpt one can clearly see Tony and Travis scorning both the
and the people." By claiming not to have much money, and to buy vegeta- intrusiveness of the tourist photographer and the inauthentic outcome. It
bles in the market, this Israeli man is asserting that his experience is of is implied that neither Tony nor Travis would engage in such a practice.
the real Ladakh and the real Ladakhis. Tourists who come "just for holi- Tony and Travis are in no way unusual. Not one tourist who I spokc to in
days" do not gain the depth of experience of a traveler who has sought to Ladakh maintained that the taking photographs of Ladakhis was uaprob-
understand the place and its people. lematic. In fact, tourists expend far more energy deriding photography
than defending it. Yet, this derision is precarious, for most tourists do in
fact take photographs of Ladakhi peoplc.
Photography and the Fake Smile

The tourist dupe stays close to the beaten path, travels in comfort and The Posttraveler Tourist
is generally imagined to be far removed from Ladakh itself. These tourists
are described as living in a "tourist bubble." They move from tourist The lengths to which tourists, or rather travelers, will go in order to
hotel, to tourist restaurant, to tourist souvenir shop, and, it is said, never establish thcir position as travelers-to claim "me-as-traveler3'-has itself
see "the real Ladakh." In many ways the image of the tourist photogra- become a topic of discussion among some tourists. Even while jostling for
pher objectifies this representation of the tourist dupe. Taking a photo- the position of traveler, tourists reflect upon this activity and undermine
graph, especially of Ladakhi people, is seen to be shallow, artificial, and it. Consider the following exchange I had with a particularly reflective
objectifying. The following excerpt, from a discussion I had with two group. Tourists claiming to be travelers are the topic of conversation:
backpackers, illustrates this iconic core:
Bob: I remember reading in, you know, "The Beach," you know
Travis: One of the worst and most degrading things that I saw, the the book, and when he said "where have you been? Europe
other day, was an old guy, and some tourists said "can you is not included," and that just, that is just typical
pose for a photo for us?" and he was like "yeah, I'm having Pierre: I don't like this kind of reaction
a break why not" and so the girl like went up and said "can AG: Typical of what?
you hold your prayer wheel like this, and hold your mala Bob: Typical of Western tour-, of like travelers
[prayer beads] up," she basically made him pose, and he Matt: Yeah, travelers,
sort of put a fake smile on, and she took the photo, and Pierre: (Yeah, travelers) you know, "I went in '85 to Kathmandu,
then he relaxed again oh! great, great, I went also to Ho Chi Minh, and, yeah,
Tony: That is so pointless three years ago I was in Buenos Aires in Argentina, yeah,
Travis: I just felt bad for him aaurv, great, great, yeah the tango, the tango on the [place
name inaudible], and nobody goes there, and oh!, and you,
Travis narrates "some tourist" as getting an elderly Ladakhi man to where did you go?" [pause] "To London?" [Everyone
"pose" so that she could take a photograph. The photographer is por- laughs]
trayed as taking something, a picture, and giving only inconvenience and
disrespect in return. The tourist is intervening in Ladakh and disturbing In this excerpt the attitude of "travelers" is caricat~iredand parodied.
the natural order. The elderly Ladakhi man is relaxing, and the tourist The scorn that travelers have for tourists who choose to visit destinations
asks him to adopt an inconvenient and unfamiliar pose. Much of tourists' in Europe, rather than traveling to more exotic locations is itself ridiculed
122 A. GILLESPIE Becoming Other 123

and scorned. Bob, Matt, and Pierre, by reflecting upon tourists' claim to a
"traveler" identity, can be seen to be trying to escape the tourist-traveler
evaluative dimension. They seem, instead, to be claiming a posttraveler
The above excerpt comes close to illustrating what Feifer (1985) has
described as the posttourist orientation. Posttourists embrace typical tour-
ist practices in the spirit of self-mockery. These tourists, rather than trying
to differentiate themselves from typical tourists, simply embrace tourism,
but do so knowingly. Paradoxically, by enacting the stereotyped behaviors
associated with the tourist dupe, they escape such positioning. This is pri-
marily because they do so self-consciousIy, and thus are not nalve (naivety
being a defining attribute of the tourist dupe). On several occasions I
came across this positioning strategy among tourists. For example, return-
ing to the group discussed above,-when E asked them "what souvenirs
have you bought?" the group laughed, and Matt said, "the usual!"
Although some tourists, do, at times, position themselves as "me-as-a-
tourist-dupe,'' this self-categorization does not actually constitute them as
tourist dupes. l'aradoxically, claiming to be a touiist dupe positions self as Figure 5.1. Tourists' discourse about tourists and Ladakhis.
a posttourist. The reason for this is that the typical tourist is meant to be
na'ive. The tourist who knowingly enacts the stereotype cannot be sions. Thus, we scc that tourists generally evaluate each otlier rising the
described as such and is thus defined in opposition to the tourist dupe. tourist-traveler dimension, though a posttourist position lies outside o f
The tourist dupe is naive, the posttourist is not. While the typical tourist is this dirnension. The Batmanesque explosion indicates that the clash
portrayed as ignorant, especially with regards to photography, the post- behveen the traveler-tourist discnurse and the posttourist discourse is
tourist wouId never openly claim to be ignorant or rude. Thus we still
stimulates much debate. On the there are two distinct evaluative dimcn-
have a situation where the social position that is most talked about,
sions: the developed-undeveloped dilllension and the more pronlincnt
namely that of the typical tourist, is one that is almost never identified
traditional-modern dimension. Recausc these two discourses, or dimen-
with (or if so only briefly), and the majority of the time it is used to talk
about other tourists. sions, entail opposing evaluations of Ladakh, much debate occurs
between these dimensions.
Looking at this map, it becomes clear that it is difficult to partition the
MAPPING "ME" AND "THEY" POSITIONS discourses between tourists and Ladakhis. While Ladakhis are not associ-
ated with any of the positions used to describe tourists (i.e., tourist, trav-
Tourist discourse does contain many points of view, and it is filled with eler, or posttourist), tourists are intricately associated with the Ladakhi
internal debate. But, within this swirl of discourse, there are also points of positions. First, in the developed-undeveloped dimension, although the
stability. There are recurring debates which can be conceptualized as emphasis is on Ladakllis becoming developed, it is assumed that tourists
occurring on, or between, relatively stable evaluative dimensions, which in are already developed. Second, in the traditional-modern discourse, the
turn, contain relatively stable images, such as the goat herder and the image of the lizardman, which objectifies the modern position, is, in a
tourist dupe. sense, caused by tourism. The lizardman wants to be like tourists, and is
Figure 5.1 is an attempt to map out these points of stability, and thus tempted away fi-oin tradition by tourist money. This entanglement goes
map out the space within which tourist debate occurs. In this figure the both ways. Ladakhis rvho try to become developed or modern, must be
broken curved line separates the "me" positions that tourists can occupy, understood in relation to tourism, and equally tourists as modern and
from those they use to distinguish between Ladakhis. The ovals enclose tourists as coriuptors of traditional culture, must be understood in rela-
positions which are linked, with bold lines, to form the evaluative dimen- tion to Ladakh.
124 A. GILLESPIE Becoming Other 125

Although the map in Figure 5.1 is static, containing just seven fixed being stared at by Ladakhi and Indian men, dealing with u~lsolicited
positions, it should be clear that tourists' talk is not static. Tourist debate approaches from men, and greater discussion about female tourists wear-
moves between these positions and across these dimensions. Individual ing provocatiile clothing.
tourists can and do espouse contradictory dimensions consecutively and 3. I am using the term "topic" in the prccise way defined by James (1884,
even simultaneously. Thus the map does not present simply "the perspec- p. 24) and explicated in chapter 1, p. 10.
tive of tourists," rather it tries to present the diversity of perspectives that
tourists can take toward themselves and Ladakhis. This is a map of the
degrees of freedom within which tourists self-reflective thought moves.
The debates that are framed within this map, I suggest, correspond to
the thinking phase of the touring act. These are the points where the
world has become uncertain for tourists, and needs elaboration. Are the
Ladakhis traditional or modern? Should they remain traditional or
should they develop? Am I a tourist or a traveler? These are the points of
rupture and uncertainty for tourists within the touring act. Questions
emerge: To what extent have these "me" positions been constructed
within the touring act?-Or, have they been brought to the touring act?
And regarding the domains of self-reflection, have they been constructed
within the touring act? Are tourists taking the perspective of Ladakhis
when they are being self-reflective, when they become aware of them-
selves as "me-as-traveler" or "me-as-tourist-dupe?'' These are the ques-
tions that will be addressed in later analyses, but first we must map out the
perspectives of Ladakhis within the touring act.


1. One might speculate that the best place to find useful discourse is to look
at the conversations between Ladakhis and tourists. Alas, this discourse
proves to be quite impoverished. In naturally occurring Ladakhi-tourist
interactions, surprisingly little is said. For instance, on a trek, usually no
more than a h a n d l l of words, chiefly pleasantries, are exchanged. What is
most notable about this dialogue is the very absence of content concerning
each other. There seems to be a power asymmetry in which tourists assume
the social position of expert and Ladakhis tend to avoid contradicting
tourists. Thus the fact is that Ladakhis and tourists spend much more time
talking abod each other, than talking to each other, When apart from each
other, they are freer to discuss those issues that they regard as problematic
in the touring act (usually the perspective of the other). Accordingly, my
focus will not be on inter-group discourse, but rather on intragroup dis-
course-that is, tourist-tourist discourse on the one hand and Ladakhi-
Ladakhi discourse on the other.
2. I acted as moderator in 23 of the tourist group discussions.To examine the
possible influence of my being male on these discussions, I also got two
female researchers to moderate three discussions on my behalf. The main
difference observed was that when a woman assumed the role of modera-
tor with female participants, the topics explored expanded to include


What do Ladakhis say about tllemselves and toui-ists? What perspectives
do they have, within the touring act? And, from the perspective of Lada-
khis, wliat is ullcertain and ruptured within thc touring act? \ f l ~ a is
t caus-
ing debate and needs claboration? What are their "me" and "they"
positions? The previo~ischapter intl-oduced the touring act, from the pcr-
spective of tourists, and now we turn to the complcmentaiy, but quitc dis-
tinct, perspective
- -
of Ladakhis.
Constructing a corpus of Ladakhi discourse proved to be Inore complex
than for tourists, and the chapter begins with some of these considerations.
The main part of thc chapel; huwevel; is again the presentation of tourist
discussion, which I h w e tried to map in a meaningful way. The exercise is
mainly descriptive; it is an attempt to communicate the Ladakhi point of
view. The concluding - section compares the tourists' discourse wit11 the
Ladakhis' discourse, pointing to~vardsome peculiar divergences, and thus
leading to the questions that will be pursued in the following analyses.

Constructing a corpus of Ladakhi discourse, initially, proved problematic.
While much of tourist discourse is in public settings, such as restaurants,
most Ladakhi discourse is to be found in more private settings. While it is

Beco?aing OIhev: An?u Social Intc~.actiorrto Self-Relection, 127-154
Copyright O 2006 by Information Age Publishing
All rights o f r e p ~ ~ d u c t i oinnany form reserved.
128 A. GILLESPIE Becoming Other 129

relatively easy for me, a tourist, to approach naturalistic groups of tourists thing to contribute the corpus. Discussions with monks, soldiers, Kash-
in restaurants, it is more difficult to approach Ladakhis, in their own miris and Indians living in Ladakh were all excluded from the corpus
homes. Initially, I tried the standard approach-making contacts, and because the content of their discourse was distinct, and would require a
then asking for introductions. Given how helpful and friendly Ladakhis separate anaiysis to deal with. For example, some of the Icashmiris and
are, this method proved relatively successful in putting me in contact with Indians held extremely racist and negative attitudes toward Ladakhis.
Ladakhis. However, this only led to a second problem, namely, my influ- In total 38 discussions-with an average of 4.4 Ladakhis in each,-were
ence in the discussion. My presence, my cassette recorder, and my ques- included in the corpus. Fifteen were conducted in rural villages, and 23 in
tions all served to create a species of interaction far removed from the Leh. In terms of age, there is a good spread-from 15 to 80, although
everyday conversation that I sought. While there was banter when I was there is a statistical bulge around 25-30. This bulge coincides both with
among Ladakhis that I knew, when I was a stranger the dynamics proved my age, at the time of the research, and the age of my Ladakhi colleagues.
quite stifled. There were slighsly more tnen than women in the discussions, (68 women
The extent to which I was an obstacle in these "discussions" became compared to 99 men), and Muslims are somewhat underrepresented. The
apparent when I sought to include the perspective of Ladakhi women in group that is overrepresented arc those who work with tourists-who tend
the corpus. Using contacts, I arranged for a preliminary interview with a to be Buddhist met1 in their twenties and thirties, well educated and able
young university-educated woman, who, I was assured, could speak to speak English. This group deserves special attention, for it is among
English fluently. We sat together, in the guest room of her parents' house. them that I found the greatest diversity of viewpoiiits, and the most
She served tea, and I tried to initiate some rapport. My attempts failed. It debate.
appeared that I was such so strange and forbidding that she would not
look at me directly, nor speak to me at any great length. Almost despair-
ing of getting any interviews with wornen, I gave her my cassette recorder Discursive Context
and suggested that she and some friends discuss the topics t had asked
her about. Two days later, I received, via an intermediary, two cassettes
My Ladakhi colleagues, who modcr-atcd these discussions, were
with 2 hours of naturalistic and substantial discussion data.
between the ages of 18 and 40 at the time of the research, and occupied
The advantage with this method is that the data that arises is very close
diverse positions within Ladakhi society (three teachers, two guides, orre
to what is of interest-how Ladakhis construct tourists in conversation.
shopkeeper, one student, and one enti-epi-eneur). Three of the modera-
These discussions are much more naturalistic, then when I am present.
Moreover, participants in these group discussions are much more likely to tors are women and five are men.
talk about tourists in their discourse, than when I am present. Accord- The moderators introduced the research to participants as being about
ingly, I decided to make this my main method for constructing the corpus "changes in Ladakh." They told participants that I was a foreign
of Ladakhi discourse, and I was fortunate enough to enlist the help of 1-esearcherwho was writing a PhD, or a book, about "changes in Ladakh."
eight truly wonderhl Ladakhi colleagues. These colleagues, all skilled They stressed that participants did not have to be polite or nice about any
conversationalists, went out into the Ladakhi public, searching out natu- of the topics raised. Generally, they explained that I had been in Ladakh
ralistic groups, and stimulating debate and discussion. for a long time, and was a decent person. Sometimes they elaborated by
referring to some good deed I had done either for the moderator or for
the community. In some instances, the moderator demonstrated that par-
The Ladakhi Participants ticipants did not have to be polite, by saying, while the cassette recorder
was running, something scandalous or foolish. With some of the rural
In accordance with the tenets of corpus construction the sampling participants, the moderator had to clarify that it was not meant to be like
aimed at diversity, and I ensured that the following population strata were the radio intervielvs that are occasionally aired on a local station. In such
covered: Muslim/Buddhist, males/females, lay/monk, urbanjrural, young/ cases the moderators made the discussion as informal as possible. After
elder, educated/uneducated (formal), high/low caste, rich/poor, Ladakhil being introduced to the reseairh project, several Ladakhis, mostly elderly
Indian, Ladakhi/Kashmiri, and inside/outside the tourist business. Based and rural, declined to participate. The main reason given was that they
on the content of these discussions I decided which discussions had some- felt they had nothing to contribute.
130 A. GILLESPIE Becoming Other 13 1

The moderators understood my preference for naturalistic group dis- was made to keep tourists on the topic of tourists and Ladakhis. However,
cussions, and facilitated this in different ways, which they devised inde- when Ladakhis discuss wider issues, the discussion remains relevant to our
pendently, as they knew better than me how to make participants feel at interests. Ladakhis invoke comparisons with tourists, and the perspective
ease. I did, however, give them some pointers, such as the use of bold of tourists, in regard to an amazing variety of topics. From marriage to
questions, jokes, probing and the third person technique (e.g., "But one caste, from politics to eco~~omics,from past to hopes for the fiiture-tour-
fellow told me," Luria, 1974, p. 57) in order to stimulate debate and ease ists have a place in all these topics. This fact suggests that tolirisnl in
the exchange of ideas. Depending upon the group, I financed food, Ladakh has had more impact upon the syrnbolic world of 1,adakhis than it
sweets, or beer. The discussions were held in people's homes, in restau- has had on the symbolic rvorld or tourists.
rants, in fields, in school halls, and under the shade of trees. The discus- Once I had decided that saturation had been I-cached, group discus-
sions lasted from % to over 6 hours. Partly because participants were sions ceased. I-Io~vcver,because of a lag ill transcribing the discussions,
amont Criends, and partly because of the skill and enthusiasm of my Lada- several group cliscussions were transcribed at a later date and added tu
khi colleagues, the conversations appeared to be enjoyable and spontane- the corpus, thlis filrther guaranteeing my being saturated with data.
ous. Overall, sat~rrationof basic content was reacbed rnore quickly in the tour-
ist corpus than in the 1,adakhi corpus. This is unsurprising given that
tourists are a relatively liomogenous and self-selecting group (by virtue of
Topics Covered choicc of destination). I am sure this also reflects tny lack of familiarity
with Ladaklii discourse, compared to the discourse of tourists.
The topics to be raised in each discussion were agreed upon by me and
the moderator. The criteria for including a topic were: Had the topic
been saturated? Might the topic have some relation to tourism or changes MAPPING LADAKHIS' DISCOURSE
in Ladakh? Was the moderator keen to address this issue? Will the topic
stimulate debate? Is this topic of interest to the participants? In this way, The corpus contains almost a hundred hours of Ladaklii discourse. The
discussions varied in their content according to the composition of inter- majority of this discourse is in Ladakhi-only five or the discussions were
ests and concerns among moderator and participants, within the general entirely in English. In order to make this discourse manageable, all the
constraints of the research interests. The list of topics drawn up was much Ladakhi discussions were translated and transcribed. This was a time con-
larger than could reasonably be covered. The moderator was not suming operation, and, again, I must thank my Ladakhi colleagues who
instructed to follow the topics in a particular order nor to addl-ess all of were so diligent and patient in what must have seemed to them an
them. The topics were to be formed into discussion-stimulating questions extraordinary task. The process of translation and transcription necessar-
and to be used to sustain conversation. As with the tourist discussions, the ily involves the loss of detail. People do not speak the way we write-com-
topics covered were not all predetermined, but evolved during the plete sentences are rare and half-words are common. I worked through
research and came to reflect the issues intersecting with tourism about this process with may Ladakhi colleagues as part of my effort to learn
which Ladakhis are concerned. Ladakhi. Together we checked the accuracy of translations, and agreed
The topics covered included: Ladakh in the past, Ladakh in the future, upon a reasonable level of detail. Due to the sheer volume of discussion to
development, caste, changes in religion, differences between men and be translated and the research question, it was agreed not to transcribe in
women, changes among the young generation, current politics in Ladakh, minute detail. Rathel; we translated every utterance as a whole, and
the effect of tourism, tourists' wealth, and tourists' motivations. Questions avoided repetitions and broken sentences. This choice, whilst justifiable at
which proved particularly effective at stimulating discussion induded: If a practical level, limited the utility of the Ladakhi corpus in terms of the
you had three wishes what would they be? Is the Dalai Lama reincar- more detailed analysis presented in chapters 1 1 and 12.
nated? Should Ladakhis wear the gonchha? Should marriages be Special attention was given to Ladakhis' use of English and Hindi
arranged by parents? Would you like to live in the United States? words within Ladakhi sentences. Such incorporations provide useful indi-
In comparison to the topics covered by tourists, the topics discussed by cators about the social origin of a given discourse. In the transcriptions,
Ladakhis are much broader in range. When tourists began to discuss the use of English words is differentiated from Ladakhi tvords by the use
wider issues, Ladakh was simply forgotten about, and consequently effort of capitals, while the use of Hindi words is simply noted in brackets.
132 A. GILLESPIE Becoming Other 133

Once the transcripts were prepared, they were loaded, along with mp3s mate a touristsn-that is determine a tourists' wealth on the basis of a
of the English conversations, into Atlaslti. As with the tourist corpus, I brief interaction. This is a necessary skill for those who work with tourists,
then began by trying to map this universe of discourse. Assuming that dis- for tourists often ask about the price of, for example, a trek, a hotel room,
course is often about that which has become ruptured, 1 sought to identify or a souvenir. All such prices are negotiable in Ladakh, and essential to
the ruptures in the discourse. Specifically, the mapping proceeded by ask- this negotiation is the estimated wealth of the tourist. The following
ing first, what are Ladakhis saying about themselves and tourists? And excerpt reveals some of the ways in which Ladakhis differentiate between
secondly, looking within the resultant pools of discourse for points of tourists on the basis ofwealth:
debate? The map produced by this method, is presented in the following
sections. Again the discourse can be parsed into three subdiscourses, each Ladakhi moderator: OK, tourists that we see are rich, right?
with its own logic, and its own evaluative dimension. And again, much of Tashi: What I think is that nobody in the universe is
the debate arises in the clash between these discourses. rich, because nol~odyis satisfied wit11 what he
has. People consider the tourists to be very rich.
'lhey spend lots of moncy. I cannot say whether
DISTINGUISHING BETWEEN TOURISTS they are really rich or not.
Ladakl~imoderator: Then why are they spending so many DOL-
Two words which repeatedly arise in Ladakhi discourse about tourists are LARS in a day?
chhugpo and chhadfio. Directly translated, chhugpo means rich and chhudpo Tashi: Yes, they are cash rich?
means a poor person whose dress is broken, ragged, torn or frayed. How- Ladakhi moderator: Have you ever seen ally tour-istswho spend 500
evei; in relation to tourists, these words have other connotations. Chhu@o or 1,000 rupees a day?
tourists, as well as being rich, are seen to be concerned about the sate of Tashi: Some tourists cook for themselves and some live
Ladakh-concerned about the education system; concerned about pre- in big hotcls. There are uppcr class, lower class
serving the culture; and, concerned with being respectful. For Ladakhis, and middle class tourists.
these concerns often manifest, when chl~ugpotourists sponsor a Ladakhi Ladakhi moderator: Tourists Srom which countly bring the most
child to attend school and maybe even assist by working in one of the DOLLARS?
local NGOs. These "good" tourists do not litter, they dress respectably, Tashi: British, they are rich-see the value of thcir cur-
and they pay and tip generously. Chlmdpo tourists, on the other hand, are rency.
associated with pollution, skimpy disrespectful dress, drugs, alcohol, and
motorbikes. One of the defining features of ckhadpo tourists is that they do Tashi responds to the moderators' question by drawing upon the tenets
not benefit Ladakh in any significant way-they set a bad example for the of Buddhism, according to which, wealth does not satisfy desire, and
youth and they are difficult to work with because they bargain so much. therefore one who is financially rich is necessarily "rich." The moderator
There is a growing fear about AIDS in Ladakh. To date there have been seems to be somewhat annoyed by the question being understood in this
no reported cases, but it is feared that promiscuous chhadpo tourists will way, and tries to emphasize that tourists spend 500-1,000 rupees a day
introduce AIDS to Ladakh. (27-14). Tashi resists by stating that tourists have varying degrees of
wealth. Some tourists, Tashi says, cook for themselves (and thus do not
hire cooks on treks or use restaurants), while others can afford to live in
How Wealthy and Generous are They? "big hotels" (and never cook for themselves). Thus Tashi distinguisl~esthe
two positions that I have mentioned above--chhndpo and chhzigpo. The
Tourism accounts for about half of Ladakh's income and it comes as no moderator accepts that tourists have differential wealth, and then
surprise that many Ladakhis depend upon tourists for their financial well- rephrases the question and asks which tourists are the most wealthy and
being. Accordingly, many of the frontline Ladakhis, that is those who deal "bring most dollars?"
with tourists for a living, are primarily concerned to differentiate tourists Tashi's response to this question is also revealing, in that he states that
on the basis of their relative wealth. Some of the souvenir sellers that I the British are the most chItz~gpobecause of the "value of their currency."
became acquainted with were particularly proud of their ability to "esti- This references the fact that the British get about 67 Indian rupees for
134 A. GILLESPIE Becoming Other 1 3 5

one pound. No other major currency gets so many rupees per unit. Tour- Dolma: As TOURISTS come, we are progressing, from
ists from the United States, for example, only get about 40 Indian rupees them, we've learnt things from them, and we've
for a dollar, while tourists traveling with the euro get a bit more for one received KNOWLEDGE from them. Since they
euro. This utterance must be seen in terms of the widespread assumption have come, we have progressed a lot as to g o ~ ~ ~ f ~ a ,
among Ladakhis that one pound is equal to one dollar which is equal to HOTEL, GUEST HOUSE. HOTELS are built
one rupee, and that through the system of currency exchange an asymme- because they visit, and a lot of children, having
try is introduced. According to this logic, the British are 67 times as no work, do business with them and earn from
wealthy as the Indians, and almost twice as wealthy as Americans. It them.
should be stated that not all Ladakhis accept this rationale because they Ladakhi moderator: EVEN TAXI DRIVERS owe their work to tour-
are aware that prices vary in different countries, and thus the value of one ists, don't they?
unit of currency is not fixed. Nevertheless, the theory is widespread and it Uolma: TAXI DRIVERS, yes, and wherever you look
is justifies a pause for thought, because it provides a window into the there is progress because of them, especially in
Ladakhi perspective on wealth inequality. Leh.
From a Ladakhi point of view, British tourists are assumed to be 67
times wealthier than the Ladakhis. Of course there are both rich and poor Much of the development in Ladakh, such as roads, tclccoinmunica-
British tourists, as Tashi points out, but it follows that even a relatively tions, shops, restaurants, taxis, and gontf~aI-enovations, is altl-ibutcd to
poor tourist is rich by Ladakhi standards. The theory allows Ladakhis to tourists. Becausc tourists speak English, and the erlucation system is in
draw up equivalences between themselves and tourists. For example, few English, tourists are also perceived to contribute to the education of the
Ladakhis would argue about one rupee, yet Ladakllis note that British youth. In one discussion, tourists wcre described as having "special
tourists will often bargain severely for 67 rupees. The interesting thing brains." This may indicate a Iceling of inferiority with regards to knowl-
about this interpretive frame is that it positions most tourists as not only edge and education. Nevertheless, there is a widespread feeling that tour-
very rich (much more so than they are in reality), but also as quite mean. ists are bringing both to Ladakh. While most Ladakhis conceptrralize
Equally, tourists who are generous with their money are, in a strange way, these positive impacts of tourism in terms of' economic development, a
positioned along-side the Ladakhis, for neither will argue over one unit of minority of the business class in Leh also nlention that tourism has caused
their own currency. This interpretation, as we will see, leads to a peculiar a revival of Ladakhi cult~ure.They point out that since the arrival of tour-
misunderstanding because, as mentioned in the last chapter, tourists ists the number of cultural events has greatly increased and there is more
think that paying over the odds corrupts Ladakhis and they feel an obli- pride in the traditional culture.
gation to bargain and to only pay local prices. While such frugality is Tourism, from the perspective of Ladakhis, also has negative impacts,
respected among "travelers," the fact is that it is seen as strangely mean ~vhichare attributable to cA1iadpo tourists. Tourists who dress in "hippy" or
from a Ladakhi point of view which accordingly positions travelers as "giunge" styles are seen to be wearing dirty and worn clothes-to them
clzhadpo. this is incoinprel~ensiblegiven tourists' wealth. But more than not sharing
money and dressing badly, cltlzudpo tourists kiss in public, smoke I~ashish,
ieave rooms in a mess (very unusual among Ladakhis), and couples go
What Impact are They Having? into bathrooms together. One Ladakhi said of cl~hadpotourists: "They kiss
each other everywhere, among other people, women go around with the
Perhaps the most emotive topic of debate for Ladakhis, with regards to least clothes on, and the men go out with just their undet-wear on!" From
tourists, is not their relative wealth, but rather their impact upon Ladakh. the standpoint of Ladakhis, t-shirts and shorts are undel~veacAmong
The impacts of tourism are recognized to be diverse, sometimes good both Ladakhi men and women, clothes usually cover arms and legs, and
(such as economic development) and sometimes bad (su& as pollution are loose fitting in order to conceal body shape. Thus tourists, seeking a
and moral corruption). The following exchange illustrates some of the tan under the intense Ladakhi sun, create the unintended meaning of
positive impacts of tourism, as perceived by a young Ladakhi woman: shocking promiscuity in the minds of the Ladakhis.
ChAaclpo tourists are seen to be polluting in a moral sense. Their con-
Ladakhi moderator: What do you think about TOURISTS? sumerism and promiscuous behavior is seen to "cori-upt," or "spoil" the
136 A. GILLESPIE Becoming Other 137

youth. In the foliowing excerpt, Tsering has just argued that Ladakhis are for days, only for a brief visit and a few photographs is quite perplexing.
preserving their culture: The final segment of the quotation is particularly interesting. It is more
difficult to infer the mind of the other through obse~~lation than via
Tsering: But today the youth are changing? [...I speech (Farr & Anderson, 1983). Ladakhi-tourist encounters are chiefly
jigmet: Yes, the youth have CHANGED a bit because of TOURISTS based upon mutual obsel-vation.This young woman is aware that there is
as we live with them. We smoke CIGARETTES, dam, [alco- an asymmetry of pcrspective, and that in order to try and overcome tl~is
hol in Hindi] charm [marijuana in Hindi]. Some TOURISTS divergence she would like to speak to the tourists, in thcir language, and
do these and this has an effect on the youth of Ladakh ask them why they have come.
Due to the language barriel; the mind of the tourist is a comparable
The young Ladakhis are seen to be copying the chhadpo tourists, by to a black box for Ladakhis. In Laclakhi disc~~ssions one can hear that
smoking cigarettes and marijuana, and drinking beer. This perceived diverse motivations are attributed to tourists. Sometimes tourisn~ is
negative influence is used to account for the fact that young Ladakhi a~zchoredin pilgrimage. This fits well with the fact that most tourists do
women arc beginning to wear reveaIing Western fashions, and for what is visit the various monaste~-ies,but it fails to accolint for those tourists
perceived as being a new found promiscuity among the youth. who do not. Moreovel; in many circles in Ladakh it is conl111on kn01v1-
The Ladakhi women have an additional topic of debate which does not edgc that tourists are not Buddhists. This, in turn adds to the itnpene-
arise among dle men. The women discuss these issues mentioned so far, trability of the tourist mind. Alternative explanations that I encountesed
but from their perspective the impact is not on them, but on "their" Lada- include: the assnmption that tourists a1-e writing books or making post-
khi men. They are especially worried about female tourists leading Lada- cards which will bring them lots of profit; that they are escaping envi-
khi men astray, making "the men cal~lessabout their studies," "spoiling ronmental pollution and the stresses of life in thc West; that thcy are
the men," and spreading diseases like AIDS. doing reseal-c11 on old people (a reasonable assumption given the atten-
tion that elderly Ladakhis receive from tourists); that Laclakh is chcap
and a good place to party; and, that the West is bereft of culture and
"Why are you Undertaking Such Hardships to Come Here?" traditions and so tourists travel to Ladakh to see, and purchase in the
form of antiques, Ladakhi culturc. While these different attributions
Ladakhis are not only concerned about whether they will profit from proliferate, thcre is one over-arching concern that is constant: Do the
tourists and what impact tourists will have, they also spend considerable tourists respect Ladakhis?
time discussing the motives of tourists. For many Ladakhis, one travels to
see someone, to trade, or for pilgrimage. Travel as an end in itself is
incomprehensible. Thus, their very presence in Ladakh is a puzzling, Do They Respect us?
even worrying, rupture, and demands reconstnlctive labor. The following
quotation is taken from a group discussion among young rural Ladakhi From a Meadian perspective, identity is fundamentally a fi~nctionof
women: how self perceives other's attitude to~vardself, or, rvhat I think that you
think about me. In Ladakh it is clear that the concern with tourists' moti-
TOURISTS take a Iot of photos, god knows, sometimes we feel good but
sometimes we are also afraid, many yellow and red people, we don't know, vations, and especially tourists' respect or lack thereof, is deeply con-
we feel afraid. And then, since we do not know the language, we fear ... now nected to Ladakhis' identity. Tourists, with their wealth and status, are a
if we knew the language we would ask them, "why are you undertaking such significant voice constituting Ladakhi identity. The importance of tour-
hardships to come here?" ists' attitude toward Ladakh is evidenced in the follo\ving excerpt from a
heated debate:
These women are suspicious of tourists whose only motive seems to be
just looking around and taking photos. It is not that these women are Ladakhi moderator: TOURISTS, do they respect us?
afraid of cameras: most Ladakhi households have a photo album, if not a Nassir: Yes
camera. But in Ladakh one only takes photos of family and friends, not of Tsogyal: They definitely RESPECT us. I am at least SURE
strangers. Moreover, expending time and money on travel, often trekking about this
138 A. GILLESPIE Becoming Other 139

Nassir: Yes they do regard Israeli tourists as being an objectification of chhadi~otourists. Again
Ladakhi moderator: Sure? we are dealing with chhadl~otourists, and again they are of little benefit to
Norbu: We can not take people's [i.e., tourists'] sayings Ladakhis. Howevel; the main theme in the stoiy does not concern the
SURELY [at face value] actions of chhadpo tourists per se, but rather their attitudes. The stoty is
Ladakhi moderator: We have seen Israelis come to Leh and when taken to indicate a lack of respect.
they went to the PETROL PUMP, they said Nassir accepts the story (as I mentioned, it had circulated widely), but
"FULL Tank" and pointed to the next person argues that there are many different types of tourist, and he proceeds to
and then they ran away, is that respect? insist that at least some tourists do gctiuinely respect Ladakhis. He con-
Tashi: All are not alike cludes with the powerfi~lrhetorical question: "rvhy do they leave those big
Nassir: There are types of TOURISTS TOO [...] Wr INDUSTRIES and come here?" From Nassir's point of view, those "big
instance, there are many TOURISTS who have INDUSTRIES" are perceived in positive terms-thus he betrays a degree
UNDERSTANDINGS, [others, such as] the of admiration for modernity. The argument is that tourists would not
Israelis, they openly kiss, why, because they are Icave the \$rest, with its high levels of tecl~nologyand production, without
used to it. Some come to see a traditional house good reason. Traveling in order to disrespcct Ladakllis makes little sense.
but an Israeli never does. Some come here to see Accordingly, Nassir claims, tourists must "come hcrc to see our CUL-
our CULTURE to learn our LANGUAGE and TURE." This argurnent is part of a larger complex of idcas, where it is
chat with us, why do they need our LANGUAGE, assumed that tourists are culturally bankrupt. Tourists have lost thcir cul-
wc are a small corner of INDIA, what will they ture, it is said, and this is why they must travel to 1,adakh. On several
achieve by learning this? They enjoy it because occasions I have heard I>adakhisuse this explanation to convince other
they enjoy talking to us and seeing how we live, Ladakhis of the need to preserve their ow~tculturc. They argue chat if
they see our habib and our ways, they help us Ladakh looses its culture, thcn Ladakllis would have to expend vast sums
with agriculture, that's how they respect us. 0 t h - of money travelilig thc world, like ~outists,in a compensatoly quest to see
envise why do they need to leave those big the culture of other people.
INDUSTRIES and come here? In the above discussion, no one challenges Nassil; and the argument
moves on. However, there is a retort, which although rarcly invoked,
The young men in this discussion can all speak English-as evidenced sho~ildbe mentioned. This is the idea that tourists visit Idadakhwith the
by their frequent use of English terms-and yet they are puzzled by tour- attitude of visiting a zoo. Although they come to see the culture and the
ists' motivations. The problem is that, as Norbu says, "we can not take way of life, the argument goes, they do not in fact respect either I have
people's [tourists'] sayings SURELY." They know that tourists say that only heard this argument on a couple of occasions, and in all instances it
they like and l-espect Ladakhis, but are tourists concealing ulterior was proffered by well educated young men who had had considerable
motives? The discussion is complex as it attempts to reconstruct the moti- experience working with tourists.
vations of tourists on the basis of evidence. The group is integrating what
tourists say with what they do and wisely, they place more emphasis on
actions than words. The Chhugpo-Chhadpo Evaluative Dimension
In the course of the discussion the moderator, trying to stimulate
debate, refers to a story that I heard on several occasions, fmm several dif- Ladakhis need to distinguish between tourists in order to do business
ferent sources. A gfoup of Israelis, on motorbikes, had gone to the sole with them; in order to manage tourism in Ladakh; and, in order to consti-
petrol station in Ladakh-just outside Leh. Each tourist told the petrol tute their own identity. The distinctions which Ladakhis make are subtle
pump attendant that the next tourist would pay, and drove away. The last and suited to a variety of contexts and issues. One could make a good case
tourist, who was supposed to pay the whole bill, said that he did not know for identifying two evaluative dimensions: the generous-mean and the
who the Israelis were. The perpetrators of this crime are stereotypically respecting-disrespecting. Howevel; for the purposes of our analysis, this
chhadpo-they are on motorbikes and they are mean to the point of steal- degree of subtlety is not necessary. There is in fact considerable overlap:
ing from the poor pump attendant. As will become clear, Ladakhis also fi-om a Ladakhi point of view, generous tourists also tend to respect Lada-
Becoming Other 141

khis and mean tourists tend to be disrespectful. Thus, instead of two eval- LADAKHIS: FOLLOWING CULTURE OR FASHION?
uative dimensions, I will make use of just one, which will be called the
chhugpo-chhadpo evaluative dimension. Ladakh, like any complex society, has numerous ways of positioning its
The iconic cores that sustain this evaluative dimension are evident in members. Distinctions are made on the basis of gender, education,
the very terms chhugpo and chhadpo. To reiterate, chhadpo tourists have wealth, occupation, village of origin, caste and religion: to name but a few.
torn or dirty clothes. They are disrespectful in dress and manner-for It is not my intent to map out all the different subject positions that 1,ada-
example they do not dress up to go to temples and they do not leave khis extend to each other. Instead, I will focus on dcbates in which tour-
generous tips. Chhudpo tourists are disruptive; they are visualized as ism is implicated. From this point ofview, the most pertinent distinction is
driving noisy motorbikes and frequenting bars. The chl~ugposubject between Ladakhis who are followers of fashion and thosc who uphold tra-
position, on the other hand, is much more generous and beneficent. ditional culture.
The Deputy Director of Tourism, Urgain Loondup, told me quite
explicitly, that he is trying to encourage more ch,hugpo tourists and that
it is only by virtue of such tourists that Ladakh can develop. According Who is Following the Fashion?
to Urgain Loondup, chhugpo tourists will bring both money and respect
for Ladakhi culture and that both or these are necessaiy for the future The Ladakhi concept of "fashion" shares much with the image of the
tourist. Both images convey feelings of promiscuity and corrup-
of Ladakh.
tion. Both images imply a rcjeclion or at least disrespect for tradition, and
Comparing the chhugpo-chhudpo dimension to the tourists' traveler-tour-
both images give prominence to clrcss. Ladakhis use dress as a means to
is1 dimension reveals a profound divergence. The cl~hugpo-chhadpoevalua-
identify, and thus position, Laclakhis who are following the ''Tashion."
tion is almost the reverse of traveler-tourist evaluation. Among tourists,
Equally, contmlling how one dresscs is an important nieaiis to contl-01
living cheaply, paying local prices and resisting manipulation are admira-
horv one is positioned in relation to "fashion." Debates about dress and,
ble, and distinguish the traveler from the tourist. "Real" travelers operate
more generally "fashion," often focus upon women's dress. The way in
on a low budget. However, from a Ladakhi perspective, tourists on a low which Ladakhi women dress has become an index tracking increased cor-
budget are chhdpo-they do not pay generously and thus contribute little i-uption and clegradation. For examplc, in one discussion about changes
to the development of Ladakh. Ladakhis are more interested in the between the past and the present a man, arguing that the changes had
amount of money tourists leave behind than in tourists' living cheaply. been negative, said: "Girls, earliel; did not wear TIGHT clothes but now
The chhugpo tourists that Ladakhis are on the look out for, are not what they are put on TIGHT clothes!" The emphasis on the English wol-cl
tourists would cat1 travelers. In many ways "travelers" pose more of a "tight" concerns the visibility of the female body shape. Set against the
problem for Ladakhis than do so-called "tourist dupes." For example, background of Ladakhi values and traditional norms, "tight" dress is
travelers taking a local bus are an enigma for Ladakhis who would always quite scandalous. This attribution is also made by the women themselves.
take the aeroplane if they could afford it. Why, they wonder, do tourists So, for example, in response to the previous utterance, one Ladakhi
who are up to 67 times wealthier than Ladakhis, choose to take the local woman interjected with an exclamation of scandal: "soon we will be wear-
bus? And why, they wonder, do they have such dirty clothes? Any self- ing MINIS!" The idea of wearing miniskirts in Ladakh is outrageous. At
respecting Ladakhi keeps their clothes spotlessly clean. However, many the core of this concept, then, is promiscuity. The connection to tourism is
so-called hardened travelers arrive in torn and dirty clothes. The chhugpo made manifest in the type of dress that Ladakhis consider to be scandal-
tourists, on the other hand, are obviously wealthy and spend their wealth, ous (yet tempting). Tourists have introduced Ladakhis to "tight" clothes
as any Ladakhi would, on good quality clean clothes. The fact that tourists and miniskirts, and as such, they have facilitated the corruption of Lada-
and Ladakhis privilege opposite actions among tourists is quite interest- khi women. Interestingly, those Laclakhi women who incline toward this
ing. For the most part, neither tourists nor Ladakhis are aware of this style of dress (no one actually wears miniskirts) are called "LOCAL
divergence. The analysis in chapters 8 and 9 wi11 argue that this diver- ISMELIS." As mentioned above, in Ladakhi discourse Israeli tourists are
gence is sustained by virtue of these discourses belonging to different closely associated with the position of the chlradfio tourist. Calling young
social acts. Laclakhis who wear modern dress "LOCAL ISRAELIS" underscores the
142 A. GILLESPIE Becoming Other 143

point made above, namely that it is the chhadpo tourists who are seen to be Buddhism which forms the moral frame of reference for most Ladakhis.
having the negative impact on Ladakh. According to Buddhism, desii-e is the root of all suffering. Thus any
Within the universe of discourse that sustains the concept of "fashion," increase in desire is a backwards step on the spiritual path. The pursuit of
dress is the means through which the moral state of an individual is ascer- materialistic desires is seen to be misbegotten and shallow, for it can bring
tained. Wearing "fashion" is taken to indicate a corrupt state of mind. The only temporaly satiation, and cornplete conteiltillent can only be realized
exact nature of this link is the topic of discussion in the following debate by renouncing all desircs.
between some boisterous young men: Possibly because of the evident importance of tlle Buddhist moral
framework in constn~cting"fashion" as "bad," it is not surprising that
Dorje: Now I will tell you, they [Ladakhi women] see young Buddhist monks come under close scrutiny. As has been men-
money, only money these days tioned, one of the attractions for tourists traveling to Ladakll is Bud-
I'unchok: If you take them to Amdo Food [a popular res- dhism, and therefore monks attract a lot of attention. Tt is relatively easy
taurant] that's all for a young monk to befricnd, and even sornance, female tourists. This
Dorje: Who ever takes them to a good restaurant, who fact is acknowledged (with some jealously) by the young men who work as
ever takes them for a drive guides and shop keepers. Through friendships with tourists young monks
Ladakhi moderator: Don't say every girl, every girl means, there are also receive gifts like hiking boots, warm jackets, and sun glasses-all of
many girls, you can still find some simple girls which put tlie recipient monks at thc top of the "fashion" hierarchy.
Punchok: The girls wearing J W S trousers, this is their Accordingly, the monks are also positioned as devotecs of "fashion" or
feeling perhaps more preciscly, of tourists. The Laclakhi phr-ase for such monks is
Ladakhi moderator: How come, how can she think this way if she is "FASHION la?i?n."These monks wear baseball caps a n d arc seen to be
wearing JEANS, by wearing JEANS does her desi~011s of money and women-"tliey take womcn into the prayer room."
MIND CHANGE? No doubt that the clothes on Like the chhad#o tourists "FASHION la?rznWarc inlagined as wearing sun-
her body CHANGE but how can this CHANGE glasses, spending time with women, and, intctrstingly, riding motol-bikes.
her MIND? There are a few good women One ongoing debate is whether nlonks should be permitted to rick
Punchok: Her mind is changed that's why she wears motorbikes. The argument against thcm riding motorbikes is that it is
JEANS. If her MIND is CHANGING, then it's "fashion," little more than copying tourists: the asgument in support of
not bad to wear JEANS PANT this practice, usually proffered by the monks themselves, is that monks
Angchuk: So has your MIND CHANGED, given that you must travel and the use of a motorbike is more ethical than riding a horse
are wearing these clothes [indicating that they or pony. To ride a horse or a pony, they argue, is to exploit a sentient
are all wearing jeans] being. The point to draw from thcsc debates, howevei-, is that there are
Punchok: Yes my MIND has CHANGED bvo prototypical subject positions, both for lay Ladakhis and for monks-
Ladakhi moderator: Listen to me, listen to me- on the one hand there are those who follow the tourists and "fashion,"
Tashi: At of us are wearing fjeans], so everyone is bad rvhile on the other hand there are those who follow the Ladakhi culture
and thus remain traditional.
The topic of debate here is whether wearing 'tjeans" indicates that ones
"mind" has changed. By "mind change," these Ladakhis are referring to "Fashion" Versus Culture?
desires. Women who wear jeans "see money, only money" and the promise
of "good restaurants." The desirous mind of the women wearing jeans is Ladakhi debate, about the position of Ladakhis, is organized around
juxtaposed to the "simple girls," who are described as "good women." what I call the cult~11-e-fashionevaluative dimension. This dimension is
The opposition that then emerges is between fashionable women on the centi-a1 to Ladakhi public and private life. It arises in debates regarding
one hand, and traditional women on the other. The distinction is morally the future direction of Ladakh and it arises in the private lives of Lada-
loaded: traditional women are "good" rvhile the ones wearing jeans, like khis when they make decisions that concern for example, what to wear
the men in the discussion, are "bad." To have a changed mind, to become and how to position themselves within the public sphere. Accordiilg to the
desirous of money and good restaurants must be understood in terms of culture-fashion evaluative dimension it is "good" to uphold traditional
144 A. GILLESPIE Becoming Other 145

Ladakhi culture, while it is "bad" to wear fashionable dress. One such a tourist dupe. Ladakhis, on the other hand, do not make this distinction.
objectification of culture is the gonchha (a maroon overcoat, see Figure For Ladakhis to "put on" a cultural show for tourists is as "real" as any
3.2), which has come, by synecdoche, to take on the meaning of culture in other cultural event. Divest of problems of authenticity, the culture-fash-
general-although, it should be noted that Ladakhis also include history, ion dimension is less opposed to development than the tradition-modern
Buddhism, religious statues, dances and music in their construction of dimension. From a tourist point of view, it is almost impossible to be
culture. "developed" and to conserve traditional life. Howlevel; Ladakhis t ~ yto do
Fashion, on the other hand, is synonymous with anything that might both, hence they argue that they can modernize while prese~vingtheir
imply a loss of culture, and this is objectified by not wearing the gonchha culture on special days and at special events.
and instead, wearing Western style dress (jeans, t-shirts, baseball caps,
sunglasses, and sporty jackets). Following the "fashion" and upholding the
culture do cocxist to some extent, however, their coexistence is con- Following the "Fashion" and Upholding the Culture?
strained by the fact that the opposition is objectified at the level of dress:
it is difficult to wear both "fashion" and the goncltha at the same time- I have never hearcl a Ladakhi questio~lwllethcr 1,adakhi culture shoulcl
though it is common for young Ladakhis to wear a baseball cap and/or be preserved to some extent. The debate is all about to which extent. It is
sunglasses when wearing the gonchha. This tangible objectification of the also abuadantly clear that most Ladakhis do not wcar traditional dress. In
opposition means that everyone in Ladakh cannot help but position the villages the women tend lo wcar traditional dress, but most of 111e
themselves along this dimension. By virtue of wearing clothes, and thus young men do not. 111 Leh vely few people wcar the traditional drcss-
choosing which clothes to wcar, each Ladakhi claims a certain position
with thc exception of some nationalistic politicians. Necclless to say this
within this discourse.
widespread disjunctio~lcauses considesablc debate. Sonle ar-guc that tour-
The culture-fashion dimension is quite similar to the tourists' tradi-
ists should be banned from weal-ing shorts, others that Ladakhi wornen
tional-modern dimension. The gonchha, which objectifies Ladakhis' con-
should be banned from wearing jeans, and still others that all Ladakhis
ception of culture, is also important for tourists, who take it to indicate
traditional Ladakhi Iife. The image of the goat herder, however, is of little should wear only the gonckha. Recently the gonchhn has beconle the com-
import for Ladakhis as goat herding, or indeed dealing with animals in pulsory school uniform in several schools, and at some religious festivals
general, is only a small aspect of traditional Ladakhi life: tending to ani- Ladakhis are only permitted entrance if they are wearing the gotzchhn.
mals is not mentioned by Ladakhis as being part of their culture. Turning Why do these rules need to be imposed? Morcovel; if there is such high
to the iconic image of the lizardman we can say that this is similar to the regard for Ladakhi culture, why don't people wear the gonchha all the
Ladakhis' image of the fashion Ladakhi-both are defined by modern time? Although Ladakhis agree that "fashion" is "bad," it is also clearly
dress and an uncontrollable desire for money and modernity. quite tempting. Accordingly, much Ladakhi discourse is tlying to recon-
One interesting difference between tourists' and Ladakhis' discourse is struct this dissonant domain, as the follo\ving exchange illustrates:
that authenticity is very important for tourists, but is never an issue for
Ladakhis. Ladakhis do have a concept of authenticity, for example, they Ladakhi moderator: At present our DRESS-UP has completely
are very concerned about whether gifts received from tourists, such as CHANGED. Is contemporaly dress good for us
Ray-Ban sunglasses, North Face clothing and Salomon hiking boots, are to wear now, or should a7e wear TRADITIONAL
genuine Western commodities rather than cheap Indian or Chinese repli- DRESS?
cas. But the Ladakhis do not use authenticity within the culture-fashion Wangial: Actually tve should wear TRADITIONAL
discourse. For tourists, the authenticity of the Ladakhis they encounter is DRESS, but in SOCIETY you cannot do any-
of crucial importance. Mediation by money is perceived as being a thing without this dress [pointing to his own
destroyer of authenticity for tourists. For example, being offered tea by a Western dress]
Ladakhi, in the spirit of friendship (rather than for money), is emblem- Ladakhi moderator: If there is something that stops you doing some-
atic of an authentic encounter. Tourists are very concerned with whether a thing, that is not good
festival is directed at tourists or Ladakhis. For tourists, a show that is "put M'angial: It is not good, but as it does not work we can't
on" purely for the benefit of tourists is inauthentic and only of interest to help it
146 A. GILLESPIE Becoming Other 147

Sonam: This [pointing to his Western dress] is better. In "BETWEEN PAST AND FUTURE"
the middle of summer can you imagine wearing
a gonchha - the dirty one! Ladakhis often position themseh~es as "backward." They openly say
Angchuk: Wearing gonchhu is not necessary, this [pointing things like "our place is BACKWARD," and "we are counted as BACK-
to Western dress] is good for us. Isn't it? We WARDS." "BACKWARD," for Ladakhis, means that "Ladakh lacks educa-
should not forget our CULTURE. OCCASION- tion, communication, and transportation" and that "the road remains
ALLY we have to wear traditional dress, there is closed during winter." Although being "BACKWARD" is resisted, it is
TIME for them never denied, rather it is a motivation to go "fo~wards."In response to
Dorje: Yes, yes. feeling "backward," Tenzin, in the following excerpt, outlines a path for
Angchuk: There are occasions when we should, like yester- Ladakh to develop:
day at Ldalang [a ceremony celebrating the birth
Ladakhi moderator: What makcs you proud of Ladakl~? What makcs
of a child] we were wearing the gonclzha, and we
you feel Ladakhi, a rich cultul-eor the landscape,
looked nice
ur wliat?
Teazin: O.I<.,firstly the comruunication of Ladakh is not
These men are educated businessmen working in Leh. They have all
a good communication, in the sense that [pause]
been outside Ladakh and would be among the most so-called modern it is isolated place, Ladakh should not be treated
Ladakhis, yet still they insist that they should not forget their "culture," by as a backward area or a remote area, either by
which they mean that they should wear the gonchh. But the fact remains the JPcK [Jammu and Kashmir] government or
that they are not wearing the gonchha. There is an attempt to rationalize Indian central government. Ladakll is a part of
this fact. Wangial says that "you cannot do anything" without Western India and should get proper status, should not
dress, by which he means that the traditionai dress is inhibiting. A com- be considered as a backward area and should get
mon perception is that the gonchha is not suited to "fast" modern life as it equal financial aid arid, actually they should
is too lleavy, It slows down movement, and is excessively hot. Sonam, like spend more money on IAadakh,because tliey are
many others I have heard, states that thegonchha is too hot to wear "in the earning from tourism
middle of summer." Though, I should add, that when I have encounte~xd
these men during the winter, they have never been wearing the gonchha. The moderator asks the group about the good things in Ladakh. He is
Although Ladakhis unanimously say that Ladakhi culture should be expecting to hear about the "rich culture." how eve^; Tenzin answers with
preserved, why is it then that the vast majority of Ladakhis do not wear a list of the things that Ladakh lacks. In this excerpt, it is accepted that
the gonchhu? Why in the previous excerpt, are none of the participants Ladakh lacks many things, but the shamefill position of bachvardness is
wearing one, despite all of the participants agreeing that it is important to resisted by putting the onus on the Jammu and Kashmir state govcrn-
ment to "spend more money on Ladakh." It is commonly believed among
do so? Why are they motivated to only wear the gonchha on special occa-
Ladakhis that Ladakh is backward, partly, because of inadequate help
sions, why don't they want to wear one everyday? And if it is too hot in
from the state government. Given this dissatisfactiori there is a wide-
summer, then why don't they wear one in the winter? A clue is provided spread political movement within Ladakh that aims at independence
when Sonam refers to it as, "the dirty one!" The gonch/za is associated with from the state government of Jammu and Icashmir (van Beek & Bertelsen
the rural villages and farm work. Conceptualizing it in this way draws 1997; Wangyal, 1997). The desire is for direct funding from the central
upon a completely different evaluative dimension, one in which it is asso- government of India-what is called Union Territo~ystatus (UT). It is
ciated with the "backward" past of Ladakh. In the resistance to wearing believed that if Ladakhis get UT status they will be able to control their
the gonchltu, and in Sonam's utterance, then, we get a glimpse of a second own finances and thus prosper-"if we get UT then it is the BEST" If
evaluative dimension at work, which is in conflict with the culture-fashion Ladakhis get UT status, they say, they will build a "DEGREE COLLEGE"
dimension. I call this the forward-backward evaluative dimension, and (university) so that Ladakhi students will not have to go to Kashmir or
outline its contours in the next section. India to attend university, which many Ladakhis feel currently "spoils" the
148 A. GILLESPIE Becoming Other 149

students, as they (particularly the women) are beyond the watchhl eyes of be dusty, he argues, it is not polluted like the West. Thus, in this excerpt
their families. An alternative way forward, according to some, is tourism. Ladakh is privileged over the West. Dust is natural, but garbage is not.
"If tourists keep coming," one Ladakhi says, "I think Ladakh will become However, this Ladakhi, who became a good colleague, said to me at a
fully progressed." Whichever way Ladakhis talk about ways to develop, later date that he suspected that the skin color difference between tourist
they are guiding their actions by the forward-backward evaluative dimen- and Ladakhis was a function of Ladakhis living in clusty houses and not
sion. Within this discourse, the preservation of Ladakhi culture takes sec- washing frequently, This idea-which I only heard once-clearly reverses
ond place, and the emphasis is on economic development. the positioning and again locates Ladakhis as somehow back~varcl.As
mentioned elsewhere, these debates do not only exist behveeri speakers,
but also within individual's own though processes.
Are the Villages Clean or Dirty? The funvard-back~va1-ddiscourse is used by Iadakhis to make distinc-
tions bctwccn Ladakhis (some are more "fo~-rvard"than others) and to dis-
The West is the iconic core of the representation of "forwal-d." There tinguish Ladakll as a wXlole from the West and from tourists (who are
are rumours that in the West everyone has a car, and that if it breaks considered most "fonvard"). "Rack~vard,"the English word, is commonly
down, it is simply left by the side of the street, and the driver buys a new used t l ~ r o ~ ~ g hIndia
o u t and in Ladakh. It indicates a lack orwcalth, educa-
one. There are stories of machines that wash clothes and machines that tion, infrastructure, and health-care. "Foiward," its opposite, has as its
produce a cooked meal, of incredible wealth, and of lots of shops, running iconic core, tourist life and life in the West. Being forward is desired, but it
water, greenery, and good education. But one aspect that stands out is often mmcs into conflict with the goal oS preserving the culture, bccausc,
cleanliness, which within the Ladakhi symbolic universe is linked to ideas as one Ladakhi said, "culture pulls us back." This tension between want-
of pollution and caste, and is thus particularly important. Using this eval- ing to go "fo~ward"while also wanting to preserve the culture is onc of the
uative dimension, Ladakhis feel dirty. 111 the following excerpt a rural main dialogical fault lines in Ladakhi discourse today.
farmer is describing life in the West: The backwai-d-forward evaluative dimension is quite similar to the
tourists' distinction between dcvcloped and unrleveloped. Both ~osition
They certainly have clean l~ouses,as there is no one to make it dirty. Thcy Ladakh ancl the West on a tcmporal continuum, whcrc Ladakh is placed
do not have animals, no cow dung [for fuel], but we have to live in this atmo- in the past and the West in the future, and where there is an inexorable
sphere [indicating the farmhouse] movement, whereby Ladakh will eventually move into the future. The dif-
ference between Ladakhis and tourists is in their relative willingness to
Rural Ladakhi homes have packed earth floors that produce dust, and endorse the future stare as an ideal: most Ladakhis accept this evaluation,
they often cook over dung fires. The current trend for Ladakhis to build while tourists are more reluctant to invoke the West as an ideal to be
concrete floors and use gas stoves reveals the direction of their striving. strived for and are more comfortable with the tradition-modern dimen-
They feel that the traditional floors are dusty and cooking with dung is sion which privileges Ladakh over modernity. Ladakhis, for example
dirty. But such attitudes are also challenged. A couple of Ladakhis said often refer to themselves as "backward," while tourists never call Ladakhis
that in the West there is "so much pollution you can't see the sky." This "backward." Ladakhis also sonletimes speak of themselves as inferior or
idea may be an echo of tourists commenting on the masses of stars visible as less intelligent than tourists: no tourist overtly takes adopts this point
in the Ladakhi sky at night (though this is due more to altitude than lack of view. En this sense, although both dimensions offer tourists a privileged
of pollution). Also, consider the following response from an educated vil- position, tourists are ambivalent about their privileged position and hesi-
lager to a fellow villager who has just said that the West is clean: tant to accept it.
Clean in what sense? They have much garbage like cardboard packages,
wrappers, and so forth. But they have less dust. It is because they have good
roads to avoid it. But garbage-wise they are bad, and we are much cleaner. Forwards or Backwards to Happiness?

In this excerpt it is taken for granted that Ladakh is less developed, As rve have seen, Ladakhis debate within both the evaluative dimen-
that it does not have comparably good roads. Instead, the resistance is sions of culture-fashion and fo~warcl-backward,howevel; perhaps the big-
based upon a distinction between garbage and dust. While Ladakh may gest domain of debate occurs between these dimensions. The problem is
150 A. GILLESPIE Becoming Other 151

that culture-fashion and forward-backward are largely incompatible. For , ment was well rehearsed, and was glossed by the woman of the house as:
example, the ideal of going fonvard is challenged by the idea that it leads "traditional on the outside, modern on the inside." However, every mod-
toward fashion, desire, and thus dissatisfaction. This is illustrated in the ern feature-especially the large fridge and Western toilet-carried a
following exchange between old friends who are discussing what Leh was tinge of guilt, indicating that the debate was actually far from resolved.
like in 1983when they left as students to study in India: The conflict between these two contradicting evaluative dimensions, as it
appears within indivicluals, is captured in the following excerpt:
Ladakhi moderator: I remember these roads were very empty, now
see the DEVELOPMENT and the POLLUTION, I Ladakhi moderator: We are between past and f~iture
is it DEVELOPMENT? Norbu: Yes, we ai-e hanging. We liavc been born both too
Punchok: In 1983we had fewer things but people were early and too late. We don't know aboirc our own
happy. Now we have got electricity and every- culture and we don't know Weslern culturc - we
thing but we are not happy are just hanging
Dorje: The more we are DEVELOPING the more we
are unhappy Norbu feels that his generation bas been born "too late" to be part of
Ladakhi moderator: Then, we had only 6 hours electricity! the traditional culture that they fecl they should be presei-villg, and yct
Angchuk: In that SITUATION people were different and born "too early" to be modern. Hc fcels that bis generation do not kno~v
according to the pmsent SITUATION people f~illyabout either their culturc or Western culture. As he states "we are just
are different
hanging." The problem for Norbu is that neither lie culture-fashion
Sonam: In those days we had no STANDARDS8[i.e.,basic I
cliinension nor the fotward-backward cliillension offers him a privileged
development] but now we have the STAN-
position. He cannot claim the position of being part or the traditional cul-
ture and he cannot claim the position of being foiward, for that is domi-
nated by tourists.
In this excerpt the debate occurs between the culture-fashion and for-
ward-backward evaluative dimensions. The moderator begins by noting
the "development" in Ladakh and then cluestions it. Punchok and Dorje
take up the culture-fashion dimension, arguing, in line with Buddhist
principles, that although there are more commodities there is less con-
tentment. Then the moderator and Sonam emphasize the forward-back- Mapping out the three evaluative dimensions that organize Ladakhi dis-
ward dimension, stressing that then there was minimal electricity and course, and the six subject positions that they constitute, produces Figure
infrastructural deveIopment. Angchuk takes up a position between the 6.1. There are four positions that Ladakhis can maneuver between: back-
extremes, arguing that one cannot compare then and now, for everything w a d , fol-ward, culture and fashion. Tourists, on the other hand, can be
has changed. positioned as either clthadpo or cl~l~z~gfio.
There are also points where the
The basic format of this debate recurs numerous times in Ladakhi dis- line between tourists and Ladakhi blurs. Tourists by definition are for-
cussions. What is at stake is quite hndamental to Ladakhis sense of who ward, and Ladakhis strive to become foi-ward. The problem for Ladakhis
they are, where they have come from and what they should strive toward. is that this striving may lead to becoming either equivalent to a c l z h ~ ~ g l ~ o
Should they be abandoning their culture and embracing modernity? Or tourist or a clzl~~~dflo
tourist. Those Laclakhis who are positioned as follow-
should they reject modernity, and return to the imagined simplicity of tra- ing the "fashion" are seen to become increasingly like clzlzadl~otourists-
ditional life? The debate is so fundamental it is liable to paralyze action. they become "local Israelis." On the other hand, those who are moving
Simple things like building a house become complex negotiations. One foi-rvard are seen to be accumulating education and wealth, a bit like the
wealthy Ladakhi couple that I spoke to were drawing up plans for an chhugpo tourists. Interestingly, whether Ladakhis are moving fonvards or
extensive new house. As soon as i began to ask them about the details, the follo~vingthe fashion, they can be conceptualized as moving toward the
conversation turned toward the use of modern or traditional materials, tourist positions. That is, the iconic core of both "fashion" and "forward"
and whether they would have a Western or Ladakhi kitchen. Their argu- comprises imagery provided by tourists.
152 A. GIUESPIE Becoming Other 153
resentation is sustained outside the family, in the public sphere. Might
there be a similar expla~lationfor Ladakhis' double bind? Can we explain
the coexistence of these two conflicting discourses in terms of different
social contexts? Specifically, can we explain the persistence of both of
these conflicting discourses by appealing to the coexistence of two differ-
ent social acts? I11 chapter 9 I argue that this is indeed the case. The anal-
ysis wilI show how image of "me-as-backtvard" is sustained and
reproduced within the social act of modernization, whilc "me-as-cultural"
is sustained and rep-oduced within the social act of tourism.
So far, in this monograph, I have psesented a complete description of
the touring act. The touring act, like all social acts, can be observed fi-orn
the outside and can be entered into and can be understood fmm the per-
spectives tliat arise within (Mead, 1934, p. 8). Chapter 4 presented nly
ol~scrvationsof the touring act, distinguishing tourist-1,adakhi cncnun-
ters, and articulating the dynamics of each type of encounter. Chapters 5
and 6 have presented the touring act from thc inside-fi-om the perspec-
Figure 6.1. Ladakhi discourse about tourists and Ladakhis. tive of tourists and Ladakhis respectively. Our window into the pcrspcc-
tive of tourists ancl Ladakhis has been quasi-naturalistic discussions,
iepresentative of what tourists and Ladakhis might nor~nallysay among
Each of the evaluative dimensions has its own internal debates, but themselves, about themselves, and each other.
there are also debates which arise out of the clash between the forward- Comparing tourist and Ladakhi discourse clearly reveals the perspec-
backward and the culture-fashion discourses. The problem for Ladakhis is ,
tival nature of tourist-ladakhi encounters. While one can make a case for
that these dimensions carry opposite evaluations. If Ladakhis are forward drawing comparisotls in the way that both groups talk about Ladakhis,
they are denigrated for being fashionable; and if they preserve the cul- there is a clear divergence in the way they talk about and positioli tourists.
ture, such as wearing the goncILha, they feel backward. This affectively The traveler-tourist and the chhugpo-chhn(1fw discourses are in nlany ways
loaded con~adictionhas a certain correspondence to what Bateson, Jack- oppositional. While tourists strive to live like Ladakhis, to use local trans-
son, Haley, and leakland (1956) call a "double bind." Bateson et al. port and pay local prices, thc Ladakhis extend a positive identity to
worked at the interpersonal level, by conceptualizing the double bind in cl~hzrgj~otourists, namely those tourists who are willing to pay more than
terms of conflicting injunctions, For example, a mother might implicitly Ladakhis and to tip generously. How is it that this disjunction persists and
resist her child's search for affection while also scolding the child for not is perpetuated? Why does neither group take account of the other groups'
being affectionate. Bateson et al. speculate that such a pattern of commu- perspective? Thus another question that the subsequent analyses will
nication can cause psychological disorders. The issue for Ladakhis, while need to address is: Can this disjunction be made explicable in terms of
not the same, is similar: They are socialized into coveting modernity, but the touring act?
are rebuked for becoming modern. The Ladakhi self, more than the tour- The following analysis (chapters 7, 8, & 9) will attempt to situate both
ist self, seems to be precariously poised. How can we explain this? tourists' and Ladakhis' discourses, their respective "me" and "they" posi-
Social representations research has theorized contradictory beliefs, or tions, within social interaction. For example, the analysis will demonstrate
representations, at a sociogenetic level of analysis. For example, Wagner, that the traveler-tourist discourse and the rl1hrrgpo-cl7hadf10 discourse actu-
Duveen, Themel, and Verma (1999) found that in Patna in India repre- ally belong to different social acts. The traveler-tourist discourse inheres
sentations about modern psychiatry coexist with representations of tradi- to tourist-tourist social acts (i.e., the self-narration act), while the chhrtgfio-
tional healing. Wagner et al. suggest that these representations are clfhadpo discourse inheres to Ladaklli-Ladakhi social acts (i.e., the guiding
sustained in the different contexts. The traditional healing representa- and senling acts). We will find that the Ladakhi "me-as-cultural" and the
tion, they suggest, is sustained within the family while the biomedical rep- tourist "me-as-tourist-dupe" seem to be most closely related to the tour-

i n g act, which will lead us to the crux of o u r analysis: have these "me" I
positions been constructed by perspective taking within t h e touring act? I




Thcre exists a vely strong, but one-sided and thl~sunrnls~orthy,idea that
in order better to understand a foreign culture, one must enter into it, for-
l i eyes of this foreigi~cul-
getting one's own, and view the world t h - o ~ ~ gtlie
turc. This idea, as I said, is one-sidecl. Of course, a certain ently as a living
being into a foreign culture, the possibility of seeing rile world tl~mugliits
eyes, is a necessaty part of the process of understanding it; but if this were
the only aspect of this understanding, it ~roulclmerely be duplication and
would not entail anything new or enriching. Creative u.n,dersto~~clil~.g does not
renounce itself, its own place in time, its own culture; and it forgets nothing.
In order to understand, it is immensely important for tlic pcrson who
understands to be located ozttside the object of his or her understanding-in
time, in space, in culture. For one can not really see one's o~vnexterior and
comprehend it as a whole, and no mirrors or photographs can help; our
real exterior can be seen and understood only by other people, because they
are located outside us in space and because they are oflters. (Bakhtin, 1986,
p p 6-71

S o far we have followed Mead's advice a n d explol-ed t h e touring act
from both the outside (observation) a n d from the inside (listening). Now
it is time to move beyond t h e o b s e ~ ~ a t i o lof
l s t h e touring act a n d beyond

Becoming O t h e ~A
: ~ TSocinl
I I Interaction to SeZfRelecfion, 155-160
Copyright Q 2006 by Information Age Publishi~lg
All rights of reproduction in any form reserved.
156 A. GILCESPIE Becoming Other 157

the perspectives of tourists and Ladakhis by engaging in a more thor- ous "me" positions. Although ideal in theo~y,this approach is simply not
oughgoing analysis-toward what Bakhtin calls a "creative understand- practicable for there is no longituclinal source of such data. The time-
ing." That implies an analysis that goes beyond the presentation of kame required to collect such data would no doubt exceed the research
recorded data. It implies using a theory (in our case Mead's theory) to career of any one researches. While using longitudinal data from the mass
build up an interpretive framework that is outside the phenomena itself media could provide a viable substitute in different ciscumstances, it is not
(i.e., the touring act). This is the most difficult aspect of research, for it is possible in this case because historically there has been a very li~nitcd
at this point that the researcher gives up reporting empirical data, either mass media in Ladakh. Although there are a couple of texts, to which I
observed or heard, and begins to interpret that data facing perhaps the will duly refer (particularly, Galwan, 1923), they asc not extensive enough
toughest of all methodological criteria: the need to be insightful without to provide the basis for the analysis.
being implausible. My original research plan, for Ladakhi data, was to simulate longitudi-
The analytical question that guides the analysis is simply: Can we make nal data by comparing group discussions from urban Laclakl~iswill1 rural
the content of tourists' and Ladakhis' discourse about themselves and Ladakhis, making the assumption that the discourse of rural Ladakllis is
each other explicable in terms of the touring act? Specifically art: the vari- repi-cscntative of the past. Yselirnina~ywork with rural Ladakhis, ho~vever,
ous "me" positions a function of self taking the perspective of the other? showed that this assumption was quite naiive. To consider that rural
Wr example, has Ladakhis self-reflective awareness of "me-as-cultural" Ladakh somehow indicated the past of urban Ladakh is simply to perpet-
arisen from taking the perspective of tourists within the touring act? We uate the widespread representation (among both tourists and I2atlakhis)
do not expect all the discourses mapped out in chapters 5 and 6 have that Ladakll is a windo\v on tllc West's preindustrialized past. 'l'lie prob-
arisen within the touring act in Ladakh. Both tourists and Ladakhis bring lem ~vitlilllis jdca is that l-ural Ladakhis are no less enmeshed with
diverse preconceptions and symbolic resources to the touring act. This ~nodcrnitythan urban Ladakhis, or indeed tourists. R~ualLadakhis' dis-
makes the analysis difficult. We are not looking for the creation of com- cour-se is pernieatcd by the self consciurlsness of being outsidc modenlity,
pletely new meaning structures, sui genesis, but rather for the ways in which by a contraly logic, sho~\~s just bow much a product of illodernity it
which the touring act reconfigures and reconstructs extant discourses, and is (see also, Yigg, 1996). Without modernity, i-ural Ladakhis could not
utilized them for new ends. have the identity position of "me-as-backwal-d." Rural 1,adakhis may wcll
The method of analysis is an extension of the genealogical method be a rnarginalizcd group, but they are not a piece of'histo~y.
which is a method used to speculate about the origins of a discourse. The Considering thcsc constraints, the analytic strategy that I employ orig-
present chapter outlines the genealogical metl~odemployed, and the sub- inatcs in Nietzsche's (1887/1956) genealogical method. The genealogical
sequent two chapters present the actual analysis. method provides an analytical procedure that develops a historical recon-
struction from cross-sectional data. The aim of thc mcthod is to speculate
about the historical construction of a discourse by looking within the dis-
THE GENEALOGICAL METHOD course, at the structure and content of the discourse, in order to recon-
struct the complex social processes through which it 11asbeen forged.
Mead was more concerned with theory than methodology. His method- "Giving a 'genealogy' is for Nietzsche," Geuss (199412001, p. 322)
ological papers (Mead, 1917, 1929) are deeply theoretical and the empir- writes, "the exact reverse of what we might call 'tracing a pedigree.' "
ical work that he was involved in is either unpublished (for example his While tracing a pedigsee searches for a singular origin, to establish legiti-
work with Dewey in the Laboratory School, see Mead, 1910/2001; and macy ancl value, Nietzsche's genealogy exposes multiple, contingent, and
Tanner, 1997) or bears little relation to his theoretical interests (Mead, contradictory dynamics which incline toward openness, rather than clo-
Wreidt, & Bogan, 1912). In short, Mead provides little guidance as to how sure, and which tend to destabilize, rather than to secure. Ebucault has
to explore his theory empirically. Accordingly, as was observed by Valsiner been a particularly prominent exponent of the genealogical method, and
and van der Veer (1988), anyone wanting to tackle Mead's theory empiri- uses it to show the relation between power and knowledge. I, howevel; am
cally is going to need methodological innovation. not as concerned as Nietzsche to show either the contingency of histo~yor
One way in which to trace the emergence of new "me" positions within the fact that all social constsuction is "liberally sprinkled with blood"
the touring act would be to use longitudinal data. Such data would enable (188711956, p. 197). Rather; I am interested in his methodology. My con-
one to link together changes in the touring act with changes in the vari- cern is not the historical or political, but the social psycl~ological.Accord-
Becoming Other 159

ingly, I intend to appropriate the genealogical method to serve my own search for traces of those voices in order to identify them and thus iden-
interests and theorize the social process that have produced both tourist tify which interactions sustain the discourse. This, then, will be our
and Ladakhi discourses. method.
Nietzsche was a philologist by training, specializing in the reconstruc-
tion of ancient Greek texts from partial texts. Borrowing from this special-
ization, he analyzed the content and structure of nineteenth century DISTINGUISHING DIALOGICAL OVERTONES
morality, and then constructed a history that could account for that struc-
ture and content. While this ambition points to a distinctive type of analy- In order to actualize a systematic search for dialogical overtones, we first
sis, his method is, by contemporary standards, mythical. need to bc clear about which "dialogic overtones" to search for. Bakhtin's
Rigor can be brought to the Nietzsche's genealogical method by bor- focus was on others' voices as the sources of dialogic overtones. I will add
rowing from the work of Bakhtin. Specifically, Bakhtin's (1986, p. 93) con- to this the search for traces of social interactions, specifically any refer-
cept of "dialogic overtones" can help to systematize Nietzsche's ambition. ences to the touring act. A trace can be defined as any content that pro-
For Bakhtin, every utterance is a borrowing from a past context. When vides a clue as to the social process that either produce or sustain the
discourse is employed in a new context, it carries with it traces, or dialogi- given discourse. There are four traces that interest me: referenced traces,
cal overtones, of these past uses. He writes: voices, echoes and symbolic resources.
A "referenced trace" is any explicit mentioning of a social act, or a mass
The utterance appears to be Furrowed with distant and barely audible ech- medium. I am particularly colicerned with the touring act, and thus 1
oes of changes of speech subjects and dialogic overtones, greatly weakened examine how tourists and Laclakhis talk about the sightseeing act, the
utterance boundaries that are completely permeable to the author's expres-
sion... . Each individual utterance is a link in the chain of speech commun- photographing act, the house-visit act, the s e l ~ i n gact and the soulrenir
ion. It has clear-cut boundaries that are determined by the change of speech buying act and so on. Examining these refercnced traccs providcs some
subjects (speakers),but within these boundaries the utterance, like Leibniz's indication of thc meanings that the act constructs in the lnincls of tourists
monad, reflects the speech processes, others' utterances, and, al~oveall, pre- and Ladakhis. Some such traces sho-rv how self analyses the actions of
ceding links in the chain. (1986, p. 93) other in order to ascertain the meaning that self is making in the mind of
othec For example, in thc contcxt of the trekking act, villagers and guides
The inside of an utterance betrays its own nuanced history. Boundaries note how toul-ists somcti~nesrcact to village life as if it is dirty. Thus, I will
that used to be between people reappear within the utterance. Utterances arguc, thc trekking act may help to sustain the Ladakhi "me-as-back-
that used to be between people later arise side by side within the same ward."
utterance. Past speech is reformed, recontextualized and filled with new "Symbolic resources," as described in chapter 2, are semiotic elements
intent, but is never completely subordinated to a new context. I myself am drawn from the cultural stream, such as books, films, or narratives. It is
reusing the ideas of Nietzsche and Bakhtin, I mix their words with my with great frequency that tourists especially make reference to sylnbolic
own. Combining the ambition to identify the social process behind a resources, such as what they have seen in a guidebook 01- film. When these
semiotic system with Bakhtin's idea that every utterance bears traces of its are directly referenced, that is when the speaker names the symbolic
past, points toward the possibility of analyzing the content of a discourse resource, then rve have a clear indication about the origin of the given
in search of its dialogic overtones, and thus reconstructing the process image or bit of knowledge. That a book or film is mentioned does not
through which the discourse has been constructed. mean de facto that a given idea or image came from that book or film, but
Discourse can be conceived of as a network of more o r less sedimented it is a clue and must be analyzed in conjunction with other clues and
voices. While Mead emphasized the tendency of these voices, o r positions, traces.
to become generalized and abstract, Rommetveit (1974, p. 59) empha- A "voice" is a referenced quotation of othec By "referenced" I mean
sizes that they never become hlly generalized or abstract. Rommebeit's instances where the other is quoted explicitly as saying something. Voices
emphasis is important because it makes possible the tracing of the geneal- are particularly revealing because they indicate most clearly the role of
ogy of a discourse back, through the voices that populate the discourse, to other people and groups in constructing new social knowledge. An exam-
the social interactions that constituted the discourse. If voices are only pIe of a voice is when a Ladakhi quotes a tourist as saying, "your culture is
partially sedimented into the discourse, then it is possible that one can veiy nice, you should presei17eit." This voice of tourists, arising within the

Ladakhis own discourse, provides an important clue to the social origins
of the Ladakhi discourse regarding culture and fashion.
"Echoes" are instances where there is no explicit reference to the voice
of other, and yet there are indications that the utterance is a trace. A sim-
ple example of this is the fact that six times tourists mentioned, in discus-
sion with me, that Ladakhi tea (black tea, milk, salt, and butter) "tastes
better if one thinks of it as soup." This is a very specific remark; it must CHAPTER 8
have come from somewhere, yet it bears no explicit trace. None of the
tourists said they were quoting someone else, and thus none of the tour-
ists referenced the source. However, a similar remark can be found in the
Lonely Planet guidebook, Indian Himalaya (Mayhew, Plunkett, Coxall, &
Greenway, 2000, p. 214), and even further back in the National Geographic
(Abercrombie, 1978, p. 340). Thus I suspect that these six utterances are
echoes of these references to Ladakhi tea which appear in these texts.
Echoes are often difficult to identify with confidence, but can be revealing
about the origin of a discourse.
The following analysis is an attempt to identify the processes through
which both tourist and Ladakhi "me" positions have been const~ucted.In
order to pursue this emphasis on process, the analysis posed questions at
DYO levels. first, questions were directed at the function of the trace. What
The tourist self has se~~eral facets. There is the privileged "me-a-traveler"
is the meaning of the trace, in a pragmatist sense? What is this trace doing
and the denigrated "me-as-tourist-dupe." 'I'het-e is also an opposition to
in the speaker's discourse? Why is the speaker mentioning this trace?
Ladakhis: "me-a-developed" and "they-as-undeveloped." And finally,
What does this trace make possible in the discourse and thought of the
tourists distinguish Ladakhis in terms of "they-as-traditional" and "they-
speaker? The second level of q~lestioningconcerned what the trace might
as-modern." The question we now ask is: whcrc have these different "me"
tell us about the social origin of the given bit of discourse or the given
"me." Thus questions asked included: Whose voice is it? In which social and "they" positions come from? Within what social acts do thcsc domains
act does it originate? And, if a symbolic resource is identified, where OF reflective awareness arise? To what extent can we situate these aspects
might it have come from? of the tourist self ~vithinthe touring act? And specifically, do tourists' self
In trying to situate discourses, and different "me" positions, within dif- conceptions, "me-as-traveler" and "me-as-tourist-dupe," arise through
fei-ent social acts it is necessary to emphasizes that we do not expect to tourists taking the perspective of Laclakhis?
find a one-to-one correspondence. Content, once generated in one social
act, may lift off becoming operative in the organization of other social
acts. As social representations research has repeatedly demonstrated, TRACES OF "THE WHITE MAN'S BURDEN"
abstract understandings may be objectified in imagery that derives from
more concrete social acts. Thus, the process of interpretation cannot be Tourists in Ladakh confront inadequate infrastructure (intermittent sup-
rigorously formalized. Each trace needs to be analyzed on its own merits ply of electricity and water), the possibility of sickness and the actualities
and within its specific context. I
of poverty. Itladequate sanitation and suspect medical facilities frighten
tourists. In short, on a daily basis Ladakh discomforts tourists, leading
them to position Ladakh as undeveloped, and leading them to assert the

Becoining Other: An111 Social Inteinctioi~to SelfRelcclion, 161-178
Copyright O 2006 by 111nformationAge Publishing
All rights of reproduction in any form resewed.
162 A. GILLESPIE Becoming Other 163

efficiency and cleanliness of the so-called developed world. Thus at a 1972). The idea that American Indians quaintly called trains "fire wag-
most elementary level, we can say that because Ladakh does not conform ons" is still perpetuated (Knight, 1978). What is interesting in such
to tourists' habitual standards, accordingly they are stimulated to invoke a accounts is not what they purport, but rather the recurrent Western preoc-
discourse of development. Although elicited by the rupture of simply cupation with the alleged awe of "natives." From a Meadian perspective
being in Ladakh, the discourse of developed-undeveloped clearly does not this is unsurprising. It sustains Western claims to progress and technolog-
originate in Ladakh. This discourse is part of a pan-global effort to ical sophistication and consummates these through the awe and amaze-
develop the so-called developing world, and it is a discourse with a long ment of others. Ladakhis, then, furnish tourists with a means to actualize
history. Accordingly, a close analysis of this distinction between "me-as- their identity position as developed. Moreover, by sharing the fl-uits of
developed" and "they-as-undeveloped" is beyond our current scope. Nev- ! technology with Ladakhis tourists are able to do this in a manner that is,
ertheless, the touring act is a new context for the reproduction of this dis- at least ostensibly, charitable.
course, and it intersects with this discourse in some interesting- ways.
. Ron's critical reaction to Mali brings into play some older aspects of the
A closer analysis of the use of tourists' positioning of Ladakhis as unde- developed-undeveloped discourse. He is worried that her denlonstration
veloped, reveals that more is at stake than the material development of of hcr TValkn~anto the Ladakhi family will stirnulate modern and matcri-
Ladakh. One common narrative arising within the discourse of devel- alistic desircs-enticing thern away from the tradition pole toward the
oped-undeveloped concerns tourists' accounts of their visits to "remote inodcrn pole. According to Ron, the Ladakhis will be trapped by acquisi-
villages." In these villages tourists often find themselves "showing off" tive desire. Hcnce the voice of the Ladakhis: "I rnust get this." Such an
modern commodities to local Ladakhis. Digital cameras, zoom lenses, I utterance reverberates with Orientalism. 'The rcpl-cscntation of the Orient
GPS systems, and music players all become markers of modernity. When I as timeless, or stuck in llle past, and oTQricntal people as akin to children
the tourist recounts these encounters, there is a tendency to revel in the has been described by Said (1978). Ron spcaks about the Ladakhis as if
awe of the Ladakhis. The Ladakhis, as animated in tourists' tales, cannot they were children who need to be protcctccl horn the illoderll \vorlrl, lest
believe that sounds emanate "from such a small thing," and they are it should contaminate and crcate uncontrollable appetites ("they will just
described as being entranced by video cameras. More than once, I have keep thinking").
heard them exclaim that awestruck Ladakhis did not even know how to Said (1 978) traces the gencalogical roots of the Orientalist discourse to
use a camera. Such narratives position Ladakhis as both less knowledge- 1 its historical genesis in the fifteenth, sixteenth, and seventeenth centuries.
able and as desirous of tourists' possessions, while positioning the tourist Orientalism is deeply entwined with the age of imperialism because it
as developed. In these encounters, then, and in their narration, the devel- provided the symbolic and moral mcans to legitimate the domination ol'
oped-undeveloped evaluative dimension is continually being reproduced. colonies. Consider Rudyard ICipling's pocm "Thc White Man's burden."
According to this poem the colonized are "half-devil and half-child" and
Mali: I told them I have Walkman with speakers, and I told them "you it is the "burden" who need the help of colonial administrators. The point
can listen to Western music if you want" to make, is that then it was common to refer to many non-Europeans as
Ron: But, but when you leave they don't have this Walkman, and they childlike. While such sentiments are universally reject now, certainly
will just keep thinking, "I must get this" among tourists in Ladakh, the sentiment persists in a nonconscious man-
ner. Ron implicitly positions the Ladakhis as childlike.
Here we have a trace of the sightseeing act. Mali, while on a trek, vis- Ron's discourse, and the discourse of the tourists in general, ho\\7ever,
ited a rural house. In return for the hospitality she received, she offered is not simply that of Orientalism. While Orientalism provided a means to
to show the family her Walkman: to offer them a glimpse of modernity. legitimate colonial intervention, Ron is arguing for nonintei~lention.For
Arguably, Mali was being generous and sharing her resources. Reciprocal Ron the idea that Ladakhis might not be able to control their desires is
exchange is a social act that arises in many contexts. But in this particular given as a reason for concealing modernity from the Ladakhis. For
instance, Mali is positioning herself as developed and "them" as undevel- Kipling the idea that most of the peoples of the world wel-e "half-devil
oped. Mali's impulse to share her Walkrnan and the voice of the Ladakhis and half-child" legitimized the imposition of the British Empire. Thus, we
echoed in Ron's utterance ("I must get this") seems to replay the narra- find the imperialist discourse of Orientalism utilized to a new end,
tives of early European explorers in which they tell of "natives" perplexed namely, to protect Ladakhis from modernity. The paradox of Ron's posi-
reactions to gunpowder, ships, horse riding, iron (Hezel & de1 Valle, tion is that although he is trying to resist the claim that the west is supe-
164 A. GILLESPIE Becoming Other 165

rior, he comes close to reproducing this attitude by virtue of his AG: So, tourism will erode culture?
paternalism. AIan: It depends how smart they [Ladakhis] are, because a lot of
Tourists' positioning of themselves, relative to Ladakhis, seems to have tourists want cultural experiences
two sides. At face value, tourists resist any claim that Ladakh is inferior to Sheila: But will it be a put-on, like the Maori people in New Zealand
the West-but acknowledge that it would be better off with improved edu- they dress up, they don't walk around in their grass skirts,
cation, health care, and basic infrastructure. This discourse is very matter- they dress up at night, give a performance and take money
of-fact, and does not deride Ladakhis for this lack. On the more covert Alan: But they are singing their native songs, and things like that.
side, there are traces of latent Orientalism among tourists. This usually Miles: So they are retaining it
manifests as an unreflected upon feeling of superiority. Tracing the exact Alan: Tlzey are retaining it in that respect, but-
genealogical roots of this discourse are, as mentioned, beyond the scope Sheila: It's a sho~v.
of the present study as they lead far beyond the touting act in Ladakh. Alan: But, whethcr thcy are retaining it for the right reasons.
However, as I have tried to sho\v, tourists are not simply reproducing the
discourse of development, they are recreating it in new ways, to answer to Here the topic moves seamlessly from being about 1,adakhi cultrrre to
their new situation. Maori culture, but for the tourists the issue is the same: Is it "a show" or
are "they are retaining it for the right rcasons" (i.e., not a profit motive).
Thus Ladakhi cult~ire,like Maori cult~ire,instailtiatcs a morc gcneric phe-
GOAT HERDERS AND LIZARDMEN: nomenon, namely, traditional cultures confi-onting moclern tourism. This
EXPECTATION AND EXPERIENCE slippagc bet\veen Maori culture and Ladakhi culture is a trace pointing to
ecluivale~lcein the tourist's mind. It indicates that when tourists appear to
Tourist debate, about whether Ladakhis are traditional or modern, must be talking about Ladaklli culture, they map actually be addressing tradi-
first and foremost be seen as a function of their expectations. Tourists tional culture in general. It is this idea of a traditional way or lilc as
travel to Ladakh expecting to find some instantiation of Shangri-La, they opposed to that of modernity that tourists arc conccrncd with and
expect Buddhist villages and festivals, traditional communities, and Ladakh provides a vehicle for objectiEying this peculiarly modern idea.
happy peaceful people. What they find does not always conform to expec- Let us look closer at the iconic core of tourists' expectation of tradi-
tations, and it is this rupture that stimulates many of the debates that uti- tional life-the goat herder. The following excerpt is from a discussion
lize the traditional-modern evaluative dimension. Borrowing from that 1 hacl with Matt, from the United States, who had just arrivccl in Leh.
Boesch's (1991) terminology, we can say that tourists confront a should/is Matt was working for publishers of a popular guidebook, and was there to
update the coverage of Ladakh. Yet, he seemed no more informed about
discrepancy. Most of the Ladakhis in Leh do not wear traditional dress,
Ladakh than other tourists. The discussion took place in the courtyard of
and seem to be more concerned with selling souvenirs and treks to tour-
a guesthouse with several other tourists joining in the discussion.
ists than with religious practices aimed at renouncing materialistic Altho~ighMatt had never been in Ladakll before, and had not yet been to
desires. any remote villages, he still spoke admiringly of Ladakhi village life. I
From where does the expectation that Ladakhis "should" be traditional asked him if he would have liked to have grown up in a Ladakhi village:
derive? It is clear that these expectations do not only concern Ladakh.
When talking about Ladakh, tourists ate quick to make comparisons with Matt: As long as you are not hungiy, not stanling, I mean its a tough
other countries such as T~bet,Nepal, India, Indonesia, Chile, Colombia, life, but you are more with nature than you are in the States, you
Peru, Ecuador, Vietnam, China, Thailand, and Mexico. Tourists move are really living by the seasons, and by-
searnlessly from talking about Ladakhis, to talking about T~betans, AG: Is that a good thing?
Maoris, Australian Aborigines, and Native American Indians. For tourists Matt: Yeah, I think so, its how we are meant to be, its how we started
it is often as if all these peoples are manifestations of one type. That is to out as human beings, living with nature, its like the divide
say, tourists are not talking about Ladakhis per se, but rather the idea of between the settled and the nomad world, they are sort of more
"traditional culture" which they expect to be instantiated in Ladakh. For the nomads, they herd sheep [. ..] We have so many things in
example: America that distract us, there are so many things we buy, like,
166 A. GILLESPIE Becoming Other 1 67

televisions, radios - you are so worried about money, itjust ing this idea. This image is sustained not just in Chatwin's book, but in
affects how you are, but here, when you are out on the moun- innumerable other publications. This image is part of our collective imag-
tain pass with the shepherds, and all you are thinking about is ination, or social representations, of traditional life (Dudley & Novak,
just like getting your sheep back to home, and getting a getting 1972), which academia has not been immune to (Kupel; 1988). Matt,
a good night's sleep and getting up in the morning then, lives within an environment that has been collectively and culturally
Matt is invoking one of the iconic images associated with Ladakh, Returning to the corpus of 462 tourist photographs that I collected, it
namely, the nomadic shepherd. For Matt, this image crystal1izes the uto- is interesting to notice that there is not one image of a goat herdel; or a
pia of a simpIe, authentic and stress-free life that is the opposite of con- Ladakhi with animals-far less any nomads. What is going on here?
temporary American society. The depth of Matt's convictions is puzzling Surely if the image of the goat herder is the iconic core of tourists' repre-
when one considers that he has never been to the villages and he has I sentation of traditional Ladakhis then the image should be pervasive. I
never even seen a Ladakhi herder. The life of the Ladakhi herder, how- suggest that the lack of photographic cvidcnce actually underscores both
ever, is a real part of his environment. It is real enough to make him criti- tlie importance of the irnagc and the role of the mass media in sustaining
cize his own country, and real enough to motivate him to go trekking in this image. I t is easier to conjurc thc image of a goat herder in words than
the mountains. So where has this image come from? The answer emerges it is to conjure one on photographic paper. It is perhaps in thc difference
as the conversation continues: between what is photogl-aphed and the iinagcs that are generated
i through discourse that the most important images are located. It is
Matt: I'm thinking about, I read a really interesting book about this, remarkable that the core iconic image of the goat herder persists and pre-
by Bruce Chatwin, did you ever read anything by him? [Orient- I
\rails despzte the fact that most tourists are not able to olljectify this through
ing to AG] I p h ~ t o g r a p l Int
~ ~el-estingly,
. howevei; both the Nrr tionnl Geographic (Al~er-
AG: Don't think so 1 crornbie, 1978, pp. 356-357) and the Lonely Planet guidebook (Mayhew
Matt: [...I His last book Songlines, it's like half fiction, half nonfiction, 1 Ylunkett, Coxali, Saxton, & Greenway, 2000, opposite p. 129; opposite
there is a whoIe section on nomads that is really interesting, p. 273) have managed to find and photograph 1,adakhis tending thcir
things he witnessed and talking to the nomads, how they lived animals. Such irnages can also be bought in Leh, as postcards.
[pause] I guess that is why Ladakh interests me, it's that nomad Although the lived experience of Ladakh may dis~wptexpectations
life, it's life that has been going before settled civilization, it's imported from the mass media, expectations also give shape to lived
how people were, going from place to place when the weather experience. Events, places, or ways of life read about in guidebooks and
changed. seen in films, organize the expcricnce of Ladakh. Numerous aspects of
the tourists' environment are mass mediated, from factual information
The origin of the Ladakhi village of Matt's imaginings derives, at least about where the bus station is and the height of nearby mountain peaks,
in part, from the novel The Songlines by Bruce Chatwin. It concerns Aus- to less factual information regarding the character of the Ladakhis and
tralian Aborigines, and is structured according to a distinction between their place in the modern world.
settled and nomadic life. It equates settled communities with the accumu- For example, one young British student who had never strayed beyond
lation of material culture, which is harbinger of aggression and war. the precincts of the capital, Leh, was explaining in a discussion that the
Nomadic people, howevel; are fictionalized as inherently peaceful. Matt Ladakhis "have a strong sense of community." Leh stands at some remove
imports this distinction and lets it structure his experience of Ladakh. In from the idealized image of Shangri-La: it is a bustling city, with shops,
Matt's mind, Ladakhis and the Australian Aborigines are equivalent hawkers, and persuasive souvenir sellers and is in the throws of rapid
because they both participate in "life that has been going on before set- modernization as evinced by a massive increase in cars, concrete houses,
tled civilization." In fact there are only a few seminomadic populations in and ~ubbish.The tourist industry has proved so lucrative that migrant
Ladakh and Ladakh has had "settled civiiization" for over a millennium. workers from across India arrive in Leh for the summer months to work.
But, Matt is not talking about Ladakh as such. The idea of nomadic life With this in mind, I asked the young student here she saw evidence of
"before settled civilization" would exist in Matt's mind, even if Ladakh did this "sense of community" in Leh. She replied mentioned the film Ancient
not exist. Ladakh is merely an opportunity for objectifying and instantiat- Fuf~wes, and then said: "if I had not seen that film [Ancient firfzil-es],I would
168 A. GILLESPIE Becoming Other 1 69

not know how community it is." The utterance is interesting, because it civilization." The image is less a product of Ladakh than tourists' own cul-
conveys actual experience, yet the content of that experience is mass tural stream. Just as the early Jesuits ministering to Ladakh encountered
mediated. "heathens," or as itinerant traders perceived the "dangerous mountain
But expectation is not always successful at guiding experience, some- passes," so contemporaty tourists rept-esent Ladakh in terms of their own
times experience does disrupt expectation. Some visitors to Ladakh do ambivalences about modernity. And when Ladakh fails in this task, when
not see "community" in Leh, and some do not manage to instantiate the believing does not mean seeing, then the image of the lizardman is called
image of the spiritual goat herder. Indeed, there are some who feel they forth to explain how traditional life has become cori-upted by modernity.
have been cheated by Ladakhis-been charged too much for a tour or The point, however, is that although both of these images are central to
trek. How do such experiences disrupt tourists' expectations? And more the touring act, to tourists' motivations and experience, neither of these
particularly, how do tourists deal with this rupture. can be said to be constructed within the touring act.
It is in response to this rupture, I suggest, that tourists have elaborated
the image of the lizardman. The image of the lizardman, or shark, or
tout, is a semiotic structure that eases the rupture-domesticating it, mak- BECOMING THE OTHER TOURIST
ing it explicable. If a Ladakhi or a part of Ladakh does not conform to
expectation, then by invoking the image of the lizardman, tourists are As we observe whcn mapping out tourists cliscoursc about tourism, tour-
able to preserve the idealized image of the traditional spiritual goat ists are quite self-reflective and critical about tourism. Such arnbivaletlce,
herder. The image of the lizardman, then, protects the image of the goat or even self-loathing, has been found in other researrh (MacCannell,
herder from refutation. Within the touring act, then, the image of the liz- 2001; PI-cbcnscn, Larsen, & Ahclsen, 2003). Many tourists that I spoke to
ardman serves a vital function. referred to the liistory of colonialism and were strenuous in their cll'orts
However, this image does not originate in the touring act. Although to laud Iadakh and Ladakhis. FIo~vevei;when talking about othcr tour-
the rupture of Ladakh may stimulate the emergence of this image, it does ists, there do not seem to be any norms of political correctness that aim at
not actually construct this image-it simply draws it into play. The terms
curtailing their scorn and denigration. "Me-as-a-tourist" is ridiculed for
"shark," "lizardman" and "tout" are heard among backpackers across the
having only superficial experiences and having a negative impact. "Me-
globe. Because the image is inextricable bound up with the absence of the
as-a-traveler" is ridiculed for trying too hard to be anything more than
traditional, so it is as pervasive as the traditional-tourists talk about touts
and lizardmen in India, Indonesia, Latin America, and Thailand. As well just another tourist. There is no tourist "me" that is widely extended posi-
as being part of social interaction beyond the geographical boarders of tive regard. The tourist self, then, is quite peculiar. How do these aspects
Ladakh, this concept also extends back in time. Packard (1989), for exam- of the tourist self fit into the touring act?
ple, has shown how Europeans in South Africa in the early part of the
twentieth century were employing the image of the "dressed native."
Native Africans who were seen to leave behind their traditions, and Photography and the Reverse Gaze?
become too modern were seen to become weak, unhealthy, and unbal-
anced. The "dressed native" was opposed to the healthy and natural vil- The iconic core of the tourist dupe is the camera touting tourist photo-
lager. In Ladakh one can find the image of the lizardman used in the graphing locals. The numerous references to this image obviously provide
same way. Tourists speak of "modern" Ladakhis being "unbalanced," "not a trace leading back to the photographing act. Has this iconic core been
in equilibrium" and "corrupted" by the modernity that tourists brought to consti-ucted within the photographing act? Has the image of the tourist
Ladakh. One tourist told a story of how he felt saddened by the sight of dupe armed with a camera been constructed by tourists taking the per-
some Ladakhis getting drunk to the point of vomiting on "cheap Indian spective of Ladakhis?
rum." One can see how "cheap Indian rum" objectifies the pernicious In the description of the touring act (chapter 4), the power of the
effects of an imported modernity-it is seductive, shallow, and destruc- reverse gaze was emphasized. The reverse gaze is the power of the Lacla-
tive. khi photographee to constitute the tourist photographer as a tourist
Ladakh is a vehicle for tourists to objectify preexisting ideas and dupe. The dynamics of the reveres gaze, then, would seem to link "me-as-
images about traditional life-"life that has been going on before settled a-tourist-dupe"' with the perspective of the Ladakhis within the photo-
170 A. GILLESPIE Becoming Other 17 1

graphing act. The follo~vingexcerpt, from a discussion with British tour- Ladakhis in a respectf~llmanner. It is disrespecthl, they argued, for tour-
ists, also suggests the link: ists to photograph Ladakhis when they are working or in work apparel.
However, if the Ladakhi subject is dressed in his/her traditional dress,
AG: Have you taken many photos? [Orienting to Norman]. then pfiotographs should only engender pride for Ladakhis. Accordingly,
Betty: Now be honest! [Orienting to Norman]. the suspicion of tourist photographers that has been noted in other cul-
Norman: Yes, but, I'm nervous about taking people. tures (Bi~lner,2005, p. 219; Cohen, Nil; & Almagol; 1992), while not
Carol: Yes, people, I find difficult, I find embarrassing. absent, does seem to be much attenuated in Ladakh.
Norman: I am really against pointing cameras at people, because it is Thus it appears that the reverse gaze, felt so powerf~~lly by tourists, is
like they are in a zoo, so I normally take photographs of the I
not in Tact a function of the actual perspective of Ladakhis. If tourists were
landscape ...its so zude and disrespectful. in fact taking the perspective of Ladakhis they would, at least sometimes,
feel good when taking photographs of, for example, a Ladakhi proudly
Carol states that taking photographs of Ladakhis is embarrassing. wearing their traditional dress: they would recognize that they were giving
Embarrassment is a social emotion, and begs the question: in whose gaze a compliment, or a gesture of recognition, to their subject. Howevel; I
is she embarrassed? Carol, like other tourists, finds it embarrassing havc found little evidence to support this. Accordingly, the iclea that the
because of the reverse gaze and it is this that makes Noiman feel that such power of the reverse gaze over tourists steins from to~~rists literally taking
an activity is "rude and disrespecthl." That tourists are taking the per- the perspective of Ladakhis must be abandoncd in favor of a more subtle
spective of Ladakhis within the photographing act, and becoming "rne-as- I interpretation.
a-camera-touting-tourist" is also supported by the range of strategies that
tourists have for surreptitiously taking photographs of Ladakhis. Zoom
lenses and quick snapshots are ways of avoiding the reverse gaze, and thus 1 Souvenirs and Duped Tourists
avoiding the perspective of Ladakhis that seems to cause such discomfort.
When caught in the reverse gaze, are taking on the actual perspective Analyzing the exact nahire of what differentiates the tl-avelet-TI-om the
of Ladakhis? Do Ladakhis feel objectified and degraded by tourist pho- tourist dupe in tourists' discourse, reveals a second set of traces that point
tography? The simple answer is, rarely. Ladakhis are proud of their cul- back toward the serving act, or specifically, the b~~ying/sclling of souvenirs
ture, they dress up in their traditional dress, and they join in various act. On several occasions, tourists laying claim to the position of "trav-
festivals partly for the benefit of tourists. Being photographed is under- eler," told of authentic encounters with Ladakhis where the tourist got
stood in terms of preserving Ladakhi culture and promoting tourism. "backstage" (MacCanaell, 1973), and had access to something that the
Indeed, compared to other countries it seems relatively rare for Ladakhis avcragc tourist does not see. In the narration of these encounters it is
to ask for money for being photographed-though one could argue it is I
important for tourists to add that the Ladakhi who showed the tourist
an increasing trend. The Ladakhi children like to be photographed, and backstage did so "but not with the interest of earning some money." If the
there have been times when I have been with Ladakhis when the only I
Ladaklli were guided by a profit motive, then the encounter would not
polite thing to do was to take a photograph. As argued in chapter 4, by- I qualify as being an authentic one. To encounter a Ladakhi who is not
and-large, taking a photograph of Ladakhis, especially if they are wearing interested in money has twofold significance. First, because the "real" tra-
traditional dress, is understood in terms of valuing Ladakhi cutture. ditional Ladakhi is not possessed of materialistic desires, this indicates
The most negative views that I have heard came from some young that one has located the "real" Ladakh. Second, it suggests that one has
male guides who, fortified by some Indian rum, were encouraged to speak been accepted on an equal footing by Ladakhis (i.e., not see simply as a
openly. One of the group provocatively stated that tourists visit Ladakh in wealthy tourist) and thus positions self as a traveler.
the same way that they might visit a zoo. While some of his colleagues Again .rue are dealing with the importance of the perspective of the
agreed, others strongly resisted the idea, arguing that tourists make an Ladakhis for tourists. The power of the perspective of Ladakhis to consti-
effort to learn Ladakhi, that they eat Ladakhi food and that they are tute tourist identity is most evident in the cases where encounters are sus-
interested in Ladakhi culture because they are bereft of their own. I have I pected to be tainted or inauthentic. The following exchange occurred
also heard reservations expressed about tourist photography from a cou- between tourists when discussing their encounters with Ladakhi shop-
ple of elderly Ladakhis, who questioned whether photographs portray keepers.
172 A. GILLESPIE Becoming Other 173

Nick: I wonder if they [the souvenir sellers] sit around and brag about being laughed at by locals, but again, this concern does not appear to
how much they have ripped tourists off originate in tourists taking the actual perspective of Ladakhis.
Ros: Yeah, when you are in the shop, trying to buy something, and
there is two people talking Ladakhi together, I mean just in the
middle when you are discussing the price and that, it's like now I
Whose Perspective are the Tourists Taking?
they are saying "ha ha, she is going to buy it at that price!"
l i t h i n both the photography act and the buyinglselling souvenirs act,
This excerpt pertains to the social act of buying a souvenir. The fact the perspective of Ladakhis is f~~ndamental-it is able to constitute the
that the Ladakhis are speaking Ladakhi rather than English opens up an tourist as "me-as-a-tourist-d~~pe." Yet, in neither case do tourists seem to
unknowable blind spot that gives free rein to tourist paranoia and anxiety, be taking the actual perspective of L.ac1akhis. From a Meacliat~standpoint,
and consequently demands reconstruction and domestication. These this is no surprise. Because there has been no position excllange, the basis
shopkeepers are "lizardmen," and they are attributed with the motivation for perspective-taking is limited. Tourists have quite patently never been
of exploiting tourists. The ambivalence arising from the "ha ha" in this in the position of bcing born into a "backward" community, of selling sou-
excerpt is suficient to cast this woman, self-reflectively, as a tourist dupe. venirs to tourists, or being photographed by strangers who are relatively
Such a laughing attitude on the part of Ladakhis is particularly damaging much wealthier. Thus, tourists simply do not have the necessary experien-
to tourists' identity, because it indicates a distinctive failure in their enter- tial content to generalize to Ladakhis-there is an experiential gulf
prise. Most tourists travel to Ladakh guided by the alluring representa- between tourists and Ladakhis.
tion of a traditional Buddhist life, a life untainted by money and So, whose perspective are the to~rriststaking? I want to suggest that
modernity. To be scammed by Ladakhis, then, means that the tourist has tourists are committing a variant of the psychologists' fallacy. They con-
not only been duped, but has failed in their quest to find the "real" fuse their own perspective on tourists wit11 that of Ladakhis. Or to be
Ladakh. The laugh, then, constitutes the tourist as "rne-as-a-tourist- more precise, tourists mis-attribute their own perspective to Ladakhis. In
dupe." the abscnce of knowing the actual pcrspcctivc or I,arlakhis, tourists simply
Are tourists taking the actual perspective of Ladakhi shopkeepers? As assume that they must share their perspective. Tourists scorn tourist pho-
with the photographing act, in the buyinglselling act the evidence sug- tographers and thus they assume that the Ladakhis do likewise. Tourists
gests that tourists are not actually taking the perspective of Ladakhis. As deride tourists who pay too much for souvenirs, or who purchase fake sou-
part of my ethnographic work in Ladakh, 1 spent considerable time with venirs, and so they assume that Ladakhis think in the san~eway.
guides and souvenir sellers in order to discover the ways in which they The discomfort that tourists feel when apparently taking the perspec-
manipulate tourists. One outcome of this effort was my discovery that tive of Ladakhis reveals more about tourists' own attitudes toward tourism
there are far fewer scams than tourist discourse would suggest. Although than it does about those of Ladakhis. Caught by the reverse gaze, the eyes
there are certainly instances when tourists pay inflated prices, and it is of the 1,adakhi demand subjectivity, and the only subjectivity with which
very common for tourists to buy fake antiques and souvenirs, the salient the totlrist can endow them, is their own. Eq~ially,when in the sou~venir
point is that Ladakhis are not likely to laugh at tourists for doing so. shop, and the shop assistants speak in Ladakhi, the tourist wants to put
meaning in these words, and the only meaning they can put in them is
Rather, they are more likely to regard such tourists as generous, as
their 01~11.Thus the tourists are their own experiences and
chhugpo. Negative evaluations, from Ladakhis, are far more frequent in
attributing them to Ladakhis. If we want to find the social origin of "me-
relation to "travelers" who want to pay local prices (i.e., chhadpo tourists) as-a-tourist-dupe" then it is not with Ladakhis we should be concerned,
and thus bargain excessively. Thus, in hindsight it is apparent to me that but tourists: Where have tourists got this idea?
my own interest in the strategies that the shopkeepers use to profit from
tourists was in fact part of the tourist preoccupation with being scammed.
Not surprisingly, the knowledge I did glean from these investigations was Tourists Vying for Status
very valuable in discussions with tourists. Tourists want to know about I
these "scams"' and, it is this interest which is more revealing than the I
I When we take a close look at the distinction between tourists and trav-
actual scams. Tourists are often concerned with being ripped off, and elers and ask, within what social acts does it serve to coordinate perspec-
174 A. GILLESPIE Becoming Other 175

tive? We find that it operates between tourists-not between tourists and ing oneself vis-his other tourists. In the above excerpt, Janet, Frank, and
Ladakhis. The distinction behveen tourists and travelers gains its mean- I are not only echoing the Lonely Planet, we are keen and quick to do so.
ing within the self-narration act, within the vying that occurs between Not to share in this knowledge is to become a tourist dupe.
tourists, and in tourists attempts to position themselves favorably vis-A-vis Tourists' concern to differentiate themselves from one another seems
one an other. to have a relatively recent histoiy. There is little evidence for a traveler-
The Lonely Planet guidebooks certainly employ a distinction between tourist distinction during the eighteenth and ninctccnth centuries, when
tourists and travelers. These guidebooks refer to their readers as "trav- the trend among British aristocrats was to send their offspring abroad to
elers" and promises to take these readers "off the beaten track." One of tour the Continent, particularly Paris and Rome (Chaney, 1998). Travel
the ways it achieves this is by making explicit the beaten track which would take several months and often involvc considerable hardship,
"tourists" folIow. Restaurants, guesthouses, towns, tourist sites, and tour- reminding us of the etymology of travel (t~auail(Fr.), travail, torture).
ist events are continuaUy evaluated according in terms of being touristy. Within British society, the tour was a sort of rites of passage as well as a
For exampie, in relation to the festivals in Ladakh, the Lonely Planet mark of class distinction. Having been on a tour was sometliing to bc
authors write: proud of, not something to be ridiculed.
It is possible, however; that the advent of mass toixrism which chal-
The festivals often used to take place in winter, but many have now moved lenged the exclusivity of travel helped to instigate the distinction between
to the summer to coincide wilh another important part of the year: the ti-avcl and tourism. The advent of rail, Thomas Cook, and acmplancs
tourist season. (Mayhew et al., 2000, opposite p. 241) have successively takcn the "travail" out of "travel." No longcr docs a trip
to Paris or Rome take several months. Moreovcl; during the last half a
This excerpt does many things. It again underscores the influence of centuiy there has also been a spectacular increase in the 11111nberof peo-
tourism on Ladakhi culture as distorting the culture. The tourists who ple traveling abroad for holidays. 111 1971 alrnost 7 million U.K. residelits
attend such a festival are not getting an authentic experience, and more traveled abroad for a holiday, whilc in 2003 just over 41 million traveled
than this, they are contributing to the distortion of Ladakhi culture. I h a r abroad. Xurism has becomc a mass phenoineuo~i.Tlle World Tourism
is interesting about such statements, is not simply that they reproduce the O~ganisationcstitnates that in 2003 there were almost seven hundrcd mil-
traveler-tourist discourse, but that they constitute Ladakh for tourists. lion international tourist arrivals across tlie globe. Within thc climate of
The following excerpt, from a discussion I had with a Dutch couple about mass tourism, airlines struggle to maintain a scnse oTexclusivity (Thurlow
one of the cultural festivals: & Jarvorski, 2006). Mass tourism, it seems, has debased the currency of
the Grand Tour.
Janet: It's their festival, they like it In Bourdieu's (1986) terms, one could argue, the cultural capital that
Frank: No its not their festival, their festival is in winter, I think one can claim from tourism has been greatly reduced. Travel itself is not
AG: Well they move them now to the summer- enough to distinguish one from ones' fellows, accordingly, those traveling
Frank: For the tourists! have turned upon themselves, and now attempt to clistinguish themselves
Janet: (-For the tourists!) Yeah I know from one another. The way in which the traveler-tourist discourse oper-
ates behveen tourists is evident in the following excerpt. The excerpt con-
Janet, Frank, and I are echoing the Lonely Planet. Exactly the same tains the opening exchange in which I am trying to establish some
information was traded in three other group discussions. According to my rapport with a middle aged woman:
researches, the information is only minimally correct. Correct or other-
wise, we ask why has it been taken up? I would suggest that its popularity AG: So, why did you come to Ladakh?
derives from the fact that equips tourists with a resource by which they Cindy: 'Cos I wanted to take the bus ride, I wanted to see the scenery
distinguish themselves, as a traveler, from the other tourists. Knowledge AG: What had you heard about it?
about which festivals are "authentic" and which are "for the tourists," like Cindy: kvell you see I have traveled the Karakorams, I have trav-
knowledge about local prices, local habits, untouristy vilIages, and restau- eled overland to Tibet by bus, I love the mountains, [pause]
rants, are propagated by the guidebooks and by word-of-mouth. This is I heard Ladakh was a nice place, but really I wanted to make
because they are resources for self-making, or more ~reciselyfor position- the trip
176 A. GILLESPIE Becoming Other 177

AG: So you're going down by bus? Position Exchange: Becoming Other
Cindy: Sure [laughing] I would not consider any other way!
AG: I took the bus once and I have flown every time since How can tourists, within the self-narration act, take each other's per-
Cindy: Well I think I am a hardier traveler than you, because I am a spectives? IVllile there is little position exchange between tourists and
traveler Ladakhis, there is much position exchange between tourists. Accordingly,
AG: [Outraged] I am a traveler too! I suggest, that position exchange can provide the answer.
Cindy: Yeah, well, I am a hard traveler. No tourist can be a tourist all the time, and most tourists spend the vast
majority of their time not being tourists. Every year millions of people
Among tourists there is a clear hierarchy of modes of travel to Ladakh, step into the social position of tourist, and then a wcek or two later, they
from the most respectable to the most "touristy" these are local bus, tour- step out of it. Some people move between the social positioi~of tourist
ist bus, private jeep, and aeroplane. To take the bus from Delhi takes 3 and rlontourist several times in a year. This fact is important because it
days minimum (but can take many more depending upon the weather), rneans that in order to understand tourists' discourse tourism, we must
while flying takes about an hour, but costs considerably more. To travel by also take into account the fact that these people will also be talking about
road, is to retrace the traditional trading routes, while to travel by air is to the status of the tourist when not in tliis social position and thus at liberty
to ridicule them without comprolnising their ow11 identity. All tourists-to-
become naive to the sheer scale of the Himalaya. To properly appreciate
be Ilave previously been tourist observers at home. They havc bccn
the Himalaya, the argument goes, one must travel for days, up valleys and annoyed when tourists drivc too slowly or take up all the scats on thc
across passes. train. They have laughed at the lost tourists, and puzzled at the popular-
Cindy, who spoke with an American accent, was so attached to her ity of torlrist sights. They have seen tourists cornc and go. '17hey have seen
identity as a traveler that when I asked her where she was from she said tonrist attractions created for profit. Anyonc who lives near an attraction
"everywhere." I pressed the question, and she explained that she had will doubtless have talcs to tcll.
been a traveler for so long that the question of whei-e she came from was The ridic~ileof the tourist othel; when self is a nontourist, also occurs
meaningless. From thc beginning of this exchange, Cindy is clearly stak- in the mass media. The conGscd package tourist, on a bus tour of
ing a claim as a traveler. She has "traveled the Karakorams" and "traveled Europe, provides the butt of humor in the film Ifit's Ti(esday, Tlli~Musf be
overIand to Tibet by bus." Cindy wants to put the "travail" back into Belgi~~?~z.'l'he film NafionuE Lanzl,oon'~ Elu.ol,eon I'acofion targets tourist
"travel." ignorance and misunderstanding. I11 the popular Tinliu cartoons, Tomp-
Cindy's confident assertion that she is a "hardier" traveler than me son and Thompson, provide recurring alnuselnent with their enthusiastic
elicits my somewhat outraged retort and counter-assertion that I too am hut misguided attempts to blend into local culture. Ei-om the comfort of
a traveler. Being a researcher in Ladakh I was used to being accorded a an armchair, or while seated around ones kitchen table, secure in the
respectful social position in the tourist pecking order. This is one of the social position of not being a tourist, it is easy to ridicule tourists.
ferv occasions when that privileged position was challenged. Even now, The problem arises when one goes on holiday. Once abroad, positions
writing about this exchange, I feel the need to legitimate my reasons for are exchanged. The tourist-to-be, must take up the social position of
flying rather than taking the bus. I will resist, however, for to protest is being a tourist. Self steps into the previously ridiculed social position of
to collude in the game of positioning that tourists play, but the tempta- the other. Several tourists, I suspect, barely realize that they are in fact
tion is great. The issue at stake is recognition. And it is within this game taking u p the social position of the tourist. It is not an identity position
of recognition, this self-narration act, that the distinction between tour- that they identify with. Instead, it is quite likely that they maintain their
habitual set of identifications, and observe that they just happen to be
ist and traveler is most evident. "Me-as-aeroplane-tourist" becomes
traveling, all the while believing that they are not "really" tourists. How-
actualized, for me, in Cindy's perspective. And her "me-as-traveler"
ever, as their tour progresses they will find that locals and other tourists
becomes actualized in her attempt to gain recognition for me. Both of position them as tourists. Then the "me-as-tourist-dupe" becomes mani-
these do entail the perspective of another, but it is not a Ladakhi other. fest. It arises through perspective-taking, for example the reverse gaze
Both of these "me" positions arise between tourists, within the self-nar- witllin the photographing act, but it is not this perspective that provides
ration act, by tourists taking each others perspective toward themseIves. the content of the "me." The content of the "me" is provided by that tour-

ists' own ridicule of other tourists, either in actuality or in the media. The
tourist becomes other to themselves, ostensibly by taking the perspective
of the other, but at a deeper level, I argue, they are taking their own per-
spective on other tourists and applying this to themselves-thus they are
led to react to themselves in the same way that they react to others.


Tourists' representation of self and other is a bricolage (Levi-Strauss,
1962), it is a patchwork quilt, drawing into play diverse images and repre-
sentations. Tourists are embedded in a stream of culture, and out of this
stream they are drawing upon the deep-seated discourse of Orientalism,
upon discourses that are propagated in the media and in guidebooks.
Our search has been for aspects of the tourist self that have been con-
structed within the touring act.
The reverse gaze of Ladakhis can constitute a photographer caught in
the act of photography as a "typical tourist." Yet, it is not the Ladakhi per-
spective, per se, that is fundamental to tourist discourse about tourists.
Analysis reveals that tourists are not internalizing the actual perspective of
Ladakhis, rather they attribute to Ladakhis their own perspective toward The Ladakhi self and the Ladakliis conccption of tourists is ol-ganized
tourists. aIong three main dirncnsinns. For Ladakhis "me-follo~ving-cult~lre" as
It is easier to assume the perspective of the other when one has been in opposed to "me-following-fastiioa" is fi~ndaniental.While \vl-~eadealing
the social position of the other. Tourists have never been in the social ~vitlltourists they are more interested in "them-as-chh~cgpo"and "tl~cm-as-
position of the Ladakhis. They do not know what it is like to grow up in a cl~hady~o."The discourse that gathers about the fo~~vard-backward dirnen-
region that is widely described as poor and undeveloped, or what it is to sion, is more oriented to\vards distinguishing Ladakhis fi-om tourists: "we-
be toured by those who are much wealthier and developed, However, arc-backward" and "they-al-e-fot~i~ard." These different "me" and "thry"
tourists have both at home and abroad, seen and criticized other tourists. images repeatedly arise within Ladakhi discourse-these are relatively
They have participated in the mass media's ridicule of the tourist dupe stable components of the Ladakhi self.
and they have their own tales to tell. It is this stock of experience from The present chapter asks where have these components of the Ladakhi
which they generalize when taking the perspective of Ladakhis. self come from? What is the historical origin of these "me" and "they"
"Me-as-traveler" and "me-as-tourist-dupe,'' while they may arise when positions? More specifically, have these new aspects of reflective self-
tourists take the perspective of Ladakhis, seem to be primarily located alvareness been constructed in the touring act? The vast majority of these
within tourist-tourist interactions. Tourists, when they meet, do jostle for self-images and other-images have not, unsurprisingly, originated in the
status, and the traveler-tourist distinction is particularly potent in these touring act. Distinguishing the other in terms of profitability is hardly
interactions. new, and the distinction between forward and backward obviously par-
takes in a discourse much larger than tourism in Ladakh. However, I do
ant to argue that the Ladakhi "me-as-possessor-of-cult11re" has been
greatly shaped by the touring act. Much of the present chapter is in fact a

B E C O T IOthe,:
I ~ ? ~ Aaut
~ Social Infemction to Self-Relection, 179-204
Copyrigllt O 2006 by Information Age Publishing
All rights of reproduction in any form 1-eselved.
180 A. GILLESPIE Becoming Other 181

close analysis, which while recognizing the multiple social origins of any rooted in the touring act, and has a genealogy that goes back to the early
"me," tries to situate this particular "me" within the touring act, showing interactions between Europeans and Ladakhis.
how it comes about through Ladakhis reconstructing the perspective of But cizhz~gpo-chhadpodistinguishes more than wealth. The chhadf~otour-
tourists upon themselves. ist is looked down upon for satisfying him or herself with material and
sensual pleasures. Moreover, this crass materialism is seen to be "spoiling"
the young Ladakhis-tempting them away from traditional values and
TOURISTS AS "HUNGRY GHOSTS" virtues. This aspect of the distinction is not evident in Galwan's (1923)
text. For Galwan, a poor sahib is not necessarily a morally bad sahib. On
The immediate social origins of the distinction between cfthugpo and the contra~yhe develops demonstrable respect for one such poor sahib. So
chhadpo tourists lie in the pragmatic function of this distinction. Tourism where has this new moral aspect of the chh~~gpo-chhatl$o distinction come
in Ladakh has created a rupture for Ladakhis, raising questions such as: from?
Which tourists are going to bring the biggest profit? Which tourists will Analyzing the way in which Ladakhis criticize the behavior of certain
respect Ladakh? And, which tourists will have a negative impact on tourists and lifestyles from affluent countries reveals a distinct trace of
Ladakh? The chhugpo-chhadpo distinction provides Ladakhis with a dis- Buddhism. Consider the follo~vingexchange, in which a young man f1-0n1
course to frame and address these questions. It is a discourse that directs a 111ral village is asked by one of my Larlakhi colleagues, to describe
Ladakhis toward some tourists and away from others. It shapes the way in America:
which they interact with tourists and, for example, the bargaining strate-
gies employed. Ladakhis will go out of their way in order to work with Ladakhi moderator: Describe America
chhu@o tourists, in the hope of gaining tips in the short-term, or maybe Tsering: I have never been thcrc
even a long-term friendship that can lead to sponsorship or romance. Ladakhi moderator: You can imagine what its like
Nevertheless, the basic distinction (which partakes in the distinction Tsering: There it is a matcrialistic life, there is machincly
between rich and poor, the pure and the corrupting) has a history that for everything, even for making foocl, this is
extends far beyond tourism. what I heac Now there is a gas system for cook-
The rich-poor aspect of the chhzcgpo-chhadpo, without a moral loading, ing, this did not exist before, and they have a
is clearly evident in Galwan's (1923) account of the tourists he met in and machine for washing CUPS and utensils. They
around Ladakh about a century ago. Galwan for example, distinguishes have a vely busy life, thcy are never free always
Europeans and traders in terms of "poor sal~ibs" and "rich suhibs." Gal- busy, they don't have time to spellcl with their
wan's concern is to distinguish explorers to facilitate his own interest in family, they are vely busy with their own life, so
making money, and to a lesser extent, in terms of the prestige they would America, it is very happy for a moment, all these
bring him through association. Today, the interest in making money from things are happy for a short time, but not for a
foreigners is sustained in the touring act. long time, so they have eve~ythinglike, they can
The relation that Galwan had with his European explorers is similar to eat what they like, but this does not make them
the relation that Ladakhi guides today have with tourists from high- happy [... ]This is why there should be pressure
income countries. The tourists, although less ambitious than the explor- to preserve CULTURE
ers that went before them, want to trek and discover remote places. Lada-
khi guides, who earn a living from guiding tourists, are also in a similar Tsering describes Americans as having "machinery for evelything" and
situation to Galwan. From a Ladakhi point of view the touring act is not "they can eat what they like," but "this does not make them happy." In
primarily about sightseeing or meeting new people, it is about making order to understand Tsering's idea, that the f~~lfilment of material desires
money. And it is in the context of this interest that the distinction of tour- does not lead to contentment, we need to understand the moral frame-
ists into those who are rich and those who are poor is usehl. It is a prag- work of Buddhism. Buddhism maintains that desire is the basis of all suf-
matic knowledge that can assist guides in selecting which tourists to work fering. Desires, the Buddha argued, are never ending; as soon as one
with, how to interact with them, what to show and do with them, and how desire is satisfied, a new desire arises. This never ending chain of desire,
to encourage tips from them. Thus the rich-poor distinction is firmly the Buddha argued, is the source of suffering because people are not ful-
182 A. GILLESPIE Becoming Other 183

filled, but always wanting. Accordingly, the Buddha advised the renuncia- The wheel of life provides a discursive-iconic semiotic system that can
tion of desire as a means of escaping the endless cycle of suffering, thus be used as a symbolic resource, to categorize and make sense of people
achieving contentment with the here and now. This basic understanding and behavior. When my Ladakhi colleague described tourists as "hung~y
of desire and suffering is deeply rooted in Ladakhi culture. In the above ghosts" he was drawing upon a rich set of image~y.Hungry ghosts have a
excerpt we can see Tsering interpolating this moral framework in order to ravenous desire that is confounded by the fact that they have a mouth the
imagine life in America and particularly to imagine why this life is not size of a needle eye and a throat as thick as a horse hair, Accordingly, the
good. For Tsering, the very fact that people living in high-income coun- hungly ghosts run about frantically, trying, unsuccessfully, to satisfy their
tries have fulfilled so many manual necessities, as facilitated by the advent hunger and thirst. Whenever they do manage to get a drink, the liquid
of machines for making food and washing up, means that hrther desires turns to fire in their mouth, thus only exacerbating their thirst. In Laclakh
have been created, thus leading to discontentment. Although Tsering there are various religious festivals which are aimed at temporarily placat-
does not say it, there is a widespread belief among Ladakhis that it is this ing the hungry ghosts, with ofierings of fine foods. There are three points
very discontentment that motivates tourists' to travel to Ladakh. Accord- of similarity between hungry gllos~sand tourists that merit our attention,
ing to Ladakhis, people trapped within the circle of desire have a ten- First, both move from place to place-the h u n g ~ yghosts are never happy
dency to travel about in the hope that Iife may be better elsewhere. with where they are. Second, one is born into the realm of the hungry
This is not to say that Buddhism is the only trace in the above excerpt. ghosts as a Lollsequence of desire and addiction, and chhadpo tourists arc
In the middle of Tsering's utterance one can hear the echoes of the time- dearly associated with addiction to alcohol, other narcotics and carnal
poor cash-rich tourist urbanites-telling the Ladakhis about their "veiy excess. Third, hung~yghosts' dcsires make them gi-eedy, and rhhnrljlo
busy life" without time to spend with their families. I have certainly heard tourists who drive a hard bargain and insist up011 paying no more than
tourists tell about such concerns to Ladakhis. But equally, the Ladakhis local prices are seen to bc somcwhat greedy and too attached to their
themselves are somewhat surprised by how busy tourists are-even wealth.
though they are on holiday, they say, they are still busy going from gompa Tsering's utterance also reveals something about the unconditionally
to gompa. positive evaluation that 1,adakhis havc regarding their culture-"me-as-
One Ladakhi colleague informally described tourists to me, as "hungry possessor-of-ailt~irc."Tsering draws out of the descl iption of America, an
ghosts." In Buddhism there are six realms of being: hell, semigod, ani- implication: "This is why there sho~ildbe pressure to preserve CUL-
mal, human, warring titans, and hungry ghosts. So long as an individual TURE." Tlle opposite to the runaway desires of tousists and the West, is
is caught up in desires, then, each time they die they ~viIlbe re-born "culture." Within Tsering's utterance the "they" slides into the "us-in-the-
within one of these realms. Those who have been proud and complacent fiitui-e." Tsering's point is that if Ladakhis do not preserve their cultul-e,
are born into rcalm of the semigods, where pleasure is everywhere, yet the then they will become like the tourists. 'There is a choice to make, between
pleasure is transitory, for rebirth will lead into another realm. Those who the path of desire and the path of the Buddha. Extrapolating (more than
have been ignorant of the path of Buddhism are born into the animal tve should at this stage), it is tempting to say that if America is samsara (the
realm, where they are dominated by the base instincts. Those who have cycle of desire, of birth, and rebirth) then Ladakhi culture is to be eq~iatecl
exercised choice and control are born into the human realm, where they with nii~rana.
are given the option to foUow the path of the Buddha. Those who have Interestingly, it is common knowledge among the guides that the
committed evil deeds in anger are reborn in the hell realm to a life of Israeli women, while being the most chhadj~o,are also the most beautiful.
pain and suffering. Those who have been envious and filled with too As a key cl?hadfo image, they are usually described as scantily dressed.
much hubris are born into the realm of the warring titans. Because each From a Ladakhi standpoints these women bring diseases like AIDS into
of the titans is envious and ambitious, this realm is in perpetual war. Ladakh. According to Buddhism, objects of desire are deceptive, for
Those who have been carried away by desire and addiction are born into desire can only lead to frustration. Thus, by applying the logic of Bud-
the realm of the hungry ghosts. The hungry ghosts suffer insatiable hun- dhism to tourism, it is clear that the most desirable tourist must also be
ger and thirst. One can escape the wheel of life, the cycle of birth and the most pernicious. One could argue that most religious frameworks are
rebirth, by recognizing that the path out of all suffering lies in renuncia- suspicious of desire and temptation. However, I am not making the point
tion of desire as delineated by Buddhist teachings. that this is unique to Ladakhis, rather I am simply pointing out that Lada-
184 A. GILLESPIE Becoming Other 185

khis seem to be using the moral framework that they have access to (i.e., rily within these social acts and discourses that the Ladakhi "me-as-back-
Buddhism) in order to understand tourists. ward" exists.
We are now in a position to return to the question raised in chapter 7: Nevertheless, the totiring act does contribute some content and affect
Why are the evaluative dimensions of chhugpo-chhadpo and traveler-tourist to this "me." Specifically, the sei-ving act, when looked at from a Ladakhi
almost polar opposites? Why do tourists value travelers who spend little perspective, can contribute to "me-as-backward," endo~vingit with some
money while Ladakhis value chhugpo tourists who spread their wealth distinctive resonances. In the creation of these new meanings, Ladakhis
about? The answer is now quite clear. These two discourses pertain to dif- are taking the perspective of tourist, but as we will see, tourists are not
ferent social acts. T11e traveler-tourist discourse inheres to the social act of explicitly giving Ladakhis tl~eir~~erspective. Tourists are more keen to talk
tourists jostling for status in the self-narration act, while the chhugpo- about the culture of Ladakh than its lack of development. But the contri-
chhadfo discourse works between Ladakhis as they coordinate to try and bution of the serving act is not in terms of what is said, rather we are deal-
profit from tourists. The traveler-tourist discourse serves tourists' interests ing bet-t: wit11 infercncc, Illlintended consecluetlces and soirie
in authenticity and distinction, while the chliuglbo-chhadpo discourse serves misunderstanding. Let us begin with Goffrnan's (1959) distinction
Ladakhi interests in profiting from tourism (and avoiding the negative between expressions "given" and expressions "given-off."'
moral effects of tourism). There is no social act bemeen tourists and
Ladakhis which brings these two discourses into confontation, and there The expressiveness of ~ l l ei~~dividual.. . appears to involve two radically dif-
is no position exchange that enables either tourists' o r Ladakhis' to per- ferent kinds of sign activity: the expression that he gives, and the expression
ccive tourists from the perspective of the other. Thus we find that the that he gives off. The first involves verbal symbols or their substitutes tvliicll
divergence of perspective at the level of ideas, discourses and representa- lle uses admittedly and solely to convey the information that he and the oth-
tions is sustained by divergent patterns of interaction. crs are known to attach to these symbols. This is comm~micatiotlin the tra-
ditional and narrow scnse. The secoilcl iiivolves a wide range of action that
others can treat as sy~nptomaticof the actor, the expectatioll being that the
action was perfbrmed for reasons other than the information conveyed in
this way. (1959, p. 14)

"Me-as-backward" is a central component of the Ladakhi self. It is There are two charitlels rlirougli which tllc perspective of tlie other can
opposed to the West, which is conceived to be "folward." These very met- be ascertained, through what the other says and through what the other
aphors position Ladakhis in the past, and tourists and their countries of does. Often there is a disjunction between what people say a n d do. People
origin in the future. Being "backward" is something that most Ladakhis are likely to tailor what they say to their aims in a given context. Ho~veve~,
accept despite the stigma attached to it. Yet this important part of the it is mol-e difficult to contl-01 one's actions in the same way. Accordingly,
Ladakhi self is largely beyond our remit, for the main social interactions when ascertaining the mind of an other it is often prudent to place more
that produced and reproduce this "me" are far beyond the touring act. We emphasis on their actions rather than their words. People do this in eveiy-
are dealing here with the pan-global project of modernization. Going day life. As Norbu (chapter 6, p. 138) said when questioning whether
"forward' means the improving of schools, transport infrastructure, irri- tourists respect Ladakh: "we cannot take people's sayings SURELY." Goff-
gation, health services, communications, stable supplies of electricity and man, however, gives his own example:
water, and a more general prosperity.
The modernizing act in Ladakh entails Ladakhis working with NGOs Knowing that an individual is likely to present himself in a light that is
(nongovernment organizations), the Indian State Government and the favourable to him, the others may divide what they witness into two parts: a
Jammu and Kashmir State Government. Together these actors collabo- part that is relatively easy for the inclividual to ~nanipulateat will, being
rate to develop Ladakh, and thus simultaneously constitute Ladakh as chiefly his verbal associations, and a part in regard to ~vhichhe seems to
"backward." This discourse is saturated with the voice of Kashmiri's and have little concern or control, being chiefly derived from the expressions he
Indians. Indeed, Ladakhis often use the Urdu word, tarki, for develop- gives off. The others may use what are considered to be the ungovernable
ment. And the English word "backward" (which one never hears tourists aspects of his expressive behaviour as a check upon the validity of what is
conveyed by the governable aspects.... For example, in Shetland Isle one
use) is common parlance within the pan-Indian project of modernization. crofter's wife, in serving native dishes to a visitor from the mainland of Brit-
Indeed, Ladakh is officially a "backward region" within India. It is prima- ain, ~vouldlisten with a polite smile to his polite claims of liking~vhathe was
Becoming Other 187

eating; at the same time she would take note of the rapidity with which the that there had been more polite sipping that genuine consumption of
visitor lifted his fork or spoon to his mouth, the eagerness with which he Ladakhi tea.
passed food into his mouth, and the gusto expressed in chewing the food,
Like the crofter's wife, Ladakhis obsellre tourists' reactions to the food,
using these signs as a check on the stated feelings of the eater. (1959,
pp. 18-19) to yak cheese, tsafnfia (barley flour), chhas~g(a cloudy, sour beer made from
barley) and Ladakhi tea (green tea, milk, buttel; ancl salt). Quite notice-
Tourists, when they visit a traditional Ladakhi home, are analogous to ably, some tourists will not even consume these offerings for fear of food
the visitor from the mainland described by Goffman. While tourists talk poisoning. From a Ladakhi perspective, ref~tsitlgcan be interpreted as a
admiringly of Ladakhi "tradition" and "culture," Ladakhis pay close "looking down" upon the food and its creator or may suggest that one is
perceived as polluted or dirty. Some tourists will try these foods and
attention to the expressions that the tourist gives-off. Such attention
drinks, but it is rare that they can actually conceal their lack of enthusi-
reveals that while tourists usually speak in to "you-as-possessing-tradition"
asm. Three times I have been with gl-oups of tourists on a trek, and on
they sometimes inadvertently act in such a way as to position Ladakhis as
each occasion I have witnessed tlie group purchase local beer (chhnng)
undeveloped. It is through these expressions given-off that tourists con- horn villagers (as directed by the guidebooks), ancl on each occasion I
tribute to Ladakhis sense of "me-as-backward." For example, recall the have seen initial enthusiasm turn into the awkward disposal of the bcel; so
case of Mali in chapter 8 (p. 1621,who rewarded the family who provided that the group can get back to drinking I<ingfisher,or some othcr bottled
her lodgings with the sound of her WaIkman. Some tourists, when in Indian lager. At cultural dances, held at Leh palace, Ladakhi tea is sewed
remote villages, give out pens and gifts. While exchange is an important during the interlude of an hour-long performance. Although the tea is
means of establishing reciprocity, and in the context of a language barrier, specially made to suit tourists' palates (it has a greatly reduced butter and
even communicating, these particular exchanges are likcly to have the salt content), most cannot tinish their small seivi~~g. 111 this casc, the rejec-
unintended consequence of positioning Ladakhis as lacking and tourists tion, althougl~polite, is quite public, for thei-e a1-c usttally more Ladakhis
as living in abundance. To give a gift is to position the recipient (Haas & than tourists at these dances. One can see tourists sniffing the bl-ew, then
Desran, 198I). sipping it gingerly, grimacing, exchanging remarks, ancl laugl~iag.'l'he
The expressions given off can also be vely subtle. When tourists are vis- point I am making is that in so many, albeit small ways, totu-ists give-off
iting a traditional Ladakhi house, and their gaze is fully absorbed in the the expression of not liking Ladakhi food, or even more significantly, of
novel and exotic surroundings, they forget that the gaze of the Ladakhis finding it "pol1uted."
is equally fixed upon these new and exotic creatures seated in their 'The idea that tourists find Ladakh "dirty" or "polluted" is particularly
kitchen. While the tourists look at the pots on the shelves, the portrait of cleai-, in their reaction to Ladakhi toilets. During a house-visiting act that
the Dali Lama, the seats on the floor, thc open stove, the pile of dung or I participated in one of our group went to use the toilet, and shortly after
wood, the stored food, the dusty floor and the smoke stained ceiling, the being directed in towards it, she returned excitedly saying that she
Ladakhis notice that the tourists are slow to drink the Ladakhi tea, that needed her camera. Evidence suggests this was not an unusual reaction.
they are not comfortable sitting on the floor, they note what tourists In the corpus of 462 tourists' photographs these are in fact 4 photographs
choose to photograph, and what they point out to each other how they of traditional Ladakhi diy compost toilets. Regarding these photographs,
talk about what they see. One house visit that I participated in as part of a one could debate whether these tourists are admiring the traditional toi-
trek (the guide regularly took his tourists to this house) resulted in eight lets or amused by them, whether they see them as environmentally appro-
of us tourists squeezed into a small kitchen. Three Ladakhi women tried priate or unhygienic. But this is not the issue at stake. The question is:
What impression do these behaviors create in the minds of Ladakhis? The
to churn butter amid the flashing of the cameras against the darkness of
impression, I suggest, is that village life is dirty. This has been most evi-
the room. These women certainly noticed when (other) tourists started
dent to me in the way that several Ladakhis have apologized to me for not
photographing the holes in the kitchen wall, which, in the windowless having a western style toilet. Not surprisingly the urban Ladakhis who can
room, created picturesque rays of light caught in the smoke from the afford it are fitting I~Vesternstyle toilets to their houses.
dung fire. They also noticed when a number of our group had to leave the Finally, the expressions that tourists "give off" by not drinking local
crowded kitchen because they felt they could not breathe properly due to Ladakhi water are worth considering. Tourists in India are generally quite
the smoke. And finaIly, when they cleared our tea cups away they noticed concerned with their health, and are (often by personal experience) waiy
188 A. GILLESPIE Becoming Other 189

of food poisoning. Accordingly, few tourists will drink the water provided cern. Whether conscious or not, these impressions vely likely contribute
free in restaurants, offered in local houses, or found in mountain streams. to Ladakhis sense of "me-as-backward."
Instead, they prefer to purchase bottled water that has been transported
over the Himalaya. The labels, incidentally, often boast a picture of a
Himalayan mountain stream or make some other reference to the purity CULTURE-FASHION: "OUR CULTURE MUST BE GREAT"
of Himalayan mountain water. Recently, there has emerged an alternative
to imported water. Dzomsa, a Ladakhi NGO, boils Ladakhi water in large Now we turn to the "me-as-possessing-culture" and "me-as-following-
vats, under pressure, for ten minutes, and stores the water in "sterilized fashion" aspects of the Ladakhi self. Both of these "mc" imagcs, I suggest,
containers. Tourists can now refill their water bottles from these contain- are deeply entwincd in the touring act. Particularly, "me-as-possessing-
ers for a small fee. In either case, however, whether tourists drink ctrlture" is, I argue, constructed by Ladakhis taking tlie perspective of
imported water or boiled water, the fact is that when in a village or in a tourists. While "me-as-following-fashion" seems to be primarily located in
Ladakhis house, they are not drinking the water offered to them. While interaction between Ladakhis, as a way of identifying those who are fol-
tourists may have quite legitimate reasons for such behavior, the impres- lowing the tourists rather than the traditions.
sion that it creates in the minds of Ladakhis is quite different. Before we start a~~alyzing "me-as-possessing-cult11rc" it is necessaly to
Although Ladakhis know that Ladakhi water might make tourists sick, point out that, according to the available clocunients, this "me" is a recent
it is impossible to separate this from the meanings that surround drinking construction. Simply put, I can find no evidence for a self-rcflcctive clis-
water in Ladakh. Within the Ladakhi caste system, the separation of course arnong Ladakhis as the possessors of "culture" before the arrival of
drinking vessels is a primary pollution practice. Even young, educated tourists. This "me" does not arise in Galwan's (1923) writings, in accounts
Ladakhis who decIare themselves liberated from "backward" beliefs will of the histoiy d Ladakh (Rancke, 190711998; Kaul 8c Ka~ll,1997; Rizvi,
not drink water from the cup of a low caste person in public (in private, 19831, nor in early Ladakhi politics (van Beek & Bertelsen, 1997).Yct, it is
however, some do share drinks). On the other hand, sharing drinks is an now one of the most salient aspects of the Ladakhi self.
important means of establishing equality and mutual acceptance. When The historical emergence of 1,adakliis reflective awareness as possess-
friends gather in winter to drink clzlaang and talk, they will often use just ors of "culture" is clcarly evident in their repeated calls for autonomy
one glass between them. Exchanging the glass is a means of accepting from the Statc Government of Jammri and Icashmir. Prior to 1842, \vhen
and being accepted. Thus, when tourists refuse to drink Ladakhi water Ladakh came under the rule of the Maharaja of Jarn~nu,Ladakh was an
this can make a distinctive impression in the minds of Ladakhis. The independent kingdom. Notable early agitations occurred in the 1980s
meaning "given off" is anchored to sociai-cultural knowledge of pollution and 1960s. In these early political agitations thcrc is a clear conception of
and caste, and seiyes to promote, even if at an unconscious level, the idea Ladakh as a distinctive group of people with a distinctive histoly and pat-
that tourists think Ladakh is "dirty" o r "polluted." tern of life. Religious differences were also important: Jammu and Kash-
Summarizing this analysis, it appears that Ladakhis' "me-as-backward" rnir is predominantly Muslim, while Ladakh is predominantly Buddhist.
does gain some meaning within the serving act. Although this "me" is But, when one Iooks into the substance of these agitations one finds that
predominantly reproduced within the modernizing act, the serving act the main source of discontent is Ladakhis self-perception as "backward."
does contribute some particularly meaningful resonances. Within the In these early political struggles Ladakhis agitated for development.
serving act tourists, by virtue of their actions, position themselves apart Nowhere is there mention of the need to preserve Ladakhi "culture."
from Ladakhis and Ladakh. This, we can speculate, contributes to the Ho~veve~; if we look to the more recent agitation for more autonomy, we
Ladakhis sense of being apart from the modern world, or more precisely, find the sudden emergence of "Ladakhi culture" as an i~ilportantsym-
being behind it. The dynamics through which this "me" is constituted bolic resource in arguing for autonomy. Consider tlie following statement
within the serving act are particularly complex. At the level of talk, tour- of demands, made by Ladakhi nationalists, during agitations in 1989:
ists would loath to position Ladakhis as "backward" or "dirty." However, Ladakh is not just another bachuarcl region of the countly. It is a region
they are less in control of their actions, and these actions make impres- with a unique culture, typical geoclimatic conditions and a distinctive socio-
sions in the minds of Ladakhis. One could also question the extent to economic order, besides being a sensitive border region.. .. In demanding
which these impressions are conscious, but that is beside our current con- Union Territory, Ladakh's primary concern is to protect its identity. Under
190 A. GILLESPIE Becoming Other 191

Kashmir's rule Ladakh has suffered enormous cultural onslaught from fun-
damentalist organisations of the valley. (cited in van Beek & Bertelsen,
1997, p. 53)

The demand is autonomy from the Jammu and Kashmir government.
This is not new. But the reason given is. The statement reads, "Ladakh is
not just another backward region," but until the arrival of tourists "back-
wardness" had been precisety the reason for demanding separation from
the state government. Now "Ladakh's primary concern is to protect its
identity." Ladakh, the statement reads, has a "unique culture," and this
culture is under threat: "Ladakh's primary concern is to protect its iden-
tity." The question is: Where has this new reflective awareness of Ladakh's
"unique culture" come from? While the discourse of course participates in
a global discourse of identity politics, I want to argue that there are dis- Figure 9.1. Tourists from the
tinctive features of this "me-as-possessor-of-culture" that only make sense siandpoint o f a Ladakhi child.
when situated in the touring act.

Photography and the GONCHHA

Ladakhis want to understand tourists' attitudes toward Ladakh. They
question whether tourists respect or disrespect Ladakh and its people.
They question why tourists choose to leave their high income countries in
order to travei to Ladakh-a "backward" region? Given the language bar-
rier between tourists and Ladakhis, and the significant perspectival diver-
gence between them, Ladakhis rely heavily upon extralinguistic clues as
to the perspective of tourists. One of the most visible and revealing
expressions "given-off" is the choice of photographic subject. While the
eyes glance quickly, the camera takes time to focus. While the eyes point
toward that which is meaningful and meaningless alike, the camera only Figure 9.2. Tourists from the stand-
focuses upon that which is meaningful. From a Ladakhi standpoint, the point of a Ladakl~ichild.
camera is a window to the mind of the tourist.
The salience of tourists' cameras, for Ladakhis, is clearly evidenced in
children's drawings. While in a particularly remote Ladakhi village, a 2- woman is wearing a dress that is short by Ladakhi standards and the man
day hike from the nearest road, 1 was a guest at the local school. In the is carlying a backpack and a water bottle. Both of the tourists in this Fig-
course of talking to a group of 12 children, between the ages of 9 and 12, ure have cameras, and the woman appears to be taking a photograph. In
I asked if they would each draw me a picture of a tourist. Their drawings both figures the camera lenses are pointed toward the viewer and child
are revealing. The only possession that is common to a11 the tourists who drew the picture.
depicted, apart from clothes, is a camera. All 12 drawings depict tourists interests Ladakhis about cameras is not the possession of cameras
either holding a camera, or in the process of taking a photograph. figures per se, but what the camera reveals about the mind of the tourist. It is
9.1 and 9.2, both produced by 11 year-old children, are representative. In what the camera is pointing to that is important. Ladakhis, I suggest,
Figure 9.1 both tourists are wearing t-shirts, there is a backpack and a notice tourists' cameras because these are an important way in which
water-bottle,' and the woman is taking a ~hotograph.In Figure 9.2 the Ladakhis "read" tourists' minds and interests. Consider the following
194 A. GILLESPIE Becoming Other 195

graph all equally. So again, when considering the content of this "me" we to the gonchha as "the dirty one." Thus were there is ambiguity regarding
need to take account of the perspective of tourists. the perspective of the other, there is ambivalence regarding the "me."
The previous point about the phumet, requires a caveat. As mentioned,
Ladakhi women tend to think of the phumet as more stylish than the
sulma. Thus we must also recognize a motivation on the part of these Music, Mons, and an Awkward "Me"
women to be able to wear the phumet instead of the gmchha-they are
exercizing their agency here. But this agency is framed by the constraints The irnportance of the perspective of tourists for Ladakhis self-awal-e
of the tourist gaze. These women are successful in this invention of tradi- possession of culture is clearly evident in the problematic relation
tion, I suggest, not because Ladakhis do not notice the difference (they between Ladakhi music and "tne-as-preseiving-culture." The problem for
do) but because tourists don't notice the difference. Ladakhis is that they conceive of Ladakhi music as an important part of
The term "gonchha" is a significant symbol. It is a term that binds their culture while, but traditionally all the musiciaris in Ladakh are Mons,
together images and feelings from different perspectives. For Ladakhis or low caste. At cultural festivals one can see the Mom, who are playing
the term gonchha evokes a complex of perspectives, images and paths of the music, are always sitting to one side and they are invariably 01-1 the
action. TraditionaiIy the term evoked the path of action that leads to the least comfortable mats. The vast majority of tourists, however, are
making the gonchha-spinning, weaving, dying, and sowing. Associations unaware of this fact. But by virtue of paying entiy into cultural shows the
would have included the feeling of putting on the gonchha, the feeling of tourists have indirectly brought incrcased wealth and prestige to the
wearing it and the feeling of being protected from the cold. Doubtless A*lons.Mons are now in high demand. Moreover, conscieritiolls X,adakhis,
individuals were attached to their own gonchha, seeing these as part of keen to PI-ese~lretheir culture, now find themselves in a bind. Shoulcl they
learn to play Ladakhi music?
their identity and something to be cared for and repaired once damaged.
While these historical meanings still persist today, they are now comple-
Padma: 1 think we should know how to play our own music, we say-
mented by some new meanings. Today the gonchha evokes additional asso-
that this is work for Mons, but when we are out of our coun-
ciations-it is something to wear on a special occasion, it is something to t ~ we
y will be INSULTED if someone asks you to play your
be proud of and which should be kept clean, and, it is something that will CULTURAL DRUMS
elicit tourists' photographs. What I want to underscore, are the meanings Norbrr: No it can't be.
that have been forged within the photographing act. Most Ladakhis wear Rigzin: Every one cannot bc a drummer
Western clothes sometimes and the gonchha at other times. Ladakhis Tsogyal: We will tell them that this is done by the LOW-CASTE PEO-
notice that when they wear Western clothes tourists ignore them while PLE, work of SCHEDULED CASTE not our work
when they wear the gmchha they suddenly become objects in the lenses of Padma: Then how can you say it's your CULTURE? [...I
tourists' cameras. In this sense the gonchha has found a new consequence. Norbu: If someone asks us to show our CULTURE we will wear a
But it is not simply the consequence of being photographed that matters. gonchha and say this is our CULTURE, that's all
Photography, as argued, is window onto the tourist perspective, and it is
the perspective of the tourist that gives the gonchha its new found mean- It is interesting to consider how culture is constl-ucted in this excerpt as
ing as an objectification of "culture." something that one shows to the other. The problem raised is what to do
The perspective of the tourists is an "I" position, from which Ladakhis if someone asks to see Ladakhi culture, and asks to hear the traditional
can get outside themselves, and emerge to themselves as "me-wearing-a- music. For Padma this means the music is part of the culture and thus
cultural-gonchhu." If you change the "I" position, then you change the they should learn to play the music. Horvevel; Norbu, Rigzin, and Tsogyal
"me." If the Ladakhis believed that tourists did not respect the gonclihu, insist that this is not possible. They say that playing music is only for low
that they thought it was primitive, then when Ladakhis took this "I" posi- caste people, and therefore they cannot do it. Norbu retorts that they can
tion upon themselves they would arise to themselves as "me-wearing-a- show the instead. Cultuse is something that the other asks to see
dirty-backward-gonchha." Indeed, some Ladakhis suspect this. In chapter or hear. Here we see how the meaning of "culture" is, in part, constructed
6 we found that some of the men in Leh question whether tourists travel within the touring act. "Me-as-c~~ltural" gains currency within display for
in the attitude of visiting a zoo. And it is exactly these men who also refer tourists, that is, the sightseeing act.
196 A. GILLESPIE Becoming Other 197

But the excerpt reveals more than this. It suggests that tourists have ~vithknowledge of the age of the various monasteries and answers that it
been impiicated in defining the that Ladakhi music is part of Ladakhi cuf- is important. The reason he gives is that tourists know about the age of
ture. If the contents of "me-as-possessor-of-culture" were being defined by the monasteries, while Ladakhis do not, and thus he argues, "we lost our
Ladakhis (at least middle and upper caste Ladakhis) then they would not culture." Now tlle question is, where does this content, the concern with
have included music within its definition. It is not what they would choose the age of the monasteries, originate?
to privilege-the awkwardness of the above excerpt attests to that. In the sightseeing act, tourists ask questions and the Laclakhi guides
Accordingly, me must again speculate that "me-as-possessing-cultural- tiy to find the answers. According to Ladakhi guides, one of the questions
music" has not actually been constructed by Ladakhis alone. Again our most commonly asked about Buddhist monastcrics is, "how old is it?" In
analysis must look tolvard tourists. By virtue of sightseeing and paying to the past, this question would have been of marginal interest to Ladakhis,
hear Ladakhi music, I suggest, tourists have contributed to the definition who were more concerned with the Buddhist practices and teachings tak-
of Ladakhi music as part of Ladakhi culture. Just like the photographing ing place at the gonipa.. However, from the standpoint of tourists who do
act has picked out the gonchha, so tourists paying to hear Ladakhi music not understand Buddhism, and have an interest in the premodern and
has picked out playing music and endowed it with positive value. Within authenticity, the main relevance of a go?~ij~nis its age. This links Ladakh to
the touring act, Ladakhi music has value. Tourists not only pay to listen to the past, allowing tourists to see it as an indication of life in the "Micldlc
the music, but they extend a positive identity to the musicians. For exam- Ages." Whilc tourists may not understand its social function thcy can, at
ple, they are frequently the subject of tourists' praise and photograpl~s. the vely lcast learn its factual history and this knowledge makes sense
But again the important element is not simply tourists actions toward within the frame of their interests - many of the Buddhist mollasteries
Mom, but what those actions reveal about tourists' attitudes towards the were indeed founded around the Middle Ages. Again our concern is not
Mom. with tourists actual motivations, but with the impressions that their
actions may have on Ladakhis, and particularly with thc impressions that
the qucstion "how old is it?" may have on Ladakhis. Most Ladakhis do not
Sightseeing and the Gompa know the age of the various monasteries, and thcy can feel inadequate
when a tourist (with the help of a guidebook) infi)rms them of the date.
Aside from the gonchha and the music, another element that Ladakhis Accordingly, Phunchok, who is a tourist guide, states "we lost our culture."
closely identify with their "culture" and thus with themselves, are the Bud- This opinion is widespread. 111 Ladakhi schools, children al-e now taught
dhist monasteries (gompa). Tourists spend a considerable amount of time about the ages of all the monasteries, and training courses rull for tourist
touring the monasteries-as do Ladakhis. Several of the Ladakhis I met guides also teach these dates.
in more rural regions simply assumed that tourist were devout Buddhists. Indeed many of the guides study guidebooks like the Lonely Plnnet, in
But those who have had more contact with tourists, come to realize that rvhich the ages of the monasteries are very prominent, in order to acquire
the monasteries have more than religious meaning for tourists, and these, and similal; facts. In constructing this aspect of the Ladakhi con-
accordingly, they come to see their own monasteries in a new light. Con- cept of "culture," the sightseeing act has been fundamental. The age
sider the following excerpt: aspect of monasteries was salient in the minds of tourists before it was in
the minds of Ladakhis and thus ironically it has been tourists, not Lada-
Ladakhi moderator: Is it important to preserve culture? khis, who have expertise in this aspect of Laclakhi "culture." Tourists
Phunchok: Yes, very important, because, more than Lada- know more abo~ltthis aspect of Ladakhi "culture" because it originated in
khis, the foreigner knows more about Ladakhi the mind of tourists.
culture than Ladakhis, even though we are in From a Meadian point of view, go?tz$a for Ladakhis have gained a new
Ladakh, and still we don't know when Thiksey significant symbolic meaning. I11 the past they had relevance in terms of
gompa was built. Like Chemrey gompa, Shey their social-religious function-places to seek spiritual advice, and places
gompa we don't know, so we lost our culture that \vould perform necessaly rituals. Traditionally they were conceptual-
ized in terms of the rituals and sewices performed for the community,
The topic is whether it is important to presen7eLadakhi culture. Phun- and the question of when the gonzfa was built did not arise. Today it has
chok, who is from a rural viIIage but works with tourists, equates "culture" acquired an additional meaning, or resonance, as a marker of Laclakhi
198 A. GILLESPIE Becoming Other 199

culture. And again, I suggest it is not tourists' activity, or the consequences position within Ladakhis' dialogical self. But what interests us is not so
of this activity, for Ladakhis that is the important ingredient. Indeed, that much the freq~~ency of these quotations, but the content. Typically tourists
tourists value the age of the monasteries is of almost no practical conse- are quoted as saying something such as: "your culture is veiy nice, you
quence for Ladakhis. What is important, I suggest, is that Ladakhis per- should preseive it."
ceive tourists to be valuing the age of the monasteries. Again and again, tourists are quoted insisting that 1,adakhis should
presenre their culture. And sometimes, as in the following excerpt, where
an urban Ladakhi moderator speaks to some rural women, their voices
Trace of the Voice of Tourists are used to legitimate the imperative to preserve Ladakhi culture.

T h e Ilresterners say that Ladakhi CULTURE will be destroyed, and that our
Perhaps one of the most convincing bits of evidence arguing for the coin~n~~ility will be broken. IVe should feel that, truly! Our CULTURE must
centrality of the perspective of tourists in the constiuction of "me-as- be great and good, and we must preserve it.
possessing-culture" lies in the very term "CULTURE." Within the Lada-
khi language there is not indigenous word for "culture," and accord- Thc topic here is the preservation of Ladakhi culture. l'he speaker is
ingly, Ladakhis the reader will notice usually use the English term. This tiying to impress upon these women thcir ci~icialrole as custodians. 111
implies, as argued initially, that "me-as-cultural" is indeed a relatively order to make this point lie draws upon the voice of the to~lrists,and lets
recent Ladakhi "me," because otherwise we would expect an indige- that impact upon the women. Here, as in many evocatiotis, the attitudc oC
nous term for this "me." But more than this, the Ladakhis are using an the tourist voice is emphatic and even paternalistic. Tlie tourist voice says,
English term which one can only suppose they have got from tourists. "Ladakkli cult~11-e will be destroyed" and implicitly puts the onus of its
Where else does this term gain its meaning but within the touring act?
preservatiorl on the L,aclakliis. While the speaker is sul-ely tiying to con-
lburists come to Ladakh, self-confessedly, to see Ladakhi culture. It is, I
vince the women, the fact is that it is the authoi-itative voice of the tourists
suggest, in the space between tourists and Ladakhis that this term has
become meaningful. So, what does it mean within the touring act? It that he invokes-it is used to make "Ladakhi culturc" something of value.
means what tourists want to tour, what guides should be showing tour- But more than being used, the tourist voicc also seems to have soine inde-
ists, what should be presented to tourists in performances and muse- pendence. It comes across as a chastising and itlsistent supcrcgo (the
ums, and it means what tourists will pay to see. The term is actually inti-ojected voice of paternal authority). The voice seems to create a sense
needed within the touring act in order to coordinate the tour. Without of guilt. The voice seems in fact to be more about affect than i.ational
this particular significant symbol, operating within the touring act, argument. '17he voice, in numerous such instances, does not prcsent a log-
much of the touring act would break down. For it is this term that con- ical or reasoned argument for why Ladakhis c u l t ~ ~should
re be presei-ved,
nects tourists' interest in tradition with Ladakhi practices and perfor- yet it carries affective weight. The voice says: "your culture is vely nice,
mances. Of course the term now has gained a widcr currency. As you should presewe it." The "should" is unambiguous, but the "veiy nice"
mentioned at the outset, it is an important term on the political scene. is vague.
My argument, however, is that one of the most fundamental social acts $,lieseem to be dealing, here, with some sort of constraining or direct-
within which Ladakhis' self-reflective conception of "culture" has been ing of value (Moghaddam, 2002; Valsinel; 2000). It seems that the voice of
forged, is the touring act. tourists is able to sustain a "should" even in the absence of any actual jus-
Clear evidence for the constitutive role of tourists' perspective, rather tifications. That is to say, the evahiative perspective of tourists is itself suf-
than their actions, in constructing "me-as-possessor-of-culture" comes ficient to create an imperative. Somehow, the "should" but not the
from an analysis of the voices within Ladakhis discourse. Ladakhis' con- justifications for this have crossed o17er into the Ladakhi symbolic uni-
versations are alive with the voices of others, and many significant others verse. Then in the Ladakhi universe of discourse we find this imperative
are quoted. Within the quasi-naturalistic discussions one can hear Lada- emphatically present, but unsupported. This, I suggest, demonstrates the
khis quote the voice of Indians, the Buddha, the Dali Lama, acquaintan- essential importance of the perspective of the other. Even when the con-
ces, Tibetans, and Kashmiris. But the most frequently occurring voice is tent of what the other is saying is obscure, the evaluation can be impor-
that of tourists, which in itself suggests that tourists have a prominent tant.
200 A. GILLESPIE Becoming Other 201

RECONSTRUCTING THE PERSPECTIVE OF TOURISTS Ok, now we are changing everything, forgetting our CULTURE and reli-
gion, one day when we get to that stage [equivalent to tourists], then we will
Clearly Ladakhis are taking the perspective of tourists, but how? Few also want to go back. After 2-3 generations, after 100 years all these CUL-
Ladakhis have been in the social position of tourists; few have been TURE and religion will come back, every simplicity will come back, for
abroad, ferv have toured a "traditional" culture, and few have experienced example, norv we are normal, we need a telephone and we get a telephone,
and we need vehicle, we get it and so one day we will go to America, so we
the economic power of tourists. In the previous chapter we were able to
can earn lots of money, we can get these things so we can also visit America.
explicate tourists' "me-as-traveler" and "me-as-tourist-dupe" in terms of But all of these things will only give fn~stration,so that is why we need the
position exchange within the social acts of tourism, especially the self-nar- simple life
ration act. Tourists can take the perspective of other tourists toward chem-
selves because they have been in the social position of those other tourists. Hew we have, at the level of imagination, posi~ionexchange. There is
But how are Ladakhis able to take the perspective of tourists in the a slippage between Ladakh in the future and the West. The speaker
absence of any substantial position exchange? begins by pointing out how everything is clianging in I,adakli, and how it
Addressing this question leads us to an iinportant point. "me-as-cul- is becoming more like the high-income cortntries that tourists come fi-om.
tural" has not been "caused" or "constructed" by Ladakhis taking the per- She says that when Ladakh eventually becomes like those countries, then
spective of tourists. It is equally the case that the self-reflective awareness they "will also wan to go back-implying that the tourists want to go
of "me-as-cultural" enables Ladakllis to take the perspective of tourists. back. 'The speaker states that eventually Ladakh will become equivalent to
The perspective of tourists, the "I" position, and the emergent Ladakhi America, and Ladakhis will "earn lots of moneyw-thcy will even be able
"me" (i.e., "me-as-cultural") cannot be separated. It is absurd to say that to visit Atnerica. But, she warns, this "will only give fr~~stration"
and then
one end of a perspective causes the other end. "Me-as-cultural" arises by advises that "we need the simple lirc." America, which Ladakh is currently
Ladakhis taking the perspective of tourists toward themselves, and, imag- tending towards, is akin to sawuara (the cycle of desire and suffering, birth
ining themselves as cultural is a means to take the perspective of tourists. and rebirth) while Ladakhi culture is positioned beyond this realm, in nir-
We are dealing here with an evolving complex. vana.
From a Ladakhi Buddhist point of view, it is obvious that once tourists
have lost their culture, that they will have runaway desire, and conse-
USING BUDDHISM AS A SYMBOLIC RESOURCE quently that they travel to Ladakh because they "want to go back." Here
we see, at the level of imagination, how a Ladakhi is using Rrrddhism as a
Ladakhis are not taking the actual perspective of tourists, they are recon- way of making explicable the perspective of tourists, and the nature of
structing that perspective. In order to understand how this works, we Ladakhi culture. The mechanism is by sliding positions between self and
other: just like the Ladakhis "will want to go back," so the tourists cur-
need to return to Ladakhis representation of tourists, particularly the
rently do "want to go back."
iconic image of the hungry ghost (discussed above, p??). Ladakhis are
using Buddhism, and anchoring tourists in the image of the hungry
ghost. Buddhism provides a psychology for these ghosts: they have left
Imaginative Position Exchange
the path of the Buddha, and accordingly they have runaway desire. Trans-
lating this to tourists yields: tourists have lost their culture, therefore they
While the vast majority of Ladakhis conceive of tourists as having a
have runaway desires. This might seem implausible, but the idea that very positive attitude towards Ladakh, there are some who are more scep-
tourists have lost their culture is widespread. The logic is that it is because tical. Indeed it is probably fair to say that there is a good deal of ambiva-
they have lost their own culture that they invest time and money to see the lence around the perspective of tourists. The tourists tend to say positive
culture of Ladakh. Here we are equating tourists with runaway desire and things, but as mentioned, their actions as perceived by Ladakhis often
culture with enlightenment, or nirvana. I am not suggesting that these carry contrary meanings. Accordingly, we also need to account for this
equivalences are conscious, or even ubiquitous, but they do arise several perspective. How is it that Ladakhis imagine tourists to have a disrespect-
times. Consider the following excerpt, which is from a discussion among fir1 attitude towards Ladakh? The analysis does not reveal any clear or
rural villagers: consistent means that Ladakhis use when imputing a negative perspective
202 A. GILLESPIE Becoming Other 203

to tourists. The following instance, however, is interesting because it dem- they use this to imagine the perspective of tourists. In this excerpt, the
onstrates how Ladakhis engage in position exchange in imagination in women briefly become other to themselves, and the mechanism is posi-
order to imagine the perspective of tourists: tion exchange. Rather than taking the perspective of tourist per se, they
take their own experience of having been in a zoo, and their own attitude
toward zoo animals, and then they use this to reflect upon themselves.
Ladakhi moderator: M U ,we have seen a lot of foreign tourists visit- I711e resultant "me" is "me-as-a-zoo-animal." Unsurprisingly it is a dis-
ing Ladakh, now what do you think they think of comforting "me" that is resisted and rejected. But it is the mechanism that
us? [...I I want to point out, namcly, position exchange at the level of imagination.
Rinchen: They are here only to see our culture, our deeds
and our style of living, what we talk, what we
wear [...] Because our culture is rich, but people ORIENTING TO THE ORIENTATION OF THE OTHER
are very simple
Ladakhi moderator: Have you been to Delhi? The presence of the other is analogous to an opaque and infuriating mir-
Rinchen: Yes tnr: self is aware of a reflection but is the o111y one 127110 can't see it. Self
Ladakhi moderator: Have you been to a zoo? wants to know the impression that sclf's cxprcssions make 011 the minds
Rinchen: Yes of otliers (Iellbeiser, 1949). The mere prcscncc of thc perspective of the
Ladakhi moderator: Why do we go to a zoo? [pause] We go there to other is a niptu-e, and as wilh all nipturcs, it stinlulates thinking, elabora-
see how animals live, what they eat and what tion, and reconstruction. Ladakhis are troubled by the perspective of
they drink? So does it mean that they consider tourists-it is alien to them, and needs to be "domesticated" (Wagne~;
Ladakhis as animals? 1994). The Idadakhis have not been in the actual social position of tour-
Rinchen: Yes [pause] it is [pause], or- ists, thus they cannot generalize thcir own experiences to understand thc
Dolma: They think we are animals? perspective of tourist. Accordingly, they rrlus~draw symholic resources
Rinchen: No [pause] our culture is rich that's why they from their cultural stream, and use these as best they can. The maill
come to Ladakh resource that tourist are using to understand tourists is Ruddhism, but
they also draw upon more contemporary experiences, such as visiting a
Rinchen is the moderator's mother, and the moderator takes the lib- zoo.
erty of being provocative. He asks the group a question that he had dis- Keconstnictillg the perspective of the tourists, I argue, contributes to
cussed with me, namely, what do tourists think of Ladakhis. Rinchen gives the Ladakhi "me." Whcn Ladakhis reconstl-~lctthat perspective in terms
the usual answer, namely, that tourists come to see Ladakhi cuIture. The of Buddhism, then they emerge to themselves as "me-possessing-cult~ire"
moderator, of his own accord, then introduces the idea that tourists tour while when they generalize their experience of visiting a zoo, then they
Ladakh as if it is a zoo. He tries to push this idea upon his mother and her emerge to tliemselves as "me-as-backward." These reconst~-uctionsoper-
friends. They are shocked, but on the whole they resist the idea. Rinchen ate within the constraints of the touring act. That is to say, Ladakhis are
firmly disagrees and insists that the tourists have a positive evaluation, not free to imagine the perspective of tourists in any way they please.
insisting that "our culture is rich." These irnagini~~gs are constrained by what tourists are heard to say and
The interesting point in this discussion is that there is position seen to do within the touring act. Thus Ladakllis, in elaborating the per-
exchange. The moderator, in trying to be provocative, invites the group spective of to~irists,are negotiating expressions tourists give and give-off
into an imaginative position exchange. He invites the group to think of with available symbolic resources.
going to visit the zoo in Delhi. Most of these urban women had been to The mail1 argument I have made, howevel; is that an important com-
Delhi zoo, and thus they were able to fill this position with experience and ponent of this process of creating "me-as-cultural" is Ladakhis taking the
imagery. Then the moderator suggests that Ladakhis are like zoo animals. perspective of tourists.
This means that the Ladakhis, when in the zoo, were in a similar social This is not to say that Ladakhis have no agency within this process.
position to the tourists in Ladakh. These Ladakhis may not have been in Ladakhis profit from promoting this "me-as-culturalw-they set up cul-
the social position of tourists in Ladakh, but they have been to a zoo, and tural shows, they arrange culture tours, they arrange kitchen visits, and

they sell souvenirs. In all these ways Ladakhis profit from "me-as-cultural"
and they have an interest in firthering this. My point, however, is that in
order to exercise this agency, the Ladakhis have had to orientate to the
orientation of tourists-they have had to take (to some extent) the per-
spective of tourists. Ladakhis must orient to the orientation of tourists
within economic exchanges, within the serving act, when guiding tourists
on "culture tours" and so on. Without orienting to the perspective of tour-
ists within the touring act, Ladakhis would lose their agency I71s-his
' tour- CHAPTER 10
ists. It is precisely because they can take the perspective of tourists, that
they can mediate their own actions, and present themselves profitably to

1. Water-bottles appear in 6 of the 12 drawings. This is interesting because BECOMING OTHER
water bottles have very little pragmatic function within Ladakhi patterns of
action. Ladakhis do not use water bottles like tourists do. So why have
these been picked out? Why are they more represented than backpacks,
moncy belts and sunglasses? One interpretation is that this points towards
Ladakhis cognizance of the fact that tourists will not drink Ladakhi water
(discussed above) and their anchoring of this in their orvn caste practices.
I "Reflection or reflective bchaviour," accorcliag to Mead (1934, p. 9 1 ),
t "makes possible the purposive contl-ul and orgar~isatio~l by the individual
organism of its conduct." In self-reflection wc bccoine other to ourselves,
1 we react to ourselves, and we guide our action from the standpoiilt of oth-
ers. Mead equated such self-reflective behavior with "conscioiisncss" and
"miiid." Thus, in his accouilt of self-reflection he is ans~veringto his over-
arching problematic, namely, "the problem of individual mind and con-
sciousness." And it is to this problematic that we now turn.
"Consciousness is an emergent," Mead (1934, p. 18) states, "far Trom
being a precotldition of the social act, the social act is the precondition of
I it." Consciousness is not a Cartesian entity, it a movemellt of self-reflec-
I tion, and that movement originates in the dyllamics of the social act. In
the social act divergent perspectives interact, and in self-reflection the "I"
moves between these divergent perspectives, thus becoming other to self,
that is, self-reflecting. The theory of the social act is a theory of how the
perspectives that interact in the social world come to interact within the
individ~ial.I11 the following analysis I will tiy to make instances of both
tourist and Ladakhi self-reflection explicable in terms of the touring act.

Becoviing Othe,:. Aorr~Socinl Intemction lo Self-Relection, 205-209
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206 A. GILLESPIE Becoming Other 207

The previous analysis (chapters 7, 8, & 9) has shown how both tourists era1 forms. In "concurrent reporting," subjects are asked to "think aloud"
and Ladakhis construct the perspective of each other. The perspective of as they solve problems, and to avoid any attempt to explain what they are
the other has been constructed in part through the touring act, and draws doing. The reports are not read as explanations of thinking, but simply as
into play a wide range of synlbolic resources-from Buddhism to Orien- accounts of the contents of short-term memoly. From the standpoi~ltof
talism. Nevertheless, the emergent bricolage does enable both Ladakhis Ericsson and Simon, who want to aggregate instances of the same mental
and tourists to take each others perspectives to some extent. In the process, it is prolAe1natic that subjects sometimes think aloud, and other
present analysis (chapters 10, 11, & 12) we build upon this first analysis, times describe their tfloughts (i.e., have their thought as their topic),
in pursuit of self-reflection. The question is: Do tourists and Ladakhis because, they argue, these are two different mental processes. born our
self-reflect by taking each others' perspectives? point of vie~v,however, this veiy tendency of slibjccts to clescribe their own
thoughts is intcrcsting, for it is an instancc of self-reflection.
Valsiner (2003) has fi~iitfullyused "tliink aloud" data (collected by
LOCATING THE STREAM OF THOUGHT Capema, 2003) in order to study the construction of temporary semiotic
hierarchies that illecliate goal-directed action (wllat I have been calling
Psychology has long struggled to find a method for examining thought. tlie thinking phase of a social act). Using an cxpcrilllelltal setting, univcr-
Since its inception, the assumption has been that mind, or thought, is sity subjects were asked to point a gill at a screen, upon which images
internal. Operating on this assumption, psychologists used introspection wcrc slio~vn.In responsc to each image, the sul~jectshad to choose
as their first method (Lyons, 1986). The Latin etymology of "introspec- whether to slloot the grin, and they wei-e asked to think aloucl while decid-
tion" is literally "inward-looking." The idea being that the mind is pri- ing. Here the subject is solving a problem, in real-time, and thc cxperi-
vate, and thus should be studied by the thinker "looking within," The menter introduces ruptures, in the form of images. Ilnages or a gun-targct
method, although hugely popular, proved problematic games, 1884). produced unproblematic sllooting, while images of normal pcoplc elic-
Introspectionists do not have reference to a shared public object and thus, ited no shooting. The ruptures wcre provicled by irnagcs of'Hitler and the
have great trouble resolving disputes. A famous dispute concerned the Klu Itlux Klan. Deciding whether to'shoot in these cascs stimulated much
inability of introspectionists to agree whether imageless thought is possi- thought, and tlie vcrbal reports coritaitl a transcript of these tliougllts, as
ble. As Watson (1913) observed, disagreements tended to descend into they develop. While this data does providc a clcar window on the thinking
personal accusations between researchers over who was introspecting process, it is also problematic. Close analysis of the transcripts that
properly, or with the greatest accuracy. it is a mixture of thinking aloud, introspection and reporting, and justifi-
Watson's critique cleared the way for behaviorism, and introspection as cation oricnted toward the researcher.
a method has almost completely disappeared. Or at least researchers have
ceased reporting it in journals (Danziger, 1990). In actuality, I suspect, it
is still widely used, all be it in an unreflective and unsystematic manner. ANALYZING TALK AS THOUGHT
Personal experience is both one of psychology's problematics, and a first
port of call for most researchers, and students, when evaluating a theory. Ericsson and Simon (1993) note, with a degree of surprise, that thinking
In a sense the present research is illustrates this. First, the problematic is aloud does not have a detrimental effect on task performance. Froin their
self-reflection, and we share an understanding of this problematic on the point of view, this sliould be extra cognitive load on the system. Howevel;
basis of introspection. Second, when doing this research I certainly used from a Meadian point of view, talking (externally or internally) is part of
my own experience as a tourist to evaluate the validity of various interpre- thought, accordingly, thinking aloud should not have any cletriinental
tations. Moreovel; I suspect the reader will use his or her own experience effect on task performance. The point has been made many times (e.g.,
as a means of evaluating the plausibility of my analysis. However, Markov5, 2003, chapter 4; Merleau-Ponty, 1945/1962, p. 180), but per-
although it lingers in the background, introspection cannot be our main haps the most apposite discussion is found in Vygotsky. Vygotsky (19301
method. We require data on self-reflection that is less mediated by pre- 1994) reports tliat young children, who have not mastered the art of inter-
conception. nal conversation, will spontaneously verbalize their thoughts, and, more-
One approach to studying thought objectively, advocated by the cogni- ovel; telling them not to do so has a detrimental effect on task
tive scientists Ericsson and Simon (1993), is protocol analysis. It has sev- performance.
208 A. GILLESPIE Becoming Other 209

Mead provides us with a reason for why there exists this close relation o b s e ~ ~ a b trace-a
le hesitation, a stutter, a too rapid change of topic, a
between talk and thought, especially self-reflection. Because we hear our- gesture, an odd word, or some slippage. As Freud eloquently obselves:
selves speak, Mead argues, so rve can react to our own words in the same
way that we react to the words of others. Thus we become other to our- He that has eyes to see and ears to hear may convince himself that no mor-
selves in the act of speaking. Mead gives an example: tal can keep a secret. If his lips are silent, he chatters with his finger-tips;
~ him at evely pore. (190511959, p. 94)
betrayal oozes O L I of
One starb to say something, we will presume an unpleasant something, but
when he starts to say it he realises it is cruel. The effect of what he is saying Nevertheless, given the potential disjunction between private thoughts
checks him. (1934, p. 141) and public talk, I have chosen to frame my own analysis ill terms of "self-
reflection" rather than "mind," or "cc~nsciousness"-terms which Mead
The individual who begins to make a hurthl remark hears their own often used. These latter terms pertain more to private tl~oughtsand expe-
thought progress. They hear the sentence form, and they can anticipate riences, and in all cases it remains unsure as to whetl~ermy analysis
its conclusion. They hear the sentence as clearly as they hear other people accesses this domain. Howevel; the term "self-reflection" is not necessarily
speak, and in this fact, they also hear the hurt the sentence may cause. private. At least, when someone does self-reflect while speaking it seems
Reacting to herself, the speaker may interrupt herself, and break the difftcidt to ref~rtethat wc do have an insta~lceof self-rellcction.
utterance, or try to reframe the remark. In any case we have an instance of
self-reflection, and the act is inextricably bound up with the talk itself. In
this example we cannot separate the "mental" act of self-reflection from ANALYTIC STRATEGY
the verbal expression. The loop of thought extends to include the actual
sound of the remark, and it is the reflexive nature d this sound, that facil- Valsincr and van der Veer (1988) argue that rigorous reseal-ch on Mead's
itates the act of self-reflection. conceptualizatiol1alizatio1of self-reflection in tcrrns of the "I" and the "me" has
Given that our interest is in self-reflection, and our Meadian approach, been lleld up hy traditional methodology. Mlc need genuinely temporal
it follows that we do not have any problem accessing our phenomenon. data of the stream of thought, so that we can trace the inovemcnt of the
We do not need to use either introspection or talk aloud protocol in order 1 "I" and the emergence of the "me." I argue that analyzing talk as thought
can address this limitation.
to "get inside" the thought of tourists or Ladakhis. Ali we need to do is
analyze normal discourse for instances of self-reflection. Within this dis- In self-reflection there is a dynamic emergence of a "me." The "mc"
course rve can analyze how speakers create ruptures for each other, how becomes the topic of discourse-it is the object bcing talked about.
they begin to speak and then break off midway, and how they reflect upon According to Mead, self-reflection occurs whcn self takes the "I" position
of an other (i.e., the perspective of the other). The idea is that self
themselves, commenting upon their own utterances. This implies concep-
becomes other to self by virtue of perceiving, or reacting, to self from thc
tualizing talk as a stream of thought, and a discussion, as interacting
streams of thought. These streams of thought are objective, and they
I perspective of the other. Thus, ifwe want to explore Mead's theo~yof self-
reflection through empirical research, that research is going to have to
reveal the "real-time" trajectory of thought. The discussion, because it has 1
focus upon perspective-taking.
been recorded, can be slowed down, replayed and scrutinized. The data I
Accordingly, there are two directions from which we can approach the
affords teasing apart the influence of other speakers, the social context, 3 problem of self-reflection. Either we can begin by searching out instances
and the speakers own motivation on the developing stream of thought. of self-reflection and then analyze them to see whether they can be
In arguing that we treat talk as thought, I am not suggesting that there explained in terms of perspective-taking. Or, we can search out instances
is a complete isomorphism. Speakers often have in mind things to avoid of perspective-taking and study to what extent they cause self-reflection.
mentioning and thus actively inhibit the expression of some thoughts. The follo-rvinganalysis pursues both of these avenues. The next chapter
Speakers may think about their interlocutor, without speaking these 1 questions whether quoting the voice of the other leads to self-reflection,
thoughts. All these aspects of thought largely escape us when analyzing and chapter 1I, the last analytic chapter, begins with instances of self-
talk as thought. But they do not completely escape us. It is actually quite
reflection and shows how they can be understood in terms of perspective
difficult to completely suppress a thought, and it usually yields some taking.


Tourist-Ladakhi encounters do not end when both parties go their sepa-
rate ways. Thesc encounters can continuc in the thoughts and dis-
course of both parties. Tliese encounters call give rise to internal
dialogues-reverberations-which we can hear ~vhcnwe listen to both
tourists' and Ladakhis' discourse. I am refel.ring to those instances whcn
the voice of thc ather is invoked in tllc absence of the othel; when them
is "inner" dialogue with the other yet the other is not pllysically
present. In these instances the other has been incorporatccl as part of
According to Mead it is this other within self that causes self-lrflection.
The dynamic emergence of a novel "me" arises as tlie "I" takes thc per-
spective of the other upon self, and thus becoming other to self. When the
"I" takes the perspective of "you" up011 "me," the11 the "I" is able to I-eact
to itself fiom the standpoint of "you." Such an internal change of perspec-
tive, Mead theorized, origiilates in interpersonal exchanges of perspec-
tive occurring ~vithinsocial acts.
The present chapter explores this theorized relation between perspec-
tive-taking and self-reflection. The question may be simply put: does per-
spective-taking lead to self-reflection? The form of perspective-taking
that we focus upon is i~lternaldialogue, with is when the other is quoted.
When the other is quoted it is the other within self that speaks. Analysis

Becolrrhrg Other: Socia) I??teractio~zto Self-Relection, 21 1-228
Copyright O 2006 by Information Age Publishing
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212 A. GILLESPIE Becoming Other 2 13

shows, however, that the voice of the other, when it arises within the dis- I Pursuing the analysis in this way soon yielded an important finding:
course of self, can have many consequences. It can be resisted, it can be the quoted voice can be more or less uni-uly. In the majority of instances
accepted, it can be negotiated, and it can cause the dynamic emergence of
a novel "me," that is, self-reflection. ~ the quoted voice conveys the meaning intended by the speaker, and there
is little stimulus for novel self-reflection. The interesting instances are
when the quoted voice is unnrly, when it does not convey the meaning
intended, when it destabilized the speakel; or when it conveys too much
APPROACHING THE QUESTION I meaning. In these latter instances, which I term the renegade voice, we
can indeed find the dynamic emergence or self-reflection through per-
When I began to sift through the discussions in search of instances of per- spective-taking.
spective-taking, I was confronted with a problem. Within the data the
boundaries ai-ound perspective-taking are hzzy. When the speaker quotes
what someone else has said, and especially when they do so taking on or
imitating the person's voice and accent, then we can be confident that the

speaker is taking the perspective of the other. When, for example, a tour- When tourists quote Ladakhis they are usually cntirely in contl-ol of the
ist quotes a Ladakhi as saying "America is the place I must go," the tourist Ladakhi voice. They irivoke the voicc of the Ladakhi without any unin-
takes up the "I" position of the quoted Ladakhi. We understand that it is tended consequence, and thus genuinc intcrnal dialogue does not
not the tourist who wants to go to America, nevel-theless, the tourist says ensue -for genuine dialogue is, by definition, always unpredictable.
"I" must go. Here, then, rve clearly have an example of perspective tak- The ventriloquated voicc of the Ladakhis is akin to a puppct, and the
ing. But what about a Ladakhi who says simply "our CULTURE must bc
great"? The genealogical analysis of chapter 9 suggests that the perspec-
1 , tourist is thc puppeteer. Tourists, for example, harness the voice of
Ladakhis to say things such as, "I want to be a guide, I want to have my
tive of tourists is embedded in the Ladakhi concept of culture. And this own tl-avcl agcncy," "America is the place I must go, America is where I
particular quotation even uses the English word "CULTURE." So, does will be a success, America, America," and "lets make a McDonalds!"
this "echo" also qualiQ as an instance of perspective-taking? Getting even Here, the voice of the Ladakhi cotlforins to and objectifies the image 01'
more extreme, if one were to take a rigorously Meadian standpoint, one the modern Ladakhi who is consumed by materialistic dcsirc. These
could argue that all talk entails perspective taking. Talk is the use of sig- q~~otations obey tourists' sepresentation of "lizarclmen," they convey an
nificant symbols, and all significant symbols have two or more perspec- image of modern Ladakhis fantasizing about molley and the West. A
tivcs necessarily embedded in their constitution. Hence the problem: if different set of quotations give voice to the iconic core of the touris~s'
perspective-taking is everywhere, sifting through the discussions search-
ing for instances of it becomes absurd.
1 representation of the traditional Ladakhi-the goat herdel: Within these
quotations there is no mention of money, tourists or the west. The
Accordingly, for the purposes of the analysis, it has been necessary to I concern is solely with the pursuits of traditional life. The subjectivity of
define perspective-taking in a limited way. Given the volume of discus- I
the goat hel-der is simple and untainted by corl-upting modernity or
sion data, we have the luxury of using only the choicest instances, 1 materialism.
nameIy, direct quotation. These are not echoes of the voice of the other,
but clear instances of quotation where we know who is being quoted. Frank: They look more friendly and peacefill
These instances are usually demonstrated by the speaker actually adopt- ! AG: Less stressed?
ing the "I" of the quoted voice. In this sense, the present chapter is an Janet: Yes less stressed
analysis of the voices of the mind (IVertsch, 1991). Focusing only upon Frank: They are getting more stressed-that's for all the world
these quoted voices, I ask: How does the quoted voice mediate the Janet: They can sit around all day and do nothing, I mean they do
stream of discourse? Does it cause any problems for that stream? Does things really slo~vly,I coulcI have been running all day, and
the voice say anything about the speaker? Does the speaker, o r anyone 1
they are like "OK lets get the goats"
else, feel the need to respond to that voice-to enter into dialogue with
it? Does the quoted voice stimulate self-reflection? If so, what is the The goat herder is fi-iendly, peacefill, and stress free: his/her mind is
step-by-step build up? not dogged by the complexities of modern urbanites and does not have
214 A. GILLESPIE Becoming Other 215

the desires that are objectified in the lizardman's voice. Janet also juxta- Illustrating the Renegade Voice:
poses the goat herders' figure with her own. While she is busy, they "can "Twenty Quid is Nothing to you"
sit around all day and do nothing." When a thought does enter the
mind of the goat herder, it is as concrete and innocent as "OK let's get The subset of voices that I want to consider I term renegade voices.
the goats." Although Janet does quote the voice of the goat herder, she These are the voices that say more than their aninlators intend. Renegade
does not enter into dialogue with this voice. The reason, I suggest, is voices say things that their animators seem resistant to hearing. Let us
because it conforms to expectation: it has said nothing new or discom- consider one example in detail. A sensitive topic for tourists is heir
forting. wealthy and privileged economic status relative to Laclakllis. To be posi-
So far we have only looked at single quotations. But sometimes dia- tioned as "me-as-privileged," especially in front of Ladakhis, is discom-
logues are reported. Yet upon anaIysis these too often reveal no genuine forting and is usually resisted. In the following exchange wc hcar thrcc
internal dialogue. Consider the following story narrated by a Swiss young English women in dialogue with the voice of a Ladakhi who posi-
woman. The story derives from her trek into the Markha Valley. In order tions them as wealthy:
to enter this valley trekkers pass check posts where they are requested to
pay a small fee for the upkeep of the area. The Swiss woman, after AG: Do thcy [Ladakhis] have misconceptions about the West?
describing the approach to one of these checkpoints, said: Sophie: I'm sure, -we have misconceptions about hcrc also
Janet: Eve~ybody,for example, this bloke today we were inquiring
The guide said "now they will check if we paid the fee"so he said, "tell them about a jeep back to Manali
we paid the fee" I said, "no why shouId I tell them, you telI them" he said, R11th: (Oh Ik'eah!)
this is very good, "no I am a Buddhist, I cannot lie, so you lie for me"
Sophie: (That was really annoying)
[everyone laughs].
Janet: And we asked if he would give a better price
AG: What price did he give you?
To lie for money is one element of tourists' representation of the mod-
Janet: pI'~~entydollars
ern Ladakhi, while truth-telling conforms to the image of the traditionaI
Ladakhi. The clever guide, as presented in the story, manages to be mod- Ruth: T~ientypounds
ern within the constraints of being traditional. The point to makc, how- Janet: Yeah, Yeah, and we said "can you not do it cheaper?" and he
said "well twenty quid is nothing to you"
ever, concerns the dialogue behveen the Swiss woman and the guide. She
Ruth: He worked it out on a calculator and wcnt "that's only twenty
completely controls this ventriloquated voice, and consequently it docs
one pounds"
not destabilize: it causes her no upset, and she feels no need to respond.
Janet: "It's nothing to you"
In such reported conversations, I would argue, there is no creative inter-
Ruth: And this made me really angly, because, - I mean, of course
nal dialogue and no evidence of self-reflection. The Swiss woman first
we are much richer compared to most people here, but we
speaks from her own indomitable "I" position ("why should I tell them")
are still on a budget, we are still like students, in our count~y
and then from the puppet-guides' "I" position ("I am a Buddhist"). Yet we still have to scrape by and stuff, and buy the cheapest stuff
although the position of the first person pronoun, the "I" position, shifts
no new "me" emerges. This exchange is initiated by my question about Ladakhi misconcep-
Given our interest in self-reflection, none of the above excerpts are tions. Sophie is reflective, commenting that tourists also have nliscon-
particularly revealing or instructive. However, the analysis did find a ceptions. The women then are reminded about an encounter they had
subset of direct quotations which do seem to stimulate genuine self- with a Ladakhi who operated a Jeep. They begin to narrate the stoly in
reflection. These are instances in which tourists lose control of the voice order to illustrate that Ladakhis do have "misconceptions about the
attributed to Ladakhis. In these instances, the speaker is forced into West." The point of the story is that a Ladakhi travel agent asked for a
dialogue with the voice of the other in order to try and regain control high price, and when the women asked for a cheaper price, he said,
over the unintended meaning of the utterance. It is in these, relatively "twenty quid is nothing to you." The women intended to demonstrate,
rare, instances that we glimpse the dynamic emergence of a new "me." for my benefit, that this is a "misconception." It is described as "annoy-
216 A. GILLESPIE Becoming Other 217

ing" and making Ruth "really angry." Alas, the Ladakhi voice cannot be ance was meant to illustrate. The women have thus tacitly conceded to the
dismissed so easily and Ruth interrupts herself suddenly to say, "I persuasive renegade voice, and to a limited extent begun to accept this
mean, of course we are much richer." The "misconception" is now rec- emergent "me-as-privileged" and to integrate it into their sense of self.
ognized as containing more than a vein of truth. Ruth then tries to Indeed, there has been a change from "me-as-poor-student" to "me-as-
silence the renegade voice by recontextualizing her wealth-"we are still equivalent-to-a-mi~lillionaire."
like students, in our country we still have to scrape by and stuff, and
buy the cheapest stuff." However this attempt to deny that "twenty quid Sophie: And it ~vouldbe different iFevelyone said that, do you
is nothing" fails, and as the conversation proceeds, the voice of the know what I mcan, if they all said, "you can aflord that"
travel agent remains at large: you'd think "ok" but a lot of the shops we have been in, like
the guy today he was really honest, he was like "this is how
Sophie: It was just the way he said it, like disdainful, like "of course much it will cost you for a jeep" and we said "do we need
you have twenty pounds to spend" to get more people" and he was like, "well, no it would be
Janet: There are different conceptions ofwhat is rich better for you if yo11 have less people because then you
Ruth: It's just, when, I know when you buy things, I don't mind pay- have more room to yourselves" and we were like "well, do
ing more than the people here pay, that's not the issue, it's we have to pay more?" and he was like "no, so don't botl~cr
just when someone says something like that to you looking lor anyone else" you know, even though he ~vorrld
be making more money out of it, and thal's more likc, I
The women move away from challenging the factuality of the travel much prefer
agent's remark towards an attack on his rude attitude-"It was just the
Ruth : (Yeah)
way he said it." The topic of Ladakhi misconceptions is neglected, and
now, in my presence, the issue is to justify why the Ladakhi should not Sophie: Evcn if he tries to fill it up
have said "twenty quid is nothing to you."
Eventually, the renegade voice is silcnced by Sophie. She juxtaposes
Sophie: He was like really Westernized as we11 the l-ude travel agent with the next travel agent they met. Not satisficcl
Janet: It's not the kind of thing I would say to a millionaire with tlic attitude of the first, thesc women found a second Ladakhi, a per-
Ruth: (That's the thing) sonification of the model-n-day goat herdel; who puts their comfort ahead
Janet: If I ordered an expensive drink and he said, "that's a bit of his profit. Herc we have an example of the opposition benveen the liz-
steep" and I say "oh!, E don't know, 10 quid that's nothing to ardman ~vhowants tourist money and the authentic Ladakhi. The image
you," it's just- of the benevolent Ladakhi leads the discussion away from the topic of
Ruth: I mean it's not a nice attitude to, kind of like, get off on ifyou misconceptions.
are meeting people, I mean we would not say that to people Why did the reported utterance "twenty quid is nothing to you"
here cause these women such anguish? From the standpoint of Ladakhis,
"t~ventyquid" is nothing to clr.ltr~g!~otourists. Sometimes Ladakhis feel
Sophie tries to undermine the moral credulity of her plaintiff, the travel resentful that chhtigpo tourists bargain f~arclwhen they can afford to pay
agent, by categorizing him as a "modern" Ladakhi, describing him as more. If there was a Ladakhi who spoke these words, he probably meant
"really Westernized as well." The subtext of this defensive plea is that if he "you are chlutgfio so you should not be chhad$o," that is to say, "you are
were a traditional Ladakhi, a goat herder, he would have more entitlement rich don't be mean." Maybe he thought that ''twenty quid" is equiva-
to critique herwealth. Janet tries to curtail the renegade voice by imagining Ient to 20 rupees (30p), as some other Ladakhis. Howevel; fi-om the
a reversal of social positions. But instead of taking up the Ladakhi position, standpoint of these women, to be expected to pay more is to be posi-
she sustains her own position, and imagines being taken out for a drink by tioned as a tourist dupe, not a traveler; it causes them to perceive them-
a millionaire. The interesting thing about this reversal is that it makes the selves as rich tourists detached from the local realities of Ladakh. Being
implicit assumption that relative to the travel agent, these women are mil- positioned as a "millionaires" posits a gulf between the English women
lionaires-which is exactly the type of "misconception" the reported utter- and the local Ladakhis.
Becoming Other 2 1 9

From a Meadian perspective this extended excerpt is important, that arises for Frieda is that of being privileged relative to Ladakhis, and
because it does illustrate how the perspective of the other (in this case the arguably, this carries with it the moral imperative that she should do
voice of the travel agent) can lead to the emergence of a new "me." There something to help those who are less fortunate-othe17vise she may per-
is a discernable shift in the way these women conceptualize themselves ceive herself to be selfish and lacking in empathy. The "me" that arises is,
over the duration of the exchange. That this shift may be temporary is thus, threatening, and is similar to the "me" that threatened Janet and
inconsequential. The fact is that the renegade voice, framed within the
her colleagues. Frieda also resists this positioning, but her attempt to do
above stream of discourse, does stimulate these women to reconsider their
so is more effe~tive.
position vis-2-vis Ladakhis. Initially they are outraged at the idea that
That we are dealing with a renegade voice becomes apparent ~ ~ h e n
they are amue~ltrelative to Ladakhis while, by the end of the dialogue,
they effectively concede their relative position as millionaires. When out- Frieda feels she must respond to that voice. Frieda invoked the voice of
raged their "I" position is that of students; when millionaires their "I" the Ladakhi in order to try to demonstrate the misconceptions that Lada-
position becomes that of the travel agent-via the imagination of being kliis have about the West. But once Frieda gives voice to the opinion that
taken out for a drink by a millionaire. That is to say, these tourists come to Switzerland is "paradise," it bccomes a 1-enegade voice, and it convcys
see themselves from the perspective of the Ladakhis-to see themseIves more meaning than Frieda intended. It does no1 so~uldas misconccivcd
as cl~hugpo. as Frieda intended. Indeed, she herself is compelled to address the v o i ~ e
and concede: "Ok I agree," admitting "I have a good life, better there
than hcrc."
Once she has made this unanticipated concession, Frieda then tunls to
The Renegade Voice Contained silencing the voicc-to reign in the renegade voice. She docs this by argu-
ing that in Switzerland people have too many rnatcrialist desires and that
Janet and her colleagues clearly have trouble dealing with the rene- they work a lot. At this point, the woman's liusbancljoins in with a differ-
gade voice of the Ladakhi travel agent. We saw how they tried to under- ent responsc to the renegade voice. He tries to justify why life in Switzer-
mine the travel agent by positioning him as rude and "westernized" and land is "better." He says, "a Ladakhi cannot work 42 hours a week."
then trying to place him in opposition to a more "honest" travel agent. Arguably this opinion, by positioning Ladakhis as lazy or unable to
Although these attempts to contain the renegade voice proved relatively engage in hard work, has its roots in the discourse of Orientalism. How-
ineffective, on several other occasions tourists have dealt with this rene- ever, for Frieda and Icarl this semiotic mediator is successful-it dissolves
gade voice very effectively. The following excerpt illustrates such contain- the guilt that the renegade voice made them feel for living in "paradise."
ment. It is also excerpted from a discussion on Ladakhis After this intellrention, the direction of the conversation shifts. The trow
misunderstandings about the West. bling "me-as-privileged-and-selfis11," appears only briefly, before being
refuted and dissolved.
Frieda: They have the feeling that in our land it is easier, they say The most rupture that the Ladakhi voice, or perspective, causes for
"Oh! Switzerland is beautifid, it's paradise!" they cannot, - tourists is when it positions them as unjustly wealthy and selfish: it
Ok, I agree I have a lot of opportunities, I have a good life, makes them feel veiy uncomfortable. Accordingly, tourists in India have
better there than here. But there are some things they don't cultivated a diverse array of semiotic mediators to allay feelings of guilt
see, that there are aho some parts that are no good, we are for being relatively wealtl~y,Rumors abound about realth thy beggars, mis-
most of the time sad, it's only, "ah, he has money, I want to spent money, lost opportunity, and laziness. These rumors all work to
make more money, he has this car, I want this car" then we legitimate tourists' wealth, and circumscribe the imperative for tourists
have to work a lot, a lot to share their wealth ~vit11Ladakhis. Howevel; the guilt is rarely com-
Karl: A Ladakhi cannot work 42 hours a week pletely assuaged by such narratives. Accordingly, tourists also contain
the voice of Ladakhis t h r o ~ ~ gtheir
h actions. For example, tourists give
The voice of the Ladakhis is invoked as saying "Oh! Switzerland is gifts to Ladakhis, sponsor Ladakhi children to attend school, and
beautiful, it's paradise!" The implication of this is that Frieda and Karl are donate to local charities. These actions protect tourists against the voice
particularly fortunate, certainly more fortunate than Ladakhis. The "me" of Ladakhis which arises in tourists' conscience.
220 A. GILLESPIE Becoming Other 22 1

Self-presentation After the Event my perspective and the perspective of other group members. The mecha-
(the Interview as a Social act) nism here is what Mead called the peculiar significance of the vocal ges-
ture (Farr, 1997; Farr & Anderson, 1984; Mead, 1912), namely the fact
What provides the motivation for silencing the renegade voice? These that the speaker hears the externalized voice in roughly the same way as
speakers are not fully in control of their words, and the meaning of each the rest of the group. By externalizing the voice, by making it a voice in
utterance can mature over time. Speech, in its everyday movement, is the world like any other voice the speaker makes it into something that
improvised and reactive, and as a consequence of this, quite short sighted. they too can dialogue with. One can only dialogue with oneself if one has
Its very spontaneity prompts people to say things that appear contradic- become other to oneself, and the mechanism for this is the vocal gesture.
tory. We have seen, for example, that both tourists' and Ladakhis' dis-
course contains contradictory and ambivalent meanings. This fact has
been observed many times before (Foster, 2001; Wagner, Duveen, THE TOURIST VOICE IN LADAKHI DISCOURSE
Themel, & Verma, 1999). So why does the contradiction between the ren-
egade voice and the voice of the tourist cause so much trouble? Why tour- FVl~ilethe voice of Ladakllis within tourists' discourse rarely comments
ist do not simply accept this poIyphony? Why do they feel threatened by up011 tourists, the voice of tourists within 1,adaklii cliscourse often com-
the renegade voice, and why are they so motivated to silence it? ments upon Ladakhis. The voice of tourists, within Ladakhi discourse
Privately people are not motivated to be consistent in their thinking. repeatedly alludes to Ladakhis and Ladakh. 'X*ourists, for example, are
One can imagine that if a renegade voice arose in private thoughts that quoted as saying that Ladakh is "great" in various ways. Laclakhis say:
invoked a discomfiting contradiction, it would simply be ignored, rather "they [tourists] say that Ladakh is more fun/cornfortahle L~ltilj~o]" and
than instigating elaboration and containment. But people are motivated "they say that they will visit again." Yet wliile the quoted tourists are
to appear reasonable to others. Thus, if the "I" unwittingly invokes a ren- speaking about I,adakh, what thcy say is usually cl~~ite vague. We see this
egade voice within a public group situation, then there is an implicit vagueness in Ladakhis' use ofwords such as "nice," "great," and "happy."
demand to resolve the contradiction. Thus, I suggest, the motivation for I suggest this is a function of Ladakhis lleing able to understand the emo-
dealing with the renegade voice comes largely from the social situation. tional tone of the tourists' perspcctive, but being unable to imagine or
In the case of Janet and her colleagues, the women are, in part, orient- understand the postmaterialist (Inglehart, 1989) interests that shape their
ing to me. I heard them quote the travel agent. Thus, they become aware perspective. Nevertheless, as the following quotatior~swill show, even if
that I may agree with him. Or, more precisely, that I may disagree with t l ~ edetails are vaguc, the emotional tone resonates loudly. The voice of
them. This meaning remains a latent potential, however, it has sufficient tourists within Ladakhi discourse is commanding, demanding, blaming,
weight for the women to engage in some self-presentation. And so, in and shaming.
part, it is to me (and to each other) that they are justifying themselves: my
mere presence (and the presence of each other) demands a reconstructive
effort in order to resolve this potential contradiction. The renegade voice "Why do you eat Meat?"
of the Ladakhi travel agent, and perspective of the group members min-
gle. This dissonance is not a cognitive state, but a social state. The It seems that both tourist and Ladakhi identity positions have points of
attempt to contain the renegade voice is self-presentation after the event. sensitivity with regards to the renegade voice. Tourists, as we have seen,
The speaker cannot go back in time and eat her words. The uttered quo- are particularly sensitive to Ladakhis positioning them as privileged or
tation exists as a brute fact in the world. The best the speaker can do is wealthy. Ladakhis, on the other hand, are sensitive about being posi-
attempt to recontextualize the quotation, after the event, such that it con- tioned as modern and neglecting their culture.
veys the intended meaning. According to the tenets of Tibetan Budclhism, killing animals is wrong,
Why does the renegade voice lead to self-reflection and the emergence but eating them may not be, especially if one says prayers for the animal
of a new "me?" What is the step-by-step process underlying this form of so that it may be reborn into a better realm, such as the human realm.
self-reflection? The renegade voice gains its potency from the fact that the Traditionally, Ladakh has employed Muslim butchers, and vely few Lacla-
speaker hears the voice in the same way as others hear the voice. Within khis were vegetarian. Howevel; the tourist perspective, reinforced by pop-
the social act of the interview, the speaker is able to take (to some extent) ular films like Seuen Years in Tibet and Kundun, is that all Himalayan
222 A. GILLESPIE Becoming Other 223

Buddhists are vegetarians. Accordingly, when tourists see their guide eat- think that these arguments would be successful in silencing the renegade
ing meat they often make a critical remark, creating shame that lingers in voice, the fact is that they are not. Sonarn interjects into the increasingly
the mind of the guide long after the actual encounter. Consider the fol- heated discussion:
lowing exchange between a group of middle aged well educated urban
men: Sonam: Ok, they say, regarding meat, "why do you eat meat?"-In
this altitude, it is vely high, thanks to god I am still here,
Norbu: All of us are aware how much we have changed, it is not like still exist, at that time how would thcy cxist,
it used to be, so there is nothing [no culture] left to be proud Phunchok: (At this altitude!)
about Sonaln: It is only possible with meat [...I then they say, "OK then
Stanzin: And sometimes I feel shame because tourists say to me, "you you had less vegetables, but now you can eat vegetables,
are Buddhist, you are following the path of Buddha, but you they come from Srinagar, Manali, Delhi" but tourists can
are eating meat" at that time I feel shame live without alcohol also!
In this exchange, the topic is "changes in Ladakh," and that "there is Sonarn again invokes the voice of tolu-ists, "why do you eat meat?" and
nothing left to be proud about." Stanzin, a guide, augments this feeling of again the voice demands accountability. The argument that in thc past
shame by invoking the voice of tourists who criticize him for eating meat. there were no vegetables is again advanced so too, that Ladakhis need to
Stanzin reacts to himself from the perspective of tourists. The voice points
eat meat to cope with the high altitude. But these intei-ventions are insuf-
out a contradiction between his beliefs and his practise, the dissonance
ficient, and the renegade voice I-etorts-"but now you can cat vcgetables."
between the ideals of Buddhism and his eating meat. From the perspec-
tive of tourists he is positioned as a bad Buddhist because he eats meat. Today, vegetables arc available in Ladakh thi-oughout the yeac They arc
The tourists' voice is oppl-essive, demanding, and shaming. Stanzin does imported fi-om Srinagal; Manali, and Delhi: thus, them is no excuse. This
not even try to resist. Stanzin simply concurs with the voice, and accepts is a difficult argument to silence and Sonam, insteacl of tackling it directly,
this negative positioning-"me-as-a-bad-Buddhist." seeks to discredit the voice by. 'Tourists' predilection for bccr is well
Although Ladakhis often simply submit to the persuasive rhetoric of known, and for a Ladakhi beer and meat are similar because tlicy are
this invoked tourist voice, there are instances when genuine dialogue both desirable but illicit sout-ces of pleasure. Sonam's plca is, in effect,
emerges. In the discussions, there are times when Ladakhis feel they need that nobody is perfect: Ladakhis eat meat and tourists drink beer. Ncither
to justify their actions, and thus they orient to and respond to the voice of should feel bad.
tourists. In these attempts we can see participants trying to control the Sonam's argument is successfiilly carried, it silences the renegade voice
renegade voice of tourists. Let us return to Stanzin's group. After Stanzin and the conversation moves on. But this act of resistance sccms to have
confesses his shame, Sonam interjects: set up a group precedent, or a norm, for resisting the tourist voice. Latel;
in the same cliscussion, there occurs the sharpest instance of resistance
Sonam: But there is a very good reason for this, in the past there that I came across. The topic of debate is structured by the desire to go
were no vegetables in the winter season fonuard, or develop, and the limiting imperative that Ladakhi culture
Norbu: It is habit must be preserved. As mentioned before, this clash behveen the culture-
Phunchok: It is a convention, it is normal to eat meat fashion discourse and the forward-backward discourse is a common point
Norbu: In the past the vegetation was very poor, and since that of debate among Ladakhis. In the follo~~ing excerpt Punchok connects
time people, we have become used to meat the imperative to presenre the culture with the expectations of tourists,
and he resists:
While Stanzin is willing to submit to the voice of the tourists, Sonam is
not. He argues with the voice saying that "there is a very good reason" for Phunchok: Mostly, when the tourists come, the tourists say, "your cul-
eating meat, namely, that "in the past there were no vegetables in the win- ture is vely nice, you should preserve it" but we also want
ter season." Norbu and Punchok concur, that on the basis of this practical things to be easy
need they have established the habit of eating meat. While one might Norbu: Yeah! We don't like to be animals in a zoo, you know
224 A. GILLESPIE Becoming Other 225 ,

Phunchok: Some tourists come here just to see us in cultural dress, claim that the culture is "getting extinct" begins to escape, and some fur-
but we want change

Here, the voice of tourists yet again instructs Ladakhis, urging that
I ther response is required to contain it. Accordingly, Tsogyal points out the
various ways in ~vhichLadakhis are presewing their culture, and the
impracticality of wearing traditional dress evely day. But all these reasons
they "should" preserve their culture. The voice of the tourist seems to be are not enough to silence the claims of the renegade voice and he then
animated by the Ladakhis' own culture-fashion discourse. That discourse interi-upts himself with a second defensive response. This marks a change
is both constructed by Ladakhis taking the perspective of tourists, and of perspective. He now adopts the "I" position of the tourist voice and
constructed in order so that Ladakhis can take the perspective of tourists. reflects upon Ladakh. "Yes," he says, "the youth have changed." Here he
Phunchok resists the perspective of the tourists and thus also the culture- is conceding to the renegade voice but with a certain qualification: this
fashion discourse. Phunchok opposes both with the forward-backward dis- I change is directly attributable to the interventions or tourists, thus under-
course. He states: "but we also want things to be easy." The implication is I
mining the right for tourists to criticize these chatlges. In descl.ibing the
that tourists live an easy life and the expectation that Ladakh should i ways in which the yot~tllhave changed, he blips between talking about
remain unchanging is unfair. Norbu then joins in comparing tourists
"the youth" and "wc," indicating that the renegade voice has also altered,
touring Ladakh, to those visiting a zoo. Phunchok indicates that the tour-
ists are keeping Ladakhis trapped in their cultural dress, and he resists, if only temporarily, his 'me.' He says, "we smoke cigarettes, alcohol, hash-
stating: "we want change." Within this internal dialogue, the voice of the ish and so on." At the end of the utterance Tsogyal is cornpsomised, hav-
tourist creates genuine dialogue. The "me-as-neglecting-my-culture" ing tricd to resist the renegade voice, he now feels complicit in that he is
emerges. But the interesting thing is that the Ladakhis manage to success- not doing enough to prese~vethe culture. Tsogyal tried to resist the rene-
fully resist the renegade voice, and they silence it with persuasive argu- gade voice of the tourist, but failed, and ends up with a new "me," namely,
ments. "me-as-neglecting-the-cl~lture."
The emergence of a new "me" is notjust the emergence of a ncw sense
of self, or self-concept, that exits solely at the level of ideation. The "me,"
"Yes the Youth Have Changed" for Mead, is a pl~aseof social action. The "me" ariscs through perspec-
tive-taking within a social act. Tsogyal's emergent "me-as-smoking-and-
Resisting the tourist voice is rare, and even when it does occur, it is not drinking," for example, arises by taking the perspective of tom-ists. But
always successful. There are several instances where efforts to control the this "me" also contributes informs future action and interaction. The
reengage voice, but which result in capitulation and thus the dynamic "me" enables the self to contml sclf's own actions and uttei-ances from the
emergence of a new "me." Consider the following utterance from Tsogyal, standpoint of the other. Tsogyal, for example, could choose to give up
a middle aged urban man, who has had considerable experience with smoking in orcler to contribute to prcsei-ving the culture.
tourists: While we do not know whether Tsogyal has made such a choice, there is
significant supportive evidence from across Ladakh, that "me-neglecting-
Tourists say we do not value our CULTURE and it is getting extinct. It is not the-culture" is mediating many actions. At festivals, Ladakhis are forced
true. In the case of CULTURE, in festivals and marriages, we observe all the to wear the gonchha, and some political groups have tried, unsuccessf~~lly,
TRADJTION and CULTURE. CULTURE is not for all the time, you cannot
to ban young Ladakhi women from wearing jeans. The gonchha has been
go around with a perak [an elaborate wedding headdress containing a
woman's dowry in the form of turquoise]. We do wear gonchha when there is made the compulsoiy uniform in some schools. Moves have been made to
a festival or a PROGRAMME.-Yes, the youth have CHANGED, a bit, but standardise the steps in traditional Ladakhi dances. Also, an increasing
this is because of TOURISTS as we live with them. We smoke CIGA- number of Ladakhis, especially the young, are becoming vegetarian. At
RETTES, alcohol, hashish and so on. Some TOURISTS do these and this weddings, a limit has been put on holv Inany animals may be slaughtered.
has a n effect on the youth of ladakh. This is right. Hemis gonzim, the most powerful in Ladakh, recently stopped senring
meat dishes during its famous, and vely public, festival and in its tourist
Tsogyal invokes the voice of tourists, who say that Ladakhis do not restaurant (though the gonzfia kitchen still prepares meat for the monks).
value their culture and that "it is getting extinct." Tsogyal's initial stance is I
In all these ways, one could argue, that Ladakhis are mediating their
to firmIy resist this voice, stating simply, "it is not true." However, the I
action by orienting to and addressing the demanding voice of tourists.
226 A. GILLESPIE Becoming Other 227

The instant of self-reflection, arising through perspective-taking, con- hotv the perspective of the other, objectified in the voice of the other, can
tains both agency and constraint. There is constraint imposed by the per- stimulate the formation of a new "me." In both cases the "me" that
spective being taken. This is very clear for the Ladakhis. The tourists emerges is discomforting. Tourists become aware of their position of com-
repeatedly tell them that they should preserve their culture, and the parative wealth, and thus thc possibility of being "me-as-mean." Ladakhis
Ladakhis do not have much room for simply ignoring this. This is the
become aware of a feeling of obligation to preserve Ladakhi culture, and
perspective that they are offered. However, there is also agency, as dem-
to behave in ways that tourists cxpect (like not eating meat), and thus
onstrated both by their resistance to this perspective, and by the ways in
their other desires and interests. Both tourists and Ladakhis seek to con-
which they mediate their behavior from this perspective. When Hemis
tain the renegade voice and use circr~tnventingstrategies (Josephs & Vals-
gomnpa elected to stop serving meat to tourists, its community were both
constrained and also intentioned actors. When souvenir sellers manage to inel; 1998; Valsinel; 2002) to avoid the iinplicalioli of the voice for self.
sell a "yak bone" carving to tourists they are both orienting to the per- They tly to argue with the voice, they try to disnliss it, and they even act in
spective of tourists, and profiting from that perspective. And when Lada- ways to placate the voice. In all these senses, tlie internal dialogues and
khis orient to the perspective of tourists by preserving their culture, and the emergent self-reflections are va-y real-they are of consequence. Yet
presenting it to tourists, so again they are also answering to their own somewhat ironically, the problems caused by the reneg~devoicc are prob-
interests. Orienting to the orientation of the other is both to constrain lems caused by the speaker. The voice, althougl~it may originate within
ones action, and to open up nav domains of agency. the social world, is introduced by the speaker. It is the speaker who brings
tlie discomforting self-I-eflection upon themselves, and when dialogue
ensues, we witness the speaker speaking to him or hcrsclf. In all cases the
INTERNAL DIALOGUE AND SELF-REFLECTION dialogue is behveen different aspects of the speaker(s) own dialogical self.
Thc present chapter has dcmonstrated that perspective-taking, in the
The voice of tourists, within Ladakhi discourse, is of much more conse- form of quotation, can catalyze debate (inner and outer) and lead to self-
quence and import than the voice of Ladakhis within tourists' discourse. reflection. Can we tracc these instances of self-reflection back furtller, to
There seems to be a power asymmetry between Ladakhis and tourists. This the touring act? In exactly what sense can we say that these instances of
finding corroborates the analysis in chapter 6, which found that the tour- self-reflection originate in this social act? I want to suggest that the con-
ing act has had a greater influence on the Ladakhi universe of discourse tent of thc renegade voice can be traced back largely to the touring act,
than it has had on the tourist universe of discourse. Why might tourists be whilc the dynamics of self-reflectioi? can be traced back to the general
more important for Ladakhis than Ladakhis are for tourists? Thcre are two dynamics of all social acts.
possible reasons for this asymmetry. first, a basic stiuctural difference: Let us consider the content first. Where do the renegade voices come
Ladakhis spend more time with tourists than tourists spend with Ladakhis. from? That these voices are attributed to tourists and Ladakhis is itself a
Tourists visit Ladakh for a couple ofweeks, but Ladakhis have been living trace pointing to the touring act. If there tvere no touring act, it is incon-
with tourists since 1974.While most tourists encounter Ladakhis injust one ceivable that Ladakhis would be quoting tourists, and feeling shamecl by
year, Ladakhis encounter tourists every year. This asymmetry of exposure the sheer weight of tourist insistence and critique. The case is less applica-
could account for the fact that tourists are more important for Ladakhi ble to tourists. Arguably, tourists without ever traveling to Ladakh or for
identity than visa versa. A second possible explanation lies in an asymmetry that mattel; any developing countly, might feel uncomfortably privileged
of symbolic power. Both tourists and Ladakhis subscribe, at least implicitly, and wealthy. Yet, the experience of this privilege, as described above, can
to a model that positions Ladakh in the past and the West in the future. only be understood in terms of these tourists being in Ladakh. In the
Thus, tourists people Ladakhis' imagined fkture, while Ladakhis people genealogical analysis we tried to connect particular content with particu-
tourists' imagined past. Assuming then that the future is more important lar social acts. With regards to the voices of the other this is not possible.
than the past, in the sense that people are goal directed (Boesch, 199I), It is dificult to say precisely in which areas of the touring act these voices
then we would again expect that tourists would be more important for originate. The voices tend to be generalized voices (e.g., "Oh! Switzerland
Ladakhis than Ladakhis would be for tourists. is beautiful" and "why do you eat meat?"). In Meadian terminology, we
Yet despite this asymmetry, the same underlying dynamic is evident in can say that these voices originate in a generalized Ladakhi other tvithin a
both the tourist and the Ladakhi discourse. In both corpora we can see generalized touring act.

Now, let us turn to the dynamics of self-reflection. What is the dynamic
underlying the renegade voice, and does it originate in the touring act?
Self-reflection is such a generalized dynamic, that it is necessary to relate
it to social acts in general. And my point, here, would be that self-reflec-
tion is, in its very structure, a social act. When the voice of the other is
invoked and made manifest in sound, in a vocal gesture, then it becomes
a vocal gesture in the world, just like any other utterance, or indeed just as CHAPTER 12
if it had been spoken by the person being quoted. The quoted utterance
calls out responses in all who hear it-including the person who voiced it.
Thus when the speaker reacts to, and dialogues with the renegade voice
this is in actuality no different from normal dialogue. The underlying
stnlcture is the same. There is creativity through dialogue. The utterance
of "my interlocutor," Merleau-Ponty (1945t1962, p. 354) writes, "draws
from me thoughts which I had no idea I possessed." The defining feature
of dialogue is that the utterance of the other calls out something new
within self. And this creativity is evident in the renegade voice. The speak-
ers are surprised by the renegade voice, and demands a response and in
most cases it calls a response out of thein. The only peculiarity is that both
utterance and response originate in the same person. This, however, It is now time to broaden the analysis and to focus on self-reflection
merely demonstrates the social nature of the self. As Mead remarked: "A directly. In the previous cliapter we approached self-reflection incli-
multiple personality is in a certain sense normal" (1934, p. 142). scctly, by s e a ~ l i i n gout instanccs or perspective-taking and explored
whether perspective-taking might lead to self-reflection. I11 the pl-cscnt
chapter we start with self-1-cflection. Gathet-ing together all the instances
of self-reflection that appear in the discussions, the analysis attempts to
make these explicable in terms of Mead's theoly.
This analysis distinguishes two types of self-reflection, which I term
self-mediation and short-circuiting. Self-mediation begins with an utter-
ance and ends with self reflecting upon that utterance, from the per-
spective of a more or less gencralizccl other. Short-circuiting begins with
a description of the other and ends with self recognizing that the same
description applies to self. In self-mediation self becomes other by
"stepping out" of an ongoing utterance or action, while in short-circuit-
ing self becomes other by "stepping into" the action or utterance of
another. Having explicated and explored these two dynamics, the chap-
ter concludes by showing how both forms of self-reflection can be made
explicable in terms of the significant symbol, and thus the social act.

Beco?f!i?fgOther: Aam SocinZ Inte~nctionto Self-Relecfion, 229-254
Copyright O 2006 by Information Age Publishing
All rights of reproduction in any form resewed.
230 A. GILLESPIE Becoming Other 231

APPROACHING THE ANALYSIS so as to observe self. This is a "stepping out" of ongoing activity. 0 1 1 the
other hand there is what I call short-circuiting, which is more akin to
Searching through both tourist and Ladakhi discourse for instances where "stepping into" someone else's shoes. Short-circuiting begins with self
a new "me" emerges is difficult. Simply put, because this aspect of Mead's reacting to the other and then realizing that self is the same as the other,
theory has been so rarely operationalized, there is no precedent for how such that reacting to the other becomes reacting to oneself, or self-reflec-
or what to code as evidence of self-reflection. The problem is similar to tion. Self-mediation seems to be what Mead had in mind when talking
what we encountered when searching for instances of perspective-taking about self-reflection. In self-mediation the "I" becomes the "me." Mead,
(chapter I l), and it is a problem of what to exclude from consideration. however, does not mention anything like short-circuiting. In short-circuit-
There is a sense in which every utterance entails a degree of self-reflec- ing it is the othe~;the "you" or "they," that becomes the "me." k l d , as the
tion. Certainly, Mead would maintain that it is so, for every utterance analysis will show, this latter form of self-reflection is particularly reveal-
positions the speaker vis-his something or someone. In so far as the ing about the way in which self-reflection develops.
utterance is made up out of significant symbols, so it must entail some
self-reflection. But again, to say that self-reflection is everyvhere is, ironi-
cally, to let it slip from our grasp. SELF-MEDIATION: "1" BECOMES THE "ME"
The present analysis searched for instances where either tourists or
Ladakhis make some comment about themselves which seems novel. This Self-mediation refers to any movcnlent which carries the speaker from
is a somewhat vague criterion, and doubtless another researcher would being embedded in some activity/perspective towarcl a reflection upon
orientate to and locate hrther instances. According to this criteria state- that activity. It is the movernellt frorn enacting an "I" position, to reflect-
ments such as "we tourists destroy everything" were not included because ing upon that "I" position (now a "me"). I11 self-mediation tllc "I" attitude
although they imply a "me" ("me-as-a-tourist") this "me" does not entail a at titne one, becomes the topic at time two (i.e., a "me"). Wllat is thc
novel emergence. Instead the "me" entailed seems to be stagnant, and mechaaism that enables self-mediation? In self-meditation the inecha-
one that the speaker is resigned to. In order to locate the genuine emer- r~isrrlof stepping out seems to bc taking the perspective of the other. The
gence of a new "me" emphasis is placed upon instances where one "me" is following excerpt is an ill~istrationfrom the tourist cliscussions:
claimed and then in the course of the discussion a new "me" emerges.

Thus the analysis focuses not upon fixed positions, but rather upon repo- Ray: They have that, em, you can see it in their face, that inner
sitioning, o r the seIf-reflective movement between positions. peace, happiness, and really really down to eartll and friendly
The analysis identified 60 incidents of self-reflective repositioning people
across both corpora, but I cannot claim this to be exhaustive because Guy: That is also what you scc, in the villages, people who are
repositioning is difficult to spot. Sometimes it happens quickly, and some-
times it happens over a longer time span. And it can happen in a more o r 1 happy, look peaceful, - maybe I imagine things, but - smiling.
Louise: Always saying, what is it, 'j'~dley"[hcllo] they all say ''jjwlley," all
less dramatic way. In any case, it is not the frequency that is of interest in of them, they don't even know you
the present analysis, but rather the underlying mechanism of perspective
iI Ray: It's definitely different to the West, because in London
nobody speaks to you
The analysis proceeded with questions on two fronts. First, is the reflec-
tor taking the perspective of someone else when reflecting on self? If so These tourists, in this excerpt, hold a particularly positive view of life
who? And what is the content of the self-reflection (i.e., what is the "me")?
in Ladakh. In Ladakh, they say, evelyone is happy and says "jz~lley" or
The second line of questioning concerns the real-time, or step-by-step, "hello," unlike in London where "nobody speaks to you." The self-
interaction sequence leading up to the moment of self-reflection. What mediation occurs in the utterance by Guy, who interrupts himself to
prompts the speaker to interrupt him/her self and self-reflect? doubt his own optimism. Guy doubts his own experience of Laclaklii vil-
Surveying the instances of self-reflection, in the light of Mead's theory, lagers being happy, saying, "maybe 1 imagine things." In this act of self-
revealed an important discovery. Two distinct dynamics of self-reflection mediation, Guy emerges to himself, briefly, as "me-imagining-thillgs."
can be identified. First, there is what I call self-mediation. Self-mediation In this moment of self-reflection the topic of Guy's utterance is no
begins with self involved in some activity, and then switching perspective longer the "happy" Ladakhi villagers, but instead becomes his own pos-
232 A. GILCESPIE Becoming Other 233

sibly distorted perception of these villagers. The moment of self-reflec- quite disappointed I haven't, I don't know, eh, in 8 days you
tion, however, is short-lived, and does not seem to affect either Guy or can't, em, [pause]
his colleagues. AG: Especially when you have to acclimatize
When Guy self-reflects and becomes the topic of his own thought ("me- Laura: Yeah, I don't know, if its just having been with a family in the
imagining-things"), he is becoming other to himself. The question is: first place I now want everything to be personal, to see proper
Does this occur because Guy is taking the perspective of an other on him- India rather than just thc India that everyone - that sounds
self? It is impossible to answer this question precisely. Certainly there is a rather c1ichd.d - but that tourists see [pause and sigh] so I am a
change of perspective and Guy comments upon himself in the same man- tourist really
ner that he might comment upon the optimistic statements of someone
else, But, whether this arises because Guy takes the perspective of Lada- 11.1 this excerpt, Laura mediates her own s p e e ~ htwice. First, as she
khis, other tourists or me is unclear. Probably it is a combination of all hears her utterance begin shc sccs herself fi-om tlie standpoint of others
these perspectives, that is, he is taking the perspective of the generalized and the norm that people shoulcl talk for roughly equal amounts of time
other. in a group discussion. From this standpoint she perceives that she is talk-
What is the step-by-step interaction sequence that leads Guy to this ing too nluch. This awareness manifests in the utterance "soriy, I am talk-
moment of self-reflection? It is likely that the "peculiar importance of the ing too tnuch"-~~~hicl~ fails to stop her from talking. This utterance, then,
vocal gesture" is again critical. Mead (1912, 1934, p. 36) observed that the is perhaps as much an act of self-presentation (sceking reassurance from
vocal gesture is peculiar because self hears it in the same way that other her intcrloc~itorsthat she is not talking too much, or at lcast letting them
hears it. This means that Guy hears his own utterance about the "happy" know that she knows she is talking too much) as it is a genuine expression
villagers in the same way that he might hear another tourist talk about the of thought. Nevertheless, we can ask, what prompted Laura to make this
"happy" Ladakhis, which in turn means that he can react to himself in the sclf-reflective act of self-pi-cscntation? Yet again, the vocal gesture is
same way that he would react to an other. If Guy heard another tourist say important. Laura hears her-self "talking too much." And because she
that Ladakhi villagers are "happy," he might interject that this is an overly becomes other to herself, through the vocal gesture, so she is able to com-
I-omanticimagination. In the present case, because he hears himself as he ment upon herself in much the same manner thal shc might comment
wouId hear an othel; he interrupts himself in the same way that he might upon somcone else rvho is talking too much.
interrupt an other. Thus, simply put, Guy becomes other to himself by Does this act of sclf-reflection originate in the touring act? No. This is
virtue of hearing himself. part of' a much broader social institution, which we might call the talking1
listening act. This is a social act that we are all socialized into from a vely
young age, and importantly, it is a social act in which we have repeatedly
Self-Mediation From the Perspective of Another Tourist experienced both sides: sometimes we talk, and sometimes we listen. Mfe
have all suffered others who doniinatc thc conversation. And Laura, I
In self-mediation, self takes some other perspective on self, and the suggest, finds herself suffering her self. She is latnenting at her own ver-
question of which perspective self takes remains open. In tourist self- bosity in the same way that she might lament the verbosity of an other.
Thus while this instance of self-reflection does not originate in the tour-
mediation, when the analysis points toward some specific perspective that
ing act, it does seem to obey the logic of a social act-namely the talking1
is being taken, it is always the perspective of other tourists-never the
listening act.
perspective of Ladakhis. The following excerpt is typical. It is taken from
Laura's second act of self-mediation, however, is more closely related to
a discussion I had with two English students who, after spending 8 days in
the touring act. Laura hears herself say that she wants to "be more part of
Ladakh, have decided to leave. it, rather than just a tourist" and that she wants "to see proper India."
These utterances position Laura apart from other tourists. We get the
Laura: I wanted to be more involved, eh, - sorry, I am talking too impression that she wants a more authentic experience. She wants to be a
much - but I wanted to come up here for longer, to do volun- traveler, "rather than just a tourist passing through."
tary work, to be more part of it, rather than just a tourist pass- But, ironically, by tlying not to be a tourist Laura perceives herself to
ing through, taking photos and buying things, eh, eh, I am be "me-as-a-clichCd-tourist." The utterance is particularly complex
234 A. GILLESPIE Becoming Other 235

because ostensibly Laura is saying that she is not a tourist, yet upon hear- have the same perspectives: they participate in the same discourse. All
ing herself say this, Laura is prompted to observe that her aspirations they must do is react to themselves in the same way that they react toward
sound "rather cliched." Laura tries to move on, reverting to her original other tourists.
attitude in order to complete her utterance, but the emerging "me-as-a-
clichkd-tourist" continues, resulting in a sigh of capitulation and the state-
ment "so I am a tourist really." Again, it is the vocal gesture that prompts
self-reflection. The more she speaks, the more she hears her own aspira- Social Self-Mediation
tions as "clichCd." She herself states that her utterance "sounds" rather
clichkd-thus supporting the interpretation that this self-reflection has In the self-mediations analyzed so far there is a sense in which they are
occurred in the auditory modality. Laura's "me-as-a-clichdd-tourist" not only for the benefit of the speaker, but that they ai-e also oriented to
emerges in Laura's response to her listening to herself. As Mead (1934, the interlocutors. Specifically, the mediating attitudes may be attitudes
p. 140) writes: "We are finding out what we are going to say, what we are that are attributed by the spcaker to the rest of the group. The speaker
going to do, by saying and doing, and in the process we are continually then is listening to themselves speak from the standpoint of the group.
controlling the process itself." This aspect of self-mediation is particularly evident when I ask tourists to
But why should the vocal gesture, of wanting to see "proper India," legitimate their actions. In such situations one can witness tourists reori-
stimulate such self-reflection? The vocal gesture is a significant symbof: enting to their o~vnactions from tny standpoint. Such direct questioning,
it is a bridge behveen the two perspectives within the self-narration act. thcn, leads tourists to pause and consider their own actions fi-om the
Within this act, the tourist telling the narrative tries to claim the posi- point of view of another tourist, or a researcher. For example, in one dis-
tion of traveler--of having toured "proper India." However, the tourist cussion an English couplc told me about a trip they had taken on a motor-
Iistening to the narrative has a different perspective: they see in such bike along the Leli valley:
claims a tourist trying to be a traveler, and they find it "clich6d." When
we say that Laura's utterance is significant symbolic, we are saying that Claire: F\k took photos of all the monasteries
it combines these two perspectives within the self-narrating act. And AG: As you drove past?
because Laura has occupied both of these social positions (both narra- Ben: A lot of them were close up, wc'd stop and drive, also people
tor and listener), and she has integrated these perspectives, so she is working in the Iields
able to say "clichdd." AG: And, why did you photo the goinpas?
Laura, I suggest, begins by trying to sustain "me-as-a-traveler" and she Claire: Because they look beautiful
does so by differentiating herself from the tourist dupes. As she speaks, Ben: Because that's what you are supposed to do!
however, and the vocal gesture works its magic, externalizing her
thoughts, and making them audible for all (including herself), a part of In their stoty, this couple indicate that they took photographs of "all
her self takes the "I" position of the posttourist. And from this perspective the monasteries" without going in to see any of them, so I ask if they took
she sees her own attempts to claim a "traveler" position as "clichCd." the photographs without even stopping the motorbike. To do so would,
Thus, in this instance, Laura becomes other to herself, not by taking the within the tourist discourse, typify the behavior of the tourist dupe. Ben
perspective of Ladakhis, but by taking her own perspective: she reacts to her- says, somewhat defensively, that they did stop for the photographs, and
self as a "traveler" in much the same way that she would react upon hear- he begins to change the topic. My first question perhaps made Ben feel
ing about the strivings- of an other "traveler." that he was creating the impression in my mind of being a tourist who was
Laura's feat of self-reflection is based upon an elaborate significant only having a superficial, or drive-by, experience. When I ask "why" they
symboIic structure, the web of discourse that weaves the "I" positions of photographed the monasteries, the touristic quality of their actions
tourist, traveler, and posttourist together. This is not Laura's own cre- become salient, and Ben responds with a post-tourist joke. Rather than
ation. This, as demonstrated in chapter 8, is a global discourse that has denying that he is a typical tourist, or tlying to justify his actions, Ben
been constructed in the global social act of touring. Because dI tourists (at abandons the ideal of a coherent self-image and presents an inconsistent
least all the ones I spoke to) share this discourse, so they are all able to self-image. In saying, "because that is what you are supposed to do," Ben
take each other's perspectives with Iittle effort. Why? Because they all affirms his awareness of their photographing activity as touristic, and yet
236 A. GILLESPIE Becoming Other 237

he admits to going along with what he is "supposed to do. Indeed, the "me-against-culture" emerges, and needs to be dismissed. Accordingly,
reflective utterance while ostensibly positioning himself as a tourist dupe, Tllundup is quick to change perspective, and adds, "but we should pre-
due to its reflectivity actually claims a posttourist position. Thus, as with serve our culture too." This self-reflective manoeuvre, is an act of self-
Laura, there is a divergence between the "me" ostensibly claimed and the mediation. The use of "but," as usual, marks a dialogical shift of perspec-
"me" implicitly claimed. tive. Thundup is stepping out of his previous perspective, and mediating
Between Ben's first utterance and his second utterance, he has shifted it from a second perspective,
perspective from that of describing his motorbike tour, to commenting Whose perspective is T h u n d ~ ~taking?
p We cannot say precisely whose
upon himself. He experiences himself as "me-as-a-typical-tourist." The perspective Thundup takes, rather wc arc again dealing with a general-
point I want to draw out, however, is that this self-mediation is inextrica- ized perspective. He is taking the perspective of the ~ulture-fashiondis-
bly distributed and embedded in the group process. My utterances, in this course, and this discourse is as much his as any other Ladakhis. In the
instance, are part of his self-mediation. Without my questioning, it is above excerpt, we see Thundup bcgin using the fol-ward-backward dis-
unlikely that Ben would have been led to this particular self-reflection
course, elaborating this point of view, and tl~enas hc hcars himself
within this particular discursive stream.
speak, he switches discourse, and takes up the culture-fasllion discourse.
Thet-e are contrasting instances when Ladakhis can be seen to movc
in the reverse direction. After valorizing the need to presci~cLaclakhi
LADAKHI SELF-MEDIATION culturc, they self-reflect, and add that there is a ncecl to develop as well.
In both cascs, the analysis reveals the same underlying mechanism that
Turning to the Ladakhi corpus, we can also find instances of self-media- we found with regards to tourists. Self-mediation implies a sllifi of per-
tion. Unsurprisingly, the main source of self-l-eflection is again the dialog- spective, but this shift does not have to be to the actual perspective of
ical tension between the foiward-backward discourse and the culture- another, rather it can be simply a sccond discourse. If follows, however,
fashion discourse. As mentioned at the outset, this is the main dialogical
i that becau~ediscourses are stlared ally s u ~ hswitch or discourse will,
tension within the Ladakhis universe of discourse. The way in which these 1 simultaneously, be an instance of taking the perspective of ocliers. That
colliding discourses can produce self-reflection is illustrated in the follow- I is to say, taking up a ncw discourse is tlie same as taking thc perspec-
tive of the group who uses that discourse. Thus, for example, Thutl-
ing excerpt, from a middle aged Ladakhi man talking to his friends about
the need to gonfonvard." I
dup's taking up or the culture-fashion discourse is also an instance of
1 taking thc perspective of his colleagues in the group, because they also
Thundup: Maenever there is a construction of a building, making 1 share this discourse.
roads, bridges etc. we use our own hands. They [tourists/the
West] use machines for everything. So I think we are 50
years behind their countries. We need to develop techni- I
Self-Mediation From the Perspective of a Tourist
cally - but we should preserve our culture too

Thundup starts by comparing Ladakh to the West. This comparison is Self-mediation can also arise through taking the perspective of a spe-
used to sustain the idea that Ladakh is "50 years behind." He employs the cific other. While Thundup reflects 011 his previous utterance by changing
backward-forward discourse and consequently asserts, "We need to discourse, in the following excerpt Namgyal self-mediates by taking my
develop technically." Because the Ladakhi discourse has two opposing perspective. This exchange is from a group discussion between urban
evaluative dimensions (forward-backward and culture-fashion) the goal of Ladakhi men, who are speaking in English. I am also present, but I am
going fonvard often comes into conflict with the negatively concept of not leading the discussion. We join the group just after the moderator has
fashion. For exampIe, Thundup advocates going fonvard (modernization) asked the group about tourists:
so persuasiveIy, that he courts and potentially comes into conflict with the
culture-fashion discourse. His utterances couId be interpreted as insinuat- Chakdor: So many foreigners, sometimes they ask us rubbish ques-
ing that Ladakhis should forget their culture. As he hears himself say this, tions, bla bla, so many things
238 A. GILLESPIE Becoming Other 239

Namgyal: Tourists ask us very silly questions sometimes, "why don't This is again an illustration of the close relation between self-reflection
we preserve our culture?"- I agree with this, I should pre- and action.
serve my culture, but ok, sometimes this question,- OK,
you [orienting to me] are anthropologist, I don't know
what you are, but with you it's OK - I mean many tourists
are coming some are doctors, some are pilots, Separating Social Self-Mediation From
Tashi: And teachers [everyone laughs because Tashi is a teacher] Individual Self-Mediation?
Pllunchok: (We clean the rubbish)
Namgyal: Yes, we are doing good things. We have banned plastic In the case of both tourists and Laclakhis we have scen how self-
bags. Travel Agent Association of Ladakh has sent people mediation is often dccply embedded in the interaction context of the
to Markha valley to clean, so we do1 In these few years, discussion gn,up. Speakers are aware of what they say from the perspec-
people are quite aware, we are on track, but we cannot t i ~ eof the group. In many excerpts it seems to be impossible to draw
change our life the line betwee11 interpersonal and intrapersonal pronipls for scll-
reflection. Even when self-mediation occurs within one uuerance born
Chakdor works as a guide, and he comments on the "~ubbishques- one individual, it is heavy with the presence of the group. The gaze of
tions" that tourists ask. Namgyal, who owns a trekking agency, agrees. To the group ~riembessupon thc speakel; nods, and raised eyebrows are all
demonstrate how "silly" tourists are he invokes the voice of tourists who part of t l ~ eso-called psychological process of sclf-reflection. T l ~ esocial
say, "w11y don't you preserve your culture?" As soon as Namgyal gives trigger for self-reflection is perhaps most evident when taken to thc
voice to thc tourist attitude, however, it threatens to become a renegade extreme, h a t is, when thc shift of perspective occul-s betwccn pcople
voice, and he immediately replies, "I agree with this, I should preserve my hefore occurring ~vithinthe give11 incliviclual's streanl of thought. An
culture." He then tries to contain this renegade voice by saying "but example of f ~ ~ l ldistributecl
y and social self-reflection is cviclent in the
sometimes this question" and then before he finishes the utterance, his following excerpt. The moderator asks the group what rnakes them
perspective has changed, and he is now listening to himself from my embarrassed.
point of view. At this moment, upon hearing a renegade voice, I was par-
ticularly interested. I may have given Namgyal a second glance. Previ- Ladakhi moderator: Right, Right, you all are right. Now what makes
ously in the group discussion I had chided Namgyal for not wearing his you EMBARRASSED?
gonchha. Namgyal is now worried that he may be criticizing me. For Padma: I feel sad, you know what rnakes me sad, Ladakhi
Sonam, "me-being-impolite" emerges. Accordingly, Namgyal, being girls wearing jeans
polite, tries to differentiate me from the tourists he is about to criticize. Angchuk: Do you really!
He states: "OK, you are anthropologist, I don't know what you are, but Stanzin: Who says, "now see the butts, see the move-
with you it's OK." Here the self-mediation depends upon my presence, ment"? [Eve~yonelaugh, including Padma]
even though I do not speak. My presence is enough to make salient the
fact that I may have a different interpretation of Namgyal's utterance. In
the middle of his utterance, then, Namgyal steps out of his utterance and
1 Padma laments that Ladakl~iwomen are moving from culture to fash-
ion: They are wearing jeans. On this occasion Padma's friends see the
takes my perspective. contradiction before Padma does. They accuse him of actually appreci-
Following the conversation, for the sake of completeness, we can see !
ating Ladakhi women wearing jeans. His friends will not let him claim
how the renegade voice continues to wreak havoc, and still needs to be the position associated with culttire, ancl they position him as cor-
silenced. Having differentiated me from other tourists, Namgyal rupted by desire, and thus associate him with fashion instead. I11 this
returns, not to tourists' "silly questions," but to trying to deal with the exchange Padma is led to reflect upon himself, ho~vevel; the loop of
silly question "why don't you preserve your culture?" In order to try and I reflection extends out into the social world. The reflection happens first
silence this voice he lists all the efforts that have been made to placate in the minds of Angchuk and Stanzin and then in Padma's own mind.
tourists. He mentions that he and other travel agents sent people along 1
I First Padma's colleagues position Yadma as a "fashion Ladakhi" and
one of the popular trekking routes in order to clean u p the rubbish. I
only after this does Padma arise to himself as "me-being-a-fashion-
240 A. GILLESPIE Becoming Other 241

Ladakhi." Interpersonal interaction scaffolds intrapersonaI discourse the generalized other (for example, when Laura reflects that she is talk-
and intrapersonal self-reflection. Accordingly, the next time Padma ing too much). In all cases self-mediation entails a shift of perspective.
begins to voice such an opinion, he may self-mediate before he speaks,
or even during bis utterance, drawing the loop of self-reflection toward
the intrapsychological realm. The point, however, is that whether the TOURISTS' SHORT-CIRCUITING:
self-mediation occurs within the interpersonal or the intrapersonal
realm, it is a sociai dynamic that involves taking the perspective of a
more or less generaiized other.
Short-circuiting is, in a sense, the reverse dynamic of self-mediation. In
self-mediation self "steps out" of a stream of thought and reflects upon it.
I11 short-circuiting self begins by talking about, usually criticizing othel;
BLURRING THE INTRAINDIVIDUAL AND and then realizes that one is also talking about self. I11 self-mediation self
INTERINDIVIDUAL DISTINCTION becomes other to self by taking the perspective of other on self's ongoing
action. In short-circuiting self becomes othcr to self by seeirlg self in the
Self-mediation redirects the course of an action or utterance. The point at other. If self-mediation is about the "I"' of a previous action or uttcrancc
which this mediation can occur can either be proximate to the impulse, in becoming the "me" then short-circuiting is about the "your' or "they"
which case the impulse may never lead to any observable utterance. In becoming the "me."
these instances we can say that the self-mediation occurs within the intra- While Mead wrote aboiit the "I" of a previous thought becoming the
psychological realm. The above analysis has focused, however, upon "me" of a subsequent thought, lie did no1 theorize thc "tlicy" beconling
instances where the mediation occurs once an utterance has been initi- the "me." However, the dynamic of short-circuiting provides strong sup-
ated. Sell-reflection, I suggest, is particularly prominent at this point due port for Mead's tlleoty. According to the thcoiy taking the perspective of
to the peculiarIy reflexive nature of the vocal gesture, that is, speakers thc other, which is fundamental to significant symboIi7ation, arises
hear themselves speak in the same way that others hear them. Upon hear- through self generalizing self's own responses. Self responds tu self in 111e
ing their own utterances, speakers can, because they share the same dis- same way that self responds to others. And it is this dyr~arnicthat short-
courses as the group, react to themselves from the standpoint of the circuiting demonstt-ates, quite vividly. In short-circuiting, self is becorrli~lg
group. other.
We have also seen how self-mediation may be prompted by others.
Ben did not mediate his photographic behavior while he was photo-
graphing gomfia from the motorbike, or while he was telling me about
From "They" to "We"
his photographic activities. Horvevel; my questioning led him to con-
sider this behavior from the traveler-tourist evaluative dimension, and
accordingly, he positioned himself as a tourist. Equally, Padma did not Short-circuiting is particularly promine~ltin the tourist discussions.
mediate his own lament about the Ladakhi women wearing jeans. It was Before considering the theoretical importance of the dynamic, I will illus-
Padma's colleagues who point out the comic contradiction between this trate the phenomena by considering in some detail a conversation that I
lament and Padma's previous behavior. These instances of self-media- had with three older English tourists. These tourists were traveling
tion are particularly interesting, because they clearly demonstrate the around Ladakh in a private jeep. I met them in a restaurant-bar in Leh,
close link between the interaction of perspectives at the level of social nearby the comfortable hotel that they were staying in. When I first saw
interaction and the change of perspective at the level of self-reflection. this group, with their clutter of cameras, bags, and sun-cream, they struck
Whether self-mediation is occurring within the intrapersonal realm, me as looking more like tourists than travelers. Ho~vevel; when I
in the interpersonal realm, or in some space in between, it is always approached Norman, Betty (Norman's wife) and Carol asking if they
social. Either the group reacts to the individual and informs him or her ~vorildfacilitate my research on "tourists," Norman interrupted me, quite
(as in the case of Padma), or the individual takes the perspective of the serio~~sly,saying that they were not "tourists" but were "travelers." Once I
interlocutor (as in the case of Ben), or the individual takes the group of explained that "travelers" were also part of my research, and the group
242 A. GILLESPIE Becoming Other 243

agreed to participate, I then asked Norman about the difference between ing photos, you know they had tripods and they had videos,
travelers and tourists. He said: and you know, all around the performance area
Carol: (I could not believe it)
Norman: I think travelers are people who go to a country to appreci- Betty: You know they were taking it as, as a colorful performance -
ate the culture, and I think tourists go to a country to be which it was - but there must be, behind that, which we are
voyeurs, in a way, they have nothing to contribute to it, they not aware of, a philosophy that we don't understand [...I
reallyjust want to go as a diversion, they may as well go to and we are there ilitruding as IVesterners intruding with
Btackpool flashing [cameras]
AG: But then the question is ifwe don't understand what is
In Norman's distinction the term "voyeur" is important. Voyeurs have going on [in these festivals] why is it so meaningful, why do
visual pleasure without getting involved. According to Norman, "tourists" you take photographs?
are like voyeurs-"they have nothing to contribute." Travelers, on the Betty: Be~auseit's pretty to look at
other hand, he says, "appreciate the culture." The Iink between tourism Carol: Because it's colorftil, it's different.
and voyeurism is objectified in tourist photograpl~y.Accordingly, I asked Norman: It's totally dilrerent to anything we have seen in the past
the group about the photographs that they have taken. [pause] wc havc all been brought up on the Nntio?~alGea-
grayh ic
Norman: I would love to take photos of them [elderly indigenous Carol: We are completely observers, we are not part of it
people], but I, since 1966, which shows my age, since my Norman: We don't know what is going on, I think its voyeurism
experiences in Central America I don't do that
AG: What experience was that? 'This exchallge has three clear phases. First, Betty begins by agreeing
Norman: Well watching a bunch of Germans, as a matter of fact, with wit11 her husband in criticizing tourist photographers. Betty tells about
huge thousand millimeter telephoto lenses photographing tourists shc saw at Key gonzfia. "They" did not tu1de1-standwhat they were
primitive Indian tribes people who felt their soul was being looking at, "they had tripods," "they had videos," and "they were taking it
destroyed, and these people were sitting there blatantly as, as a colorful perfortnance." "They" are typical tourists. In all these
photographing (pause) they should have been kicked out) utterances she criticizes ollter tourists. The implication is that Betty and
her cotravelers are different to these "typical tourists." Ho~vevet;fl-om the
In this trace of the photographing act, we again see Norman position rest of Betty's utterances, we know that Betty, Carol and Norman, who all
himself apart from other tourists. The "bunch of Germans" are the tourist had cameras, were also taking photographs of the dancers. This is indi-
cated when Betty says "we" are "intruding with flashing [cameras]." This
dupes with cameras-they are the "voyeurs." Norman, on the other hand,
divergence, runs unrecognized until the middle of Betty's second utter-
stands apart from the voyeurism and criticizes it. In this narrative Nor-
ance, in which there is a perspective change.
man is actually talking about a short-circuit. The behavior of the tourist
photographers was more "blatant" for Norman than his own photo- I The shift of perspective is the instantiation of the short-circuit. Having
said that "they" were viewing the dancing "as a colorf~ilperformance,"
graphic behavior. He claims that he learnt not to photograph indigenous Betty interrupts herself to add, "which it was." What happens at this
people not by observing his own actions, but by observing the actions of
others. This is a short-circuiting because the "they" becomes the "me"--
1 moment? Betty speaks, and then she agrees with herself. She hears her-
I self say that "they were taking it as, as a colorful performance" and she is
Norman self-reflects by recognizing himself in the other. However, this is compelled to agree with "them," and thus she responds to the utterance-
only a self-report, and thus has very limited analytic value. It is more use-
ful to rejoin the conversation, which builds up to an actual short-circuit: ! "~vl~icliit was." How has this shift of perspective occurred? Again, the
mechanism seems to be that which was originally described by Mead
(1912, 1934) in terms of the "peculiar importance of the vocal gesture."
Betty: I think a lot of the time people don't realize what they are Betty hears herself describe the festival as a "colorf~ilperformance" in just
looking at [...I certainly at Key gompa I got that feeling, the same way that she might hear someone else describe the festival, and
there were just lots and lots of Westerners there, and all tak- accordingly, she agrees with herself in just the same way that she might
244 A. GILLESPIE Becoming Other 245

agree with someone else. Betty has become other to herself through the jective connection - the path of the significant symbol, a path forged in
peculiar reflexivity of the vocal gesture. the social act.
After the short-circuit, there is a complete change of pronoun use: it is
"we" who are not aware, "we" who do not understand and "we" who are
intruding with cameras. Where previously Betty was trying to foreground Resisting a Short-Circuit
the difference between "they" and "we," now Betty positions herself
alongside the other tourists. The boundary between "they" and Betty's Norman and Betty resign themselves to becoming eq~livalentto other
"me" has collapsed. From Betty's point of view, the other has become tourists with little resistance. Normally, however, tourists resist becoming
"me." The coilapse of the self-other boundary is carried over in the use of otllel; especially rvhen that other is a totwist dupc. I11 the follotving
"we," first by me, and then by Norman, who concludes that "we" all have exchange, a group of three young British women arc telling me of some
been "brought up on the National Geographic." The implication is that the tourist dupes who they have seen, and this leads to a short-circuit.
National Geoqaflhic has socialized us into a sort of voyeurism, where we
search out the visual image of the dance, rather than the meaning of the Sophie: [They] Just sat in a caf6 getting absolutely stoned
dance. The excerpt ends with Norman positioning himself, alongside the Janct: 'Cos you speak to the Israelis
tourist photographers as a "voyeur"-thus collapsing the distinction that Sophie: (17hel-e are lots of Israelis)
he had so insisted upon initially. lanet: You speak to tlletn, and you're like "what have you done while
How is it that the vocal gesture can instigate Betty's shift of perspec- you lrave been here?"
tive? Again it is because the vocal gesture ("they were taking it as, as a col- Kt~th: "Oh we have been in here for 2 week"
o r h I performance") is a significant symbolic phrase. This phrase is Janet: "We sat here and we smoked, and rlien we got a motorbike"
significant symbolic because it combines two perspectives. (1) On the one [Eveiyonc lauglls]
hand it evokes the perspective of the tourists taking the photographs,
namely the perspective of admiring the performance. It is from this per-
I Ruth: Yeah! They all think they are out of Easy K i d e ~or something
[laugh], going around with their long hair
spective that there is a "coIorful performance" (2) On the other hand it AG: It is surprising how many negative comments I hear about
evokes the perspective of the critic, the one who observes the tourist pho- them
tographers and is criticizing them. It is from the perspective of the critic Sophie: The thing is, I know it sounds arvful, but they are so clique-y,
observer, that we can say that "they were taking." Thus the phrase, like all em, it's so difficult to talk to them
significant symbols, combines both perspectives that are embedded in
action (observing the "colorful performance") and perspectives that are i Janet: I mean we still partook in stuff going on there, we just did it
more limited and we did other stuff as well
more distant (criticizing the tourist photographers). 1 Sophie: ?'he thing is, I'm sure it's the same in thc Spanish resorts, like
all the Brits going there, and things like that, it's just - I don't
The significant symbolic phrase needs both of these perspectives in I know.
order to be meanin&l. If there were absolutely no empathy with the idea
that the festival could be considered to be a "colorful performance" then Ruth: It is the same, Brits on holiday in Spain are a real nightmal-e
the utterance would be incomprehensible-one needs to empathize with
the idea of a "colorhl performance" in order to understand the utter- The women are scorning a group of Israeli tourists, who they encoun-
ance. Equally, if one only saw the colorful performance, and could not tered in a cafe, smoking hashish. Janet asks them "what have you clone
understand the point of view of the critic, then the statement would be while you have been here?" and she replies, on their behalf, "we sat here
equally meaningless. It is the coexistence of these two perspectives within and we smoked, and then we got a motorbike." Both smoking hashish,
and riding noisy motorbikes is associated with the iconic image of the
the phrase that make Betty's short-circuit explicable. Although initially it
tourist dupe. Accordingly, the statement is amusing. The others join in
is perspective (2) that predominates, it invokes perspective (I), which
the amusing critique, but Janet is silent for a while. In her next utterance
Betty empathizes with, realizing that she also thought it was a "colorful Janet says: "I mean we still partook in stuff going on there, we just did it
performance," which in turn leads to the short-circuit. The short-circuit, more limited and we did other stuff as well." The short-circuititlg is indi-
then, moves not along a path of association, but along a path of intersub- cated by the "I mean." The first "stuff" here refers to hashish. So while
246 A. GILLESPIE Becoming Other 247

Janet began by criticizing the Israeli tourists for doing little but smoke ing culture or going forward. The following discussion is fi-om a group of
hashish, she ends potentially exposing herself to similar criticism, because
young men, all of whom were living in Leh, though they grew up in the
she, and her colleagues, also spent sometime smoking hashish. Like Betty,
villages. Now that they feel urban, they are discussing their relation to the
she heard her description of an other, and found in it a resonance only
rural youth:
too familiar: she realizes that she is talking about herself. As with Betty,
the critique returns. Through the vocal gesture, the "they" becomes "me."
Jigmet: And the youth in the villages think that in a city there is a
However, unlike Betty, Janet does not capitulate to this collapse of
lot of ENTERTAINMENT, they do everything and have
boundary between self and other. She does not accept that she is equiva-
lots of different DRESSES
lent to tourist dupes. Accordingly, Janet tries to reinstitute her difference.
She says that "we just did it in a more limited way" and "we did other stuff Tsering: They think we have a GORGEOUS LIFE!
as well." For Janet, these qualifications enable her to reclaim hcr position Tashi: And what do old people think, you know, they take the
as distinct from "those" tourist dupes. NEGATIVE SENSE, they talk about tile DRESS UPS chat
There is a second dynamic of self-reflection evident in the above it's not good. They think NEGATIVELY. And the young
exchange, instigated by my utterance, "it is surprising how many negative ones who are quite MATURED, they'll think tl~att l ~ eCITY
comments I hear about them." Sophie, who had focused the topic on LIFE is vcly beautiful, you can ENJOY anythillg you like in
Israelis earlier, realizes the impression that she has may have created in the CITY, that's why whatever FASHION wc arc having
my mind (i.e., being anti-Semitic), and apologetically she says, "I know it they adopt it in a moment. Go to a village wit11 a ncw
sounds awful." She then tries to defend her position by describing Israelis FASHION and stay there for some time, they'll adopt it
as "clique-y." This description however results in a partial short-circuit, very soon
and in her next utterance she recognizes that British tourists going to Chakdor: - Rut isn't that the same to us, if a tourist comcs hcrc with a
Spain are also "clique-y." Ruth comes to Sophie's aid and expediting the funny cap
short-circuit she states that "it is the same with the Brits." The short-cir- Jigmet: For villagers we have become tourists! [everyone laughs]
cuit, in this case, is only partial because although Sophie and Ruth are Tsering: Israelis for them! [continued laughter]
British, she does not seem to think that she might be "clique-y." This
instantiation, seems to be more about undermining the in-group (British This group of urban men, from Leh, are talking about the perceptions
tourists) so as to avoid being positioned as critical of a specific Israeli that rural villagers have of them. TTvo perceptions are offered: The young
group of tourists, and thus to avoid being seen as anti-Semitic: she saves villagers think that the ut-ban Ladakhis have a "gorgeous lifc" while the
face. "old people" think "negatively." The young people are using the foiward-
In this second short-circuit the line between intrapsychic and interper- backward discourse to make their cvaluation, whilc thc older people a1-e
sonal is difficult to draw. One cannot take my utterance out of the analy- using the culture-fashion discourse.,Tn the city, the youth say, there is a
sis. The dynamics that occur between utterances reoccur within choice of clothes to wear and most people choose to wear Western dress.
utterances, and to try to separate the latter from the former seems nalve. While fi-om the perspective of the "old people" this is "not g o o d as it
To ask if this second short-circuiting would have occurred had I not inter- implies a rejection of the traditional dress, the gonchhn. Then Tashi says
jected, or not even been present, is to miss the point. The fact is that this that the young villagers will copy the "fasl~ion"of the urban Ladakhis.
instance of self-reflection is social, and comes about through a shift of This invites a parallel to the Ladakhi urbanites who copy the fashion of
perspective within social interaction. tourists, but Tashi does not see the parallel.
Chakdor triggers this short-circuit by seeing the parallel. He says "isn't
that the same for us." He is implying that he and his colleagues follo~vthe
THE AMUSEMENT OF BECOMING OTHER fashion of tourists, just like the rural youth follow the fashion of Leh. With
this short-circuit, the positions change. At the beginning of the exchange
Short-circuiting is also evident in the Ladakhi discussions, though it is not these men were positioned as ha\~ing''fashion" and being role models for
at all as widespread as in tourists' discussions. Within the Ladakhi dis- rural Ladakhis. After the short-circuit, however, these men are reposi-
course, there is evidence of short-circuiting in the clash between privileg- tioiled as following tourist role-models.
Becoming Other 249

The amusement caused by this short-circuit has two sources. First, agrees with this evaluation. Janet makes fun of tourists who sit in cafes,
there is simply a switch of positions, which the group may feel as amus- smoking hashish, but then realizes that she has clone the same. Jigmet
ingly transgressive. Ladakhis rarely get a chance to take up the social posi- and Chakdor begin by thinking about how they are role models for the
tion of tourists. Few Ladakhis travel outside India and get the opportunity mral youth, only to realize that they themselves take tourists as their role
to tour other countries-though they often imagine doing so. The same models. And finally, we have seen how Marten, while criticizing tourist
switch of positions is evident in Hasan's account of being mistaken for a photographers who do not llave "a little relation" with the photographee,
tourist in Delhi (chapter 4, p. 94). In such incidents, the respect offered to admits, briefly, that he takes sncaky photographs. In each of these cases
tourists, is extended to self. we see how the opposition between self and other, which is initially insti-
The second source of amusement in the above short-circuit, is the fact tuted, subsequently collapses in selr-reflection. The temporal endurance
that it reveals, to the group, a lack of self-awareness. Bergson (1900/191 I), of this collapse varies, and does not interest us at present. The issue at
in his study of the comic, argues that one feature we find particularly stake is the mcchanism. One clue as lo the mechanism is in t l ~ cfact that
amusing is a lack of self-arvareness in self or others: short-cil-cuiting occ~lrsmuch more fi-cqucntly in tourists' discussions than
in Ladakhis' discussions.
It in not uncommon for a comic character to condemn in general terms a
certain line of conduct and immediately afterwards afford at1 example of Wily are there far fewer instances of short-circuiting in the Ladakhi
it himself: for instance. M. .Jourdain's teacher of philosophy flying into a corpora than compared to the tourist corpora? This may be due to thc
passion alter inveighing against anger; Vadius taking a poem from his fact that the majority of these discussions were translated and transcribed,
pocket after heaping ridicule on readers of poetry, etc. What is the object as compared to the tourist discussions which were analyzed in audio.
of such contradictions except to help us to put our finger on the oblivi- TransIating and tratlscribing inevitably involves a loss of detail. I-Iorvcvcl;
ousness of the characters to their own actions? Inattelltion to self, and it is dificult to acccpt this as a full explanation. While it is possible that
consequently to others, is what we invariably find. (1900/19 1 1, third chap- small hesitations, and self-mediations, might be lost, it is morc difftcult to
tel; section one) see how whole changes of pronoun use coulcl be lost. Moreover, tourists'
short-cii-cuiting is confined largely to thc traveler-tourist discourse. There
In this case the short-circuiting happens not in self, but in the mind of
is only one partial instance of tourist short-circuiting in rclation to Lada-
other. Neither M. Jourdain's teacher nor Vadius becomes aware of the
khis, othenvise all tourist short-circuiting occurs in relation to other tour-
contradiction between their utterances and actions. If they did, the audi-
ence might be provided with a second laugh. The contradiction, then, is ists. Accordingly, it is not the tourist discourse per se that is peculiar, but
only evident for the audience. However, the Ladakhis, in the excerpt rather thcrc is something specific to the structure or the traveler-tourist
above, become aware of their own contradiction. They are their own audi- discourse.
ence, which arguably augments the thrill. They begin by belittling rural Tourists occupy a precarious semiotic position: they scorn other tour-
Ladakhis for copying them, the urban Ladakhis, onIy to become aware ists for being "typical tourists," and conceptualize themselves as "travel-
that they themselves have been copying the tourists in the same manner. ers," but they fail to see that many of their own actions are those of a
If either these Ladakhis o r Vadius knew about the contradiction before "typical tourist." Short-circuiting, I want to argue, occurs when this dis-
speaking-and had made this explicit-then the amusement would be junction collapses and other becomes self, or "me." Because this clisjunc-
greatly reduced. It is, as Bergson suggests, the evident lack of self aware- tion is usually latent within tourists' discourse and action, tourists, we
ness that we find amusing. could say, are perpetually on the edge of short-circuiting. All they need is
some impetus to redirect their attention back towards themselves-a gaze,
a comment, or the sound of their own voice.
THE MOTE-BEAM DIVERGENCE Tourists seem to be caught in a particularly extreme form of what Icll-
heiser (1949, p. 51) calIed the "mote-beam mecl~anism,"that is the ten-
In short-circuiting, the "they" or "you" becomes the "me." Norman, for dency to "perceive (and to denounce) in others certain characteristics, for
example, reacts first to other tourists as "voyeurs" and only later does he example, prejudices, or blind spots, or icleologies, or ethnocentrism, or
see that he himself is a "voyeur." Betty criticizes other tourists for taking aggressiveness, which, strangely enough, we ignore in ourselves" (p. 5 1).
the festival as a "colorfuI performance" but then she realizes that she is The mote-beam mechanism, according to Ichheiser, is not cognitive, in a
Becoming Other 251

narrow sense, but is representational or cultural. The name of this diver- AG: \That pictures have you taken?
gence alludes to a passage in the Bible. Marten: Mostly of landscapes! [laugh] and gonzf~a!and a few times of
people, because at Kaltsang, this little town, its more like a
Judge not, that ye be not judged. For with what judgment ye judge, ye shall tmck stop, and we were talking to people, and we took a pic-
be judged: and with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you hure with a family, and it was different, because they said,
again. And why beholdest thou the mote that is in thy brother's eye, but "ok, can you take a picture and send," it was different
considerest not the beam that is in thine own eye? Or how wilt thou say to
thy brother, Let me pull out the mote out of thine eye; and, behold, a beam because -
is in thine own eye? (Matthew, 7.1-7.5) Karen: We had made fi-iends
Marten: A bit, for a day or something, it's, it's, different
From a Meadian standpoint, the disjunction is between belief and con- AG: Yea, it's different when you have a relationship
duct: the individuals self-awareness, herlhis "me," and the individual's Marten: Yes, em, a bit of a relation, em, also,
actions, her/his "I." Applying this distinction to tourists, then, reveals that Karen: (Also when they)
tourists tend to have a traveler "me" and a tourist dupe "I." That is, they Marten: Also of people, em, really sneaky, blit em, but em, I'm sule
claim the position of being a traveler, but act like any other tourist. More- they don't know, hut it's different fi-om shoving such a Icns in
over, they criticize other people for behaving like tourists, while hiling to snmcnne's face from a meter distarice
recognize that they themselves act in this same way. The presence of the AG: Rut if you were going to photograph people, who would you
mote-beam divergence is clearly evident in the following excerpt from a chose to photograph?
discussion I had with a Dutch couple: Marten: The old women - of course - and old mcn
AG: Why?
Marten: We went to the Phyang festival, it was shocking ILaren: Because they look nice
AG: What were you shocked about? Marten: Their characteristics [pause] but when you want to take a pic-
Marten: About the tourists ture of an old woman, try to havc a little relation with them
Karen: With the short sleeves, and with the cameras
Marten: Totally no respect, no respect [....I in the festival there was a By asking "what picturcs have you taken?" I put both Marten and .
man, and a woman breast-feeding, and there was a man tak- Karen on the spot. They now Ilave to justifY their actions. First thcy con-
ing pictures from only meter distance, like on top of her, and fess to taking some photographs of pcople at Icaltsang, but emphasize
I said "don't you think this is rude" that that their behavior is dir~crcntto that of the tourists they were p r e ~ i -
AG: You said this1 ously criticizing. The difference, they argue, is that they had formed a
Marten: But he was German, and he did not understand, he looked at "I-elation"with the Ladakhis they photograph, thus, they claim, they are
me like "are you crazy" not in the categoly of sl~allowtourists. However, then Marten starts to
hesitate. He says "Yes, em, a bit of a relation, em, also ... also of people,
Marten and Karen report to me, a researcher on tourism, that they em, really sneaky, but em, but em." Here, I suggest, we see Marten, slowly,
found the behavior of "the tourists" "shocking." "The tourists" are deni- realising that he too has taken photographs of Ladakhis without having a
grated because they have "no respect": they neither wear the appropri- "relation" with them. One cannot have a substantial relation with the pho-
ate dress for a religious festival nor do they treat the Ladakhis with tographee if one takes "really sneaky" photograpl~s.Marten's short-cir-
respect when they photograph them. Specifically, one of these tourists cuit, his recognitiotl that he has acted in way similar to the tourists he is
took a picture of a Ladakhi woman breast-feeding "from only a meter criticizing is short-lived. As the exchange continues, Marten proceeds to
distance." The position of Marten and Karen within this narrative is fiirther criticize tourists who do not establish a relation with the photo-
clear. They position themselves against such tourists, and they even try graphee-yet he previously confessed to doing just this.
to intervene on behalf of the breast-feeding woman. While "the tour- The main dialogical fault line in Marten's subjectivity is a mote-beam
ists" have "no respect" for the Ladakhis, it is implied that Marten and divergence: he criticizes the behavior of other tourist photographers,
Karen do have respect for the Ladakhis. Indeed, one would expect that while failing to see that his own conduct has been far from exernplaly. He
they themselves would not engage in such photographic behavior. and his wife Karen were only in Ladakh for a short visit, they were taking
252 A. GILLESPIE Becoming Other 253

sneaky photographs and moving on. Accordingly, when seen from the the perspective of the other, and short-circuit in the sense of identifying
perspective of an other tourist, their actions would position them as typi- with the other.
cal tourists. Yet both Karen and Marten insist upon claiming a traveler But we must also broaden our focus beyond individual significant sym-
position. Marten protests, perhaps too insistently, that his behavior is "dif- bols. There is also a role for larger discursive structures. The Ladakhis'
ferent" from other tourists. This contradiction is not unusual at all, but discourse of cu1t~u.e-fashionand the tourists' discourse of traveler-tourist
applies to most of the tourists I met. What is interesting in the above are central to the above instances of self-reflection. The gcncalogical anal-
excerpt, however, is how this dialogical fault line leads Marten toward a ysis showed how these discourses were related to social acts. The Ladaklli
short-circuit that never quite occurs. The excerpt reveals, not only the discourse regarding Ladakhi culture ennvines traditional perspectives on
presence of the mote-beam divergence in tourists' discourse, but it also wearing tllc gonchhn and gonzpa visiting with the reconstructed perspective
reveals how close this can come to collapsing. In the traveler-tourist dis- of tourists. ?'he tourists' discourse of traveler-tourist entwines the per-
course, the boundary between self and other, between the traveler self and spectives of being a tourist on tour, and claiming to be a travclcl; with the
the tourist. dupe other, is precarious, and teeters on the edge of collapse. perspective of a sceptical audience. In bot11 cases the disconrses arc
It is this precarious structure, I suggest, that accounts for the prevalence formed out of combining multiple perspectivcs, thus cl-eating significant
of short-circuiting among tourists.
symbolic architectures of interwxljectivity. It is these significant syrnbolic
stl-ucturcs, forgcd in the touring act, that enable both "stcpping-out" (self-
mediation) and "stepping-in" (short-cil-cuiting)forrns of self-reflection.
These architectures of intersubjectivity arc not inert, they are avect
laden and deeply moral. The negative polcs ol' thcsc discourses (i.e.,
When one thinks of self-reflection, one is probably thinking of self-media-
"Tashion'' and "tourist dupe") are collectively pt-oduccd mcans for gliding
tion. It is the most prototypical form of self-reflection, in which an indi-
individ~~al action. If a tourist, in either utterance 01- deed, ~vandersinto
vidual initially embedded in some activity or utterance, suddenly "steps-
the realm or tllc touristic alarm bells start to ring. The sarne applies To1.
out" and distances him or herself from that activity. Ifwe take a Meadian
Ladakhis who become too keen on going foi-ivard or following fashion.
standpoint, then we understand this distanciation in terms of taking the
The image of tlle tourist dupc and thc image of "fasliion" are negatively
perspective of a more or less generalized other. Short-circuiting is a dif-
valued zones. They exist in opposition to the zones of preferl-ed action
ferent dynamic. In short-circuiting self-reflection does not arise by taking
(Valsiuer, 1998, chapter 2). Thus the images of the "fashion Ladakhi" and
the perspective of the other on self, rather, it arises by reacting (usually
critically) toward the other and then suddenly seeing self in the other. In the "tourist dupe" are not mirrors of actually-existing groups, thcy are
short-circuiting one ends up criticizing oneself in the same way that one social regulatoly devices, or ideals. These ideals are community construc-
tions which arc thcn used by community members to evaluate each other
criticized the other. In self-mediation one can puzzle how self is able to
take the perspective of the other, but in short-circuiting there is no such and themselves from the perspective of the group. Because these images
puzzle, for self is clearly taking self's own perspective. However, short-cir- and evaluative dimensions have been collectively produced, through dis-
cuiting begs its own question: how is it that self comes to see self in the cussions, interaction, and the mass media, whenever anyone invokes these
other? images and evaluative dimensions they are invoking the perspective of
the group.
Thus we have two problems. First, in self-mediation, how does self take
the perspective of the other? Second, in short-circuiting, how does self MTeassume the generalized attitude of the group, in the censor that stands
identify with the other? I want to suggest that the answer to both ques- at the door of our image~yand inner conversations, and in the affir~natioil
tions lies in the significant
- symbol and the vocal gesture.
- of the la3z.s and axioms of the universe of discourse. (Mead, 1932, p. 190)
Within any social act there are divergent yet complementary perspec-
tives. These are divergent because they beIong do different social posi- By virtue of participating in the groups discourse (and the embedded
tions, yet they are complementary because they are part of the same social val~~ations)the speaker or actor is able to regulate their behavior from the
act, and thus each is an object for the other. Significant symbols entwine standpoint of the group. The mechanism is akin to the rules of a game
these divergent yet complementary perspectives, thus creating an archi- (see chapter 2). Some action is privileged, and some action is denigratecl.
tecture of intersubjectivity that enables people to both self-mediate from But the real similarity lies in the significant symbolic structure. Just like a

rule, o r law, applies equally to self and other (so long as self and other are
in the same social position), so these evaluative discourses apply equally
to self and other. Criticizing fellow Ladakhis for following the fashion,
means, as Padma realized, that one must subordinate oneself to that cri-
tique. Equally, if a tourist criticizes other tourists for being shallorv or
rude, then that tourist must also subordinate him or herself to that cri-
tique. Vocal gestures, by virtue of being heard the same by aII, are a means
to become other to oneself such that one is able to apply these moral dis-
courses equally to self as to other.


How car1 an i~lrlividualget outside him-self (experientially) in wlch a way as
to becornc an objcct to himself? This is the essential psychological problem
of selfhood or self-consciousness. (Mcad, 1934, p. 138)

The problem of self-consciousness, or self-reflection, for Mead, is a prob-
lem of ho~vwe hccoine other to ourselves. How do we get o n thc outside
of our own experience? Mead's answer is tllal tve take the pcrspcctive of
the other. Taking part in social acts enables us to take each others' per-
spectives, thanks to position exchange, tile vocal gesture, and the signifi-
cant symbol.
The first analysis (chapters 7, 8, & 9) showed how the Ladakhi "me-as-
cultural" and the tourist "~ne-as-tourist-d~ipe" have been con st^-ucted
within the touring act. Specifically, it was argued that the tourists' "me-as-
tourist-dupe" arises by tourists taking the perspective of other tourists
toward themselves. The Ladakhi "me-as-cultural," on the other hand,
arises by Ladakhis imagining themselves from the standpoint of tourists.
The second analysis (chapters 10, 1 1, & 12) focused upon the actual
dynamics of self-reflection, showing how taking the perspective of the
other can trigger the emergence of a new "me" and how instances of self-
reflection can in fact be made explicable in terms of perspective-taking.

Beco?rrtng Oilter: fiat11 Social Infernction l o Self-Relection, 255-269
Copyright O 2006 by Information Age Publishing
All rights of reproduction in any for111resel-ved.
256 A. CILLESPIE Becoming Other 257

The Meadian interpretation of self-reflection is complex. Perspective- from the perspective of the actos, to be objective and becomes, so to
taking is often seen as a problematic concept (e.g., Gergen, 1999, p. 125), speak, subjective. Specifically, the object becomes subjective because the
and Mead's explanation of how perspective-taking occurs through posi- actor has two or more responses toward the object. Dewey gave us the
tion exchange and imagination within the social act may seem unwieldy. example of a child reaching for a flame. The child is attracted to the
Maybe there are more parsimonious explanations? Four distinct theories flame because it looks like something to play with; but the child is also
of the construction of self-reflection can be identified: rupture theories, afraid of the flame because of a previous bum. Thus there a1-e tcvo contra-
feedback theories, internalization theories, and Mead's theory of the dictory responses in the child: to reach toward the flame and to withdraw
social act. Let us consider, in turn, the extent to which each of these theo- from the flame. Returning to Peirce's example, we can say that he also has
ries accounts for our data. two contradictoly responses: to pay using the five-cent piece and to pay
using the five coppers. In either case, according to Dewcy, it is the dis-
junction between thc responses that causes self-rcflection.
A RUPTURE INTERPRETATION? While it is clearly evident that rupture is frequently a proximal cause of
self-seflection, it is not, X suggest, a conlplete theoretical account. As Mead
Rupture theories posit that self-reflection arises when an individual's path (1910) pointed out, there is notbing in having two colilradictoiy
of action is blocked o r when two or more possible avenues of action open responses which necessarily leads to self-reflection. 111 nonhuman anirnals
up. Ruptured action instigates the thinking phase of action, the phase in
thcre are conflicting rcsponses, yet tllere is no sclf-consciotlsness. Pavlov
which the individual's relation to the world is reconstructed in such a way
(1 951), for example, trained dogs to salivate upon seeing a circle, and not
as to enable the action to proceed. Peirce provides an early illustration of
to salivatc upor1 seeing an ellipse. I11 successive trials he reduced the dif-
this idea, giving the example of paying for a taxi:
fcrcnce between the two coiltradictoiy sti~nuli,until tlie ellipse was almost
If for instance, in a horse-car, I pull out my purse and find a five-cent nickel a circlc. \When the stirnuli became difficult to differentiate, thus evoking
and five coppers, I decidc, while my hand is going to the purse, in which two contradictoly responses, the dogs, usually placid, becarne li-antic and
way I will pay my fare.... To speak of such a doubt as causing an irritation remained disturbed for weeks altclward. I'avlov called this "cxperirnental
which needs to be appeased, suggests a temper which is imcomfortable to neurosis." Assuming that these dogs did not become self-reflective (and
the verge of insanity. Yet looking at the matter minutely, it must be admitted these is no evidence to suggest they did), then thesc experiments show
that, if there is the least hesitation as to whether I shall pay the five coppers that contradictory rcsponses can coexist without leading to selI'-reflection.
or the nickel (as there will sure to be, unless I act from some previously con- Let us leave Pavlov's dogs and consider the case of the Ladakhis' reflec-
tracted habit in the matter), though irritation is too strong a word, yet I am tion on their culture. Have the Ladakhis been led to the self-a\varencss of
excited to such small mental activities as may be necessary in deciding how I
shall act.... Images pass rapidly through consciousness, one incessantly "me-as-cultural" by the coexistence of contradictory responses? One
melting into another, until at last, when all is over-it may be in a fraction of could argue that when tourists arrived in Ladakh, with all their modern
a second, in an hour, or after long years-we find ourselves decided as to Seal; they elicited contradictoly responses: On the one hand Ladakhis
how we should act. (Peirce, 1878/1998, pp. 141- 142) were tempted to copy the tourists, while on the other hand they wanted to
resist them, and assert their own identity. This argument accords with the
As this convincing phenomenological example demonstrates, even a fact that Ladakhis do discuss and self-reflect around this contradiction.
small irritation, or rupture, can stimulate a self-conscious stream of Recall, for example, Thundup (chapter 12, p. 236) arguing that Ladakh is
thought. Peirce must pay the taxi driver, but should he pay using the five- "50 years" behind the tourists and thus needs to develop. While making
cent piece or the five coppers? The relations that Peirce must negotiate the argument Thundup interrupts himself to say "but we should preseive
are between himself and his coinage (and his future needs of that coinage) our culture too." Surely this is an instance of contradictoly responses
and between himself and the expectant and possibly impatient taxi driver. (wanting to follow the tourists and to remain different) creating self-
The rupture of how to pay stimulates Peisce to reflect upon these rela- reflection? The same point can be made for tourists. Laura (chapter 12,
tions, and thus to become self-aware. pp. 231-233), after describing her desire to see "proper India" reflects
Dewey's (1896) theory of the act, discussed in chapter 1, is also a rup- that this is a "clich~d"aspiration, and thus demonstrates two conflicting
ture theory. Dewey argues that in the ruptured situation, the object ceases, impulses. On the one hand, she wants to be a travelel-,while on the other
I Becoming Other 259

hand she sees such an aspiration as being "clich6d." So here again, can we rupture. These theories assume that the other perceives more about self
explain Laura's act of self-reflection in terms of contradictory impulses? than self can perceive. The reflective distance from self entailed by self-
Looking again at these instances of self-reflection reveals that they do reflection first exists in the mind of other. This "surplus" (Bakhtin, 19231
not simply entail two contradictory responses in the sense implied by 1990; Gillespie, 2003) can be fed back to self by other, such that self can
either Dewey or Peirce. Both Thundup and Laura have two responses learn to see self from the perspective of other. In this sense, feedback the-
each originating from a different social position within the social act. ories assume that the other provides feedback to self in the same way that
Both Thundup and Laura while engaged in their own utterances, and a mirror provides feedback about appearance that we cannot perceive
voicing their own perspective, suddenly shift and react to themselves from unaided. An early variant of' this theo~ycan be found in the writings of
the standpoint of their audience. Thus we are not dealing with any old set Adam Smith:
of contradictory responses, such as the impulse to juggle and to do some
cooking. The contradictory responses that we are dealing with originate 1 Were it possible that a l ~ t ~ m creature
an could grow up to tnanhood it1 soine
from two different social positions within the same social act. They are dif- solitaly place, without any cominunication with his otv11 species, he could no
ferent because they belong to different social positions (for example, more think of his olvn charactel; of' the ptopric~yor dcliierit oS his 01~11sen-
Laura narrating a tale and her audience listening) and yet they are also timents and conduct, of the beauty or deformity of liis 01~11mincl, than the
complementary because each has the other as its object (Laura is orient- beauty or defotn~ityof his own face. All or these ale objects which he cannot
ing to her audience, and her audience is orienting to her). We are not easily see, wliicl~~laturallylie docs riot look at, and ~vithregard to which he
dealing here with contradictory responses from the same perspective, as is provided with no mirror which can present them to liis vicw. Bring him
into socicty, and h e is iinrnediately provided with the rnirror wliicli hc
described by Dewey, namely, the child reaching for the plaything and
wanted bcforc. It is placed in the countenance and behaviour of' thosc hc
then withdrawing with a burn. Instead we are dealing with ttvo responses lives ~vith.( 1 759/ 1982, p. 1 10)
that belong to different perspectives.
Ruptures may be the proximal cause of self-reflection. Tourists' un- For Adam Smith it is "lcllo~vman" who teaches self the value of self's
actualized expectations may lead to self-reflective awareness such as "me- I
actions, who is a "mirror" redirecting self's attention to the meaning of
imagining-things." But, first, this is not a simple contradictory response. self's own actions. Growing up alone, without such a mirl-t~l;Smith writes,
It implies reacting to self from the outside. And second, there is nothing there is nothing to make a person rcflcct upon l~iin/herself.The "mirror"
in the rupture theory to explain how this second response gets within the is the "countenance and behaviour" of the othec Mead himself, as dis-
individual. cussed in chapter 1, toyed with the feedback theory. Hc argued that it was
The rupture theory is also inadequate when we approach the problem in~uficientsince many nonhuman anirrials live in complex societies and
from the other side: Why do contradictory responses so rarely cause self- are constantly exposed to feedback froln others, yet they do not have a
reflection? When examining short-circuiting we concluded that this form I consciousness of self.
of self-reflection arises, in part, due to a widespread contradiction among Nevertheless, let us apply the theory to the analysis of tourist-Laclakhi
tourists. Tourists talk as if they are travelers, but behave like tourist dupes. ellcounters and see how it works out. First, one could argue that the Lada-
Moreover, they openly criticize the actions of other tourists while failing khi "me-as-cultural" has been constructed through feedback within tour-
to see that they themselves act in the same way. Why do these contradic- ist-Ladakhi interactions. Tourists' photograplly has picked out the
tory responses so rarely lead to self-reflection? Why do most tourists not importance of the goncliha, and tourists' sightseeing has picked out the
even recognize this contradiction? The rupture theory of self-reflection importance of the Buddhist monasteries Because of tourists' actions
cannot explain this fact. towards both go?lchhn and the monasteries the meaning of these objects
has changed for Ladakhis. The theory could also be used in an attempt to
explain the step-by-step Lead up to self-reflection. Recall Ben's self-media-
A FEEDBACK INTERPRETATION? tion. Ben began by telling me about his trip dolvn Leh valley on a motor-
I bike, mentioning that he took photographs of the monasteries. I asked
The defining feature of feedback theories of self-reflection, compared to him, with some surprise, whether he even stopped the motorbike to take
the rupture theories, is the presence of an active other. In feedback theo- the photographs. It seems reasonable to argue that Ben's subsequent self-
ries, it is the imphation of the action of the other for self that causes a I
reflective comments, that he took photographs because "that is what you
260 A. GILLESPIE Becoming Other 261

are supposed to do," was prompted by my questioning. That is to say, According to Vygotsky, the child becomes able to point only when he/
feedback from me seems to have been a proximal cause of his self-reflec- she is able to reflect upoil the meaning of the pointing from the stand-
tion. The idea could be extended to all instances of self-reflection. One point of others. How does this come about? "Initially," Vygotsky (1997,
could argue that in every case there is some social feedback, a raised eye- p. 104) writes, "the pointing gesture represents a simply unsuccessful
brow or a second glance, that stimulates the self-reflection. grasping movement directed toward an object and denoting a future
While the social feedback theory is doubtless important, it is unable to action." At first the child is not self-conscious of pointing, and thus is not
account for the evaluative aspect of self-reflection. Social feedback can trying to communicate anything. Rather, the child is simply reaching for
explain why the gonchha has been picked out as an element of Ladakhi something nut of reach. However, from the perspective of the mother, the
culture, but it cannot account for why Ladakhis "should" wear the gonchha. child's reaching is meaningful, it indicates that the child desires the
Nor can the feedback theory explain why the reverse gaze makes tourists reached-for object. VYgotsky(p. 105) states: "In response to the unsuccess-
embarrassed. It is not simply that the reverse gaze draws attention to the Lul grasping movement of the child, there arises a 1-eactionnot on the part
tourists' photographing activity. There is something more. The signifi- of the object, but on the part of an other person." The grasping first has
cance of the reverse gaze is in the perspective that the tourist photogra- the meaning of pointing for the rx~othel;and only later has *leaning for
pher attributes to the Ladakhi-it is this that causes the embarrassment the child. It is only when the grasping becomes a meanirlgft~lgesture I'or
and shame. It is not the actions of the other, but the perspective of the the child that we can say the child is pointing, for it is only then that the
other, that causes the social emotions of pride, shame, and embarrass- child knows the meaning ofs his/her gesture for others. The child,
ment, This is why Ladakhis debate whether tourists "respect" Ladakh. Vygotsky (p. 105) writes, "becomes for himself what he is in liirnself
What matters is not the actions of the tourists as much as the perspective through what hc lnanifests for others." 'I'hat is to say, the child becornes
of the tourists. Accordingly, we need to seek a theory that takes account of self-awa1-eof his/her own being througll how lielshe appears to others.
the perspective of the other. Sunirnarizi~gthc emergence of self-reflective nicaning througl~inter-
nalization, Vygotsky (1997, p. 105) writes: "Evc~yhigher lnental f~inction
was external because it was social before it becaille an internal, strictly
AN INTERNALIZATION INTERPRETATION? mental function; it was formerly a social relation of two people." Social
relations, like cotlversations, become internalized and constitute the
The idea that thought is a self-reflective internal dialogue with absent higher mental functions. Self-reflection, for cxample, can be understood
others goes back at least to Plato (e.g., Sophist, 263e; TheaeteCus, 190). as a change of perspective within the individual (analogous to the change
Forms of internalization are evident in the theories of Freud (in the for- of perspective between people taking turns in a conversation). "I relate to
mation of the superego), Bakhtin and especially Vygotsky. Today this line myself as people related to me. Reflection is a dispute" (Vygotsky, 1989,
of theory is carried forward in work on the dialogical self (Hermans, pp. 56-57).
2001; Josephs, 2002). Within this line of theorizing, one can conceptual- The internalization thesis accords with our empirical analysis of self-
ize self-reflection as arising through internalizing the perspective that the reflection. It is an empirical fact that the discourse of tourists contains the
other has upon self, followed by self taking the perspective of other upon voice, or perspective, of Ladakhis. The reverse is also evident. The dis-
self. Or more generally, one could think of self-reflection as arising course of Ladakhis does contain the voice of tourists. Moreover, when we
through the internal dialogue between internalized perspectives. analyzed these voices of the other within self we found them to instigate
There are, however, disputes over how the metaphor of "internaliza- much affect. Shame and embarrassment cluster around these perspectives
tion" should be understood (Matusov, 1998). Wertsch and Stone (1985, of the other within self. Vygotsky's idea that "reflection is a dispute" is
p. 163) has called the idea that social relations are simply "transmitted clearly evident in many of the instances of self-reflection. Recall Janet and
into psychological structure "uninteresting and trivial." While some theo- her traveling companions' dispute with the travel agent who said "twenty
rists make this mistake, Vygotsky (1997, p. 106) himself emphasized that quid is nothing to you" and Sonam's dispute with the tourists who ask
the process of internalization is a process of "transformation," rather than "why do you eat meat?" In both of these instances, and others, self-reflec-
simple "transmission" (see also Lawrence & Valsiner, 1993). The process tion is indeed a dispute between internalized perspectives.
of transformation is clearly evident Vygotsky's analysis of the emergence While the theory of internalization adequately describes the instances
of pointing (1997, pp. 104-105). of self-reflection reported, and unlike the feedback theoiy, is able to
262 A. GILLESPIE Becoming Other 263

account for the affective component, this theory is nonetheless also lack- spective of the other. We have seen that tourists certainly fail to do this
ing. The outstanding problem is how to account for the process of inter- thus creating a mote-beam divergence. Most tourists, like Marten (chapter
nalization. How is the perspective of the other internalized? And how 12, p. 251), criticize the actions of other tourists (for taking photographs,
does this perspective come into dialogue with self? for not engaging in the local culture, etc.) while engaging in such actions
themselves. In such cases, the perspective of taking photographs is not
integrated with the perspective of critically obsei-iling another tourist tak-
THE SOCIAL ACT ing a photograph. The experience of criticizing other tourists for telling
traveler tales or for taking photographs, is quite different to the experi-
Mead's theory of the social act is a theory of how we get the perspective of ence of actually telling a tale oneself or taking a photograph oneself. How
the other inside of self. While most theories of the social basis of mind is it that these two, quite different experiences, have become connected in
emphasize the general importance of social interaction, Mead's emphasis the minds of self-reflective tourists? How is it that tourists come to treat
is much more specific (and societal). The theory of the social act focuses tllemselses in the sarnc way that they treat others? The answer, I have
not upon social interaction in general but upon institutionalized patterns of argued, is in the "peculiar importance ol'thc vocal gesture."
interaction (Gillespie, 2005). A defining feature of humans, for Mead, is The vocal gesture is of utmost importance because it is reflexive (Farr,
that they move among positions within a relatively stable social, or institu- 1997; Mcad, 1912). It sounds roughly the same to self as to ochei: Self and
tional, structure. Of course social structure is not unique to humans. An othel; being in different social positions, are, it1 a sense, in diflerent envi-
ant colony is structured by the social positions of queen, workers, forag- I-onmcnts. Different features of the envimn~nentare salient for each, and
ers, nurses, and soldiers. But one does not find, in such societies, the phe- each is an object in the environment of the other. Even visual perception
nomenon of extm~kveposition exchange - within the inslilulionul structure. will he different for each. The tourist narrating her tale lias her mind
Humans, on the other hand, frequently exchange social positions filled with the imagery of the tale, while her aurlience rnay be thinking
within their institutions, or social acts. Consider the social act in which about the narrator's never-ending tale, or its self-aggraildizing nature. Yet
tourists narrate their travels-the self-narrating act (described in chapter all the vocal gestures are experienced rougllly the same by both. Thus the
4),There are two main social positions: the tourist narrating and the vocal gesture is the bridge between the two or more situations that corn-
other person, possibly also a tourist, listening. All tourists will have been prisc a social act. Upon hearing themselves speak, tourist narrators can
in both of these social positions. Certainly, few tourists get to travel react to themselves as if they were other. They can comment upon tlicir
through Ladakh without propagating, and being subjected to, tourist own utterances in jusl the same manner as tlicy might coniment upon the
tales. Thus tourists cultivate both perspectives. They cultivate the per- utterances of an other.
spective of the narrator who wants to tell a good story, and who most The vocal gesture proved to be important in all the analyses of self-
likely wants to claim the position of traveler, thus winning recognition reflection, for both tourists and Ladakhis. The renegade voice (chapter
from the audience. But they also cultivate the perspective of being sub- 1 1 ) escapes once the speaker hears what he or she has said and finds that
jected to the pretentious claims of travelers, and of mocking the narrator it conveys more meaning than intended. I11 self-mediation (chapter 12)
for trying too hard. By integrating these perspectives, tourists are then too, the sound of the speaker's voice caused a change of perspective. And
able to regulate their own acts of self-narration from the standpoint of finally, in short-circuiting (chapter 13) we found that it was the sound of
their own criticisms of other tourists' narratives. Laura begins by describ- the voice, specifically the description of the othel; that caused a change of
ing herself as searching for "proper India" and then changes perspective, perspective.
commenting that such a remark "sounds rather clichid." Guy begins by Looking across the instances of self-reflection reported in chapters 1 1
describing the "happy" villagers that he has seen, and then changes per- and 12 the reader will notice that there is a distinct bias. When we ask
spective, commenting that maybe he is imagining things. In both cases from which perspective people are reflecting upon tl~emselves,the answer
Laura and Guy, who are in the social position of narrator, briefly take the is usually that they are taking the perspective of their own group. Tourists
perspective of their audience. They question their own utterances in the take the perspective of tourists and Ladakhis take the perspective of
same way that they might question the utterances of an other. Ladakhis. It is actually relatively rare that self-reflection arises through
However, having previously been in the social position of the other, tourists taking the perspective of Ladakhis, or through Ladakhis taking
within a social act, does not mean that self will necessarily take the per- the perspective of tourists. Why is this? We set out to study tourist-lacla-
264 A. GILLESPIE Becoming Other 265

khi encounters assuming that this encounter would produce self-reflec- the lower caste position. This resource, then, can lead Ladakhis toward
tion, but we have found that most self-reflection is occurring through self-reflective discomfort.
tourist-tourist encounters and Ladakhi-Ladakhi encounters. Can we Both tourists and Ladakhis are elaborating discourses that doinesticate
explain this in terms of the theory of the social act? not only the actions of the other but also the perspective of the other. The
Considering this question leads us to recognize a limitation of the idea mechanism of this construction seems to be the generalizing of self's own
of position exchange, and simultaneously to recognize its importance. experiences and attributing them to the other: using self's own experi-
The first point to note is that there has been minimal position exchange ence to imagine or simulate the perspective of the other. This is particu-
between tourists and Ladakhis, but there has been maximal position larly clear with the reverse gaze whcrc we have seen tourists, in the
exchange within these groups. That is to say, tourists have not had the absence of being able to take thc actual perspective of tourists, seem to be
experience of being Ladakhis, but they have had the experience of many attributing to Ladakhis their own perspective. They assume that Ladakhis
different tourist positions. For example, most tourists have narrated tour- find tourist photography as offensive as they do.
ist tales, and listened to other tourists' narrations, and most tourists will
have taken photographs, and have criticized the photographing behavior
of others. Few Ladakhis have been in any of the social positions that tour- SIGNIFICANT SYMBOLS, SEMIOTIC MEDIATION,
ists occupy. Yet most Ladakhis have been in the various Ladakhi positions: AND SELF-REFLECTION
they have tried to preserve their culture but also felt "backward," they
have followed the fashion and also criticized others for doing so. Given The pmblcmatic of self-reflection can be stated in terms of the association
these sets of experiences, tourists have greater resources for taking the of ideas wittlin the stream of thought. Returning to Dewey's basic idea,
perspectives of other tourists than for taking the perspectives of Lada- thcrc is goal directed action. When this action becomes blocked, 01- there
khis, and vice versa. The utility of the concept of position exchange is is a rupture, then a stream of thought is initiated. This strearri of rhought
supported by the greater ability to take the perspective of others within is an attempt to reconstruct llie path of' action, such that llie act can 131-0-
one's social group than outside of it. ceed to-rvards its goal, Mead's acldition to this basic scheme was to argue
Howevel; a problem arises. How can we explain the instances of taking that the stream of thought is often social. What occurs in the stream of
the perspective of the other social group that do occur? In the absence of thought, Mead argued, is not just a strearri of assnciatcd ideas, as
position exchange, how can we explain the fact that Ladakhis and tourists described by James, but repeated shifting between perspectives, with each
can (to some extent) take each others' perspectives? perspective originating within a different social position within the given
Both tourists and Ladakhis engage in reconstructive work in hying to social act. The self-reflective stream of thought, that which jumps from
imagine the perspective of the other. In the absence of position exchange one perspective to the next-this is the I/rne dynamic. In nonhuman ani-
each group is forced to draw upon a range of symbolic resources in order mals, i-uptured action may stimulate thought, but not self-reflective
to imagine the perspective of the other. Tourists draw upon the discourses thought. Nonhuman animals do not see themselves within the problem
situation from the perspective of others. Humans, l~o~vevel;become
of Orientalism and modernity, they draw upon guidebooks and films.
objects ("me") ~vithinthe ruptured situation, and humans, by reacting to
Ladakhis make much use of Buddhism. The image of the hungry ghost is
themselves from the standpoint of others within the social situat'Ion,
used to imagine the motivational structure of tourists and the Buddhist
become agentic actors within that i-uptured situation. Mead's whole the-
notion of nirvana is used to imagine tourists' perspective on traditional
o ~ yof the social act is an account of how the perspectives of others
Ladakh. Tourists, according to this reconstructed perspective, are touring become part of the stream of thought.
traditional Ladakh because it is a form of life that is beyond desire and The stream of thought has been a longstanding problematic. What
suffering-it is outside of the wheel of life. Less flatteringly, Ladakhis are leads from one idea to the next? Is the movement between ideas predict-
liable to use their understanding of caste in order to anchor tourists' resis- able? Are there different forms of association between ideas? Early
tance to drinking Ladakhi water. Within Ladakh there is a taboo barring attempts to address these questions sought to identify the so-called "laws
middle and upper caste people from sharing a cup with a low caste per- of association." According to Aristotle, ideas could be associated to each
son. When Ladakhis reverse this perspective, when they use it to concep- other in terms of continuity, similarity and/or contrast. Hobbes adds to
tualize their own relation to tourists, they find themselves positioned in this list the argument that during nondirective thought, our train of
266 A. GILLESPIE Becoming Other 267

thought follows upon a previous train of perceptions. The content of doubt, on the basis of the empirical evidence, that the stream of thought
thought, according to Hobbes, comes from empirical or sensuous experi- needs to be theorized in terms of levels of distanciation or generality.
ence and consequently, the dynamic, or transition, between thoughts Horvevel; the research to date leaves one issue underexplored, namely the
comes from transitions of which we have had sensuous or empirical expe- exact mechanisms rvhich enable signs to create distanciation or self-reflec-
rience. Behaviorism refined and reduced the forms of association to the tion.
associations of stimuli contiguous in time, and associations of stimuli with What is the property of signs, or setniotic elements, that enables distan-
responses. On the other hand, psychoanalysis has diversified and ciation or self-reflection? The idea that a sign sitnply stands for the signi-
enriched the reputed forms of association by pointing toward the visceral fied in a direct relation of representation is insuflicient. If signs only stand
unconscious association of ideas, symbolism, visual similarity, and word-
for something or some relation to the wol-ld, then why do we not c o n f ~ ~ s e
play. the sign with that something? Moreover, ~7hyshoulcl these signs create
These forms of association, despite their diversity, are left wanting
distanciation? Fire ants leave phervrnone trails upon the discoveiy of a
when we try to explain the self-reflective stream of thought that is insti-
food source. Any fire ant which cncaunters the pheromone trail will follow
gated in humans by ruptured action. The problem is that these theories
the trail to~vardthe food source. The pllervtnone trail does "stand for" or
tend to focus upon similarity of form and function, and thus provide no
"indicate" the existence of food. Yet no o ~ l would
c suggest that the phew-
account of a change of perspective. But literary studies of the stream of
thought, such as James Joyce's Ulysses and especially Dostoyevsky's Notes rnotle trail, by virtue oC mediating the ants' behaviot; creates distancia-
fiom the Unihrground, show clearly that there is more to a stream of tion.
thought than association based on similarity of hnction o r perception. The foregoing analysis of self-reflection, or distancing, suggests that
The stream of thought, at least in humans, does not operate at a single something more complex is going 011. The analysis has shown that sell-
level. The foregoing analyses have shown how tourists and Ladakhis, reflection is fundamentally social. Chapter 11 showed that the voice of the
when self-reflecting, are turning upon themselves and questioning the othcr arising withiti self does trigger a distanciation from self. Fl~rther-
basis of their previous thoughts and utterances. Any account of the stream more, chapter 12 sho~t7cdthat instances of self-reflection can he macle
of thought, then, is going to have to take account of thoughts operating at explicable in terms of perspective-taking. 111 short, the empirical data
different levels. strongly links thc problematic of self-reflection, or distancing, with per-
Within cultural psychology it is usually accepted that signs, or semiotic spective-taking. By perspective-taking we do not mean taking the actual
elements, create distanciation. Valsiner (2001) has presented a model of perspective of the othel; but rather generalizing an aspect of self's o-cvn
semiotic mediation, or the stream of thought, as operating at several lev- experience, from when sclf was in a comparable social position, to the
els of generality, or more precisely, at different levels of distanciation from other. But the argument that self-reflection occurs by virtue of people
experience. While nonhumans are trapped in their perceptual fields reacting to themselves from perspectives cultivated in other social posi-
(Kohler, 1917/1925) humans are able to distance themselves from ongo- tions raises a new problematic: how can ideas originating in different
ing activity to various degrees (Valsiner, 2000, p. 50). At the most basic social positions become associated together?
level is undifferentiated experience of feelings and images which remain To account for how ideas originating in different social positions within
unnamed and unreflected upon. This is the level of embodied experience the same social act become associated together in the mind of a single
that we share with nonhuman animals. Moving up a level we find signs individual is a formidable challenge. That ideas, or experiences, are asso-
and words which name, and mediate, the experiences at the most basic ciated on the basis of perceptual similarity or similarity of fiinction is rela-
level. At higher Ievels there are more complex sign systems that also regu- tively easy to explain-we just need to appeal to the generalizatio~lof a
late, constrain and channel experiences at the most basic level. This response. But why should a tourist while telling the group about the
model introduces self-reflection into the stream of thought. The stream of "happy" Ladakhi villagers suddenly turn upon himself and question
thought is not just one thought foIIowing another, but one thought react- whether this is an illusion? Why should a Ladakhi \vhile passionately argu-
ing to and modifying the previous thought with more o r less self-reflec- ing for modernization, suddenly change topic and say that Ladakh must
tion. Empirical research has demonstrated the movement of thought also preserve its culture? Why should a tourist while engaged in criticizing
between these levels (Valsiner, 2003; Zittoun, 20061, and the present other tourist photographers suddenly turn and see her self as one of
research could be added to this empirical support. There is then, little "them?"
268 A. GILLESPIE Becoming Other 269

The answer, I argue, is to be found in Mead's conception of the signifi- experiences: the dynamic is one of both differentiation and integration.
cant symbol. From a Meadian perspective the ant's pheromone trail is a The integration occurs through the social act, through the dynamics of
symbol, but it is not a significant symbol. The pheromone trail does call position exchange and the vocal gesture. The end result is a significant
out the response to food, but it calls out no complementary response. For symbolic structure linking two domains of experience belong to
Mead a significant symbol calls out two or more responses within a given two different yet complementary social positions within a social act), and
social act. A significant symbol for Mead has the same structure as a social thus crafting a new path of association. This path of association does not
act. In a socia1 act there are two or more social positions, each with its own move on the basis of similarity of perception or function, but moves
perspective. Significant symbols evoke these two or more perspectives, between perspectives within a social act.
thus binding the otherwise isolated perspectives together. Evoking a sig- In the empirical instances of self-reflection that we have examined, it is
nificant symbol is thus evoking the whole social act from all of the pmspectives not function or perceptual similarity that links one tliouglit to tlie next in
embedded within it. In this sense the significant symbol does not have the the stream of thought. That is not to say that such associations are not evi-
same single meaning for all who hear it. Rather, it evokes the same com- dent, they are, but they cannot account for self-reflection. Self-reflection
plex of divergent meanings for all who hear it. This is what Mead (1922, entails an intersubjcctivc shift or pcrspcctivc within a given social act.
p. 161) means when he writes: "It is through the ability to be the other at Laura, for example, begins to narrate her tourist tales. She is in the social
the same time that he is himself that the symbol becomes significant." I position of narrator, while I and her companion listen. As she speaks she
would emphasize "at the same time." For if self simply moved from the changes perspective, she reflects that her comments sound "clicli6d." At
perspective of self to the perspective of other there would be no self- this point, although she is ostensibly in the social position of narrator, her
awareness. Self-awareness implies being both self and other at the same "I" is actually in tlie social position of' thc audicncc-shc is listening to
time. It implies being both a part of self's ongoing activity, and able to her narration. She has changed positions, at the level of ideation, within
react to that activity from the standpoint of a specific other or the general- the social act. The change of perspective is not arbitraly, it has a logic.
ized standpoint of the group. There is a pattern that associates these ideas within licr strcam or
It is easiest to understand the peculiar structure of the significant sym- thought, but it is not based 011 percepttlal similarity or function. In self-
bol by returning to the levels of semiotic mediation described by Valsiner rcflcctive thought, such as this, "the lines of association follow the lines of
(2001). The usual understanding of the sign is that it stands for some the [social] act" (Mead, 1934, p. 18).
experience at a lower level. The significant symbol, however, always
stands for two or more experiences at lower levels. Specifically, we must
assume that the experiences at the lower levels are socially structured.
One set of basic experiences, for example pertains to the social position
of self-narration and entails an orientation to differentiating oneself from
other tourists and maybe even self-aggrandizement. Then there is a sec-
ond set of basic experiences that pertains to the social position of listen-
ing to someone narrate their travels which entails a different set of
experiences such as boredom, feeling upstaged or feeling that one has
heard such a tale before. Thus, at the lower level, we have two differenti-
ated pools of socially structured experience which are complementary.
These experiences are differentiated because they belong to different
social positions, yet they are complementary because they belong to the
same social act (i.e., the self-narration act). The experiences are comple-
mentary because each has the other as its object: the experience of narra-
tion entails an orientation to the audience and the experience of listening
entails an orientation to the narrator. Given this differentiated field of
basic experience, the significant symbol is the integration of these experi-
ences at the higher IeveI. The significant symbol does not fuse these two

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AbeIsen, B., 63, 169 Brunei; J. S., 31, 75, 82, 83, 171
Abercrombie, 7.J., 56, 160, 167 Biihler, I<., 20
Act, description of, 10-13
Ackams, V., 78 Capezza, N., 207
Adler, J., 96 Cartesian paradigm, 3-9, 42, 205
Allen, B., 58 Chane): E., 175
Ancieptl Ff~lttres,
59, 167 Crawsha~v,C., 64, 83
Anderson, 1,137, 22 l Crick, M., 5 1, 63
Ash, J., 51 Crook, J. II., 52
Auts~in,J., 45 Cultural stream, 35-42, 48, 159, 169,
13akhtin, M., 155-158, 259, 260 Custance, D. M., 44
Bartlett, F. C., 41, 57
Bateson, G., 152, Danzigel; K., 206
Baucr, M. IV., 40, 41, I02 Dal-ivin, C., 6-8
Becker, G., 3 Dallies, C., 5
Beckel; H., 43 cle Waal, C., 43
Benjamin, IV., 8 1 Delumeau, J., 55
Bergel; l?, 6 Descartes, R., 3-19,42, 205
Bergson, H., 6, 248 Desmond, J. C., 5 1
Bertelsen, K. B., 147, 189, 190 Dewey,J., 1-14, 17, 38, 61, 106, 156,
I Billig, M., 106 256-258
I Bishop, P, 56, 84 Dialogical Self, 47, 199, 227, 260
Bluiner, H., 2,43, 69 Dostoyersky, F., 45, 266
Boescl~,E. E., 226 Dunreen, G., 38, 39, 42, 60, 152, 220
I Bourdieu, I?, 37, 96
Bray, J., 56 Ericsson, K. A., 206-207
British Broadcasting Corporation, 56 Essentialism, 3-6
284 A. GILLESPIE Becoming Other 285

Farr, R. M., 2, 23, 39,42, 137, 221, 263 Kearney, M., 5 1 Moscoirici, S., 39-4 1, 112 Serving, as a social act, 89-95, 96, 98,
Feedback theory, 13-16, 258-260 Kirchner, W., 6 1 Mote-beam divergence, 248-252, 263 99, 153, 159, 17 1, 185, 188,204
Feifer, M., 122 Kirshenblatt-Gimblett, B., 51 Seve~lYean in Tibet, 36, 22 1
Film, 34-38, 159, 167, 177, 22 1,264 Knight, R., 163 National Geographic, 36, 56, 58, 160, Shei~voocl,IJ.,3 1
Foster, J. L., 40, 220 Kohler, W., 266 167, 167,243, 244 Shibutani, T., 43
Francke, A. H., 189, 55 Kuper, A., 167 Nietzsche, F., 6, 157-158 Short-circuits, 229, 23 1, 24 1-253, 258,
Franklin, A., 5 1 , 1 18 Noi-berg-Hodge, H., 59 263
Freud, S., 209,260 Ladakh, description of, 52-62 Sightseeing, as a social act, 7 1-80, 89,
Lakoff, G., 42 Opie, I., 29, 31, 33 93, 96, 98, 99, 159, 162, 180,
Galton, F.,60 Larsen, S., 63, 169 Opie, l?, 29, 31, 33 195, 196, 197,259
Galwan, G. R., 61, 157, 180-181 Lawrence,J. A., 260 Osmaston, 1-1. A, 52 Significant syi11bols, 19-21, 265-269
Games, 28-35 Levi-Strauss, C., 1'78 Simso, L. M., 64
Gaskell, G., 40,41 Liminality, 62-65, 89 kramcswaran, R., 58 Sirnmel, G., 8 1
Gergen, K. J., 256 Liska, A, 73 Pavlov, I. F!, 257 Simon, 11. A., 206-207
Geuss, R., 157 Lofgren, O., 5 1,63 Peirce, C. S., 3, 5, 10, 20, 256, 257, 258 Singh, I-I., 52
Gillespie, A., 3, 15, 17, 38,43,45, 60, Lonely Planet, 59, 60, 108, 118-119, Smith, A., 259
Rrspective, dclinition 01; 17
83,92,259,262 160, 167, 174-175, 197 Social act, description of the theoiy, 16-
Perspectivism, 8- 10
Glaser, B. G., 43 Lopez, D. S., 55, 56, 65 19, 262-265
Photography, as a social acl, 38-39, 64,
Goffian, E., 43,87, 185, 186 Lost Horizon, 56 Social position, dclini~iunof; 17
Guidebooks, 37,59-61,62,77, 79, 112, Luckmann, T., 6
71, 80-90. 98, 105, 121, 122,
Social Representations, 36-45, 52, 102,
167, 170, 1'73, 178, 192, 242,
1 18-119, 174, 178, 187, 197, 264 Luria, A. R., 130 103, 152, 160, 167, 178, 184
Lyons, W., 206 Stone, C. A., 260
Herrnans, H., 47, 260 Pigg, S. L., 15'7
Strauss, A. L., 43
Ifidden Faces of Ivtdia, 56-58 MacCannell, D.,5 1,63, 72, 118, 169, Play, 17-19, 28-35, 62, 63, 65, 66, 89,
Strean1 of thought, 13, 46, 206, 208,
Hilton, J., 56 171 90
209, 239, 241, 256, 265-269
Hobsbarum, E., 75 Markov6, I., 5, 22,40,47, 207 Position cxcliangc, 18, 19, 24, 27-33, Symbolic resources, 36-39,45, 48, 6 1,
Holland, D., 85 Martin, J., 45 35, 36, 39, 43,44, 48, 66, 71, 79, 156, 159,203,206,264
Howarth, C., 39,42 Matusov, E., 260 85, 89,03-95, 97, 98, 99, 173,
"Me," 21-24, 27, 39,42,46,47, 64, 85, 177, 184, 200-203, 255, 256, Tajfel, H., 193
"I," 2 1-24,45-47, 86, 194, 200, 205, 99, 101, 122, 123, 124, 127, 151, 262,264,269 Tannel; L. N., 156
209,211, 212, 214, 218, 220, 152,153, 154, 156, 157, 160, Prcbcnscn, N. K., 63, 169 Tayloi-,J . F!, 121
225,231,234,241,269 161, 169, 176, 177, 179, 180, Psychologists' fallacy, 8-10 "They," 47, 99, 101, 127, 152, 153,
Ichheiser, G., 203, 249 184, 188, 189, 194, 195, 200, 161, 179, 153, 241, 242, 243,
Imagination, 28,35-42, 55-59,65, 121, 203, 209, 211, 214, 218, 219, Ranger, T.,75 244,246,248
167, 201-203, 218, 232, 256 225,227, 230,231-240,241-246, Renegade voice, 2 13-228,238,263 Tilley, C., 75, 83
Internal dialogues, 47, 21 1-228, 260 250,255,265 Ritzer, G., 73 Traces, definition of, 158-160
Internalization, 260-262 Mead, G. H., 1-48, 61, 63,66, 69, 79, Rizvi, J ., 52, 189 Turner, E., 62
Intersubjectivity, 19, 25, 30-35,45, 48, 89, 96, 98, 106, 137, 153, 155, Rommetveit, R., 23, 30, 158 Turnel; L., 5 1
88, 99, 252-253 156, 158, 163, 173, 197, 205, Rorty, K.,6, 42 Turner, V., 62
207-209, 211, 212, 217, 221, Rupture theory, 12, 256-258
James,\V.,3,6,9, 10, 13, 14, 15, 17, 225, 227, 228, 229-234, 241, Uexkiill, V. J., 7
21,22, 38,46, 125, 206, 265 243, 250,252, 253,255-269 Said, E. W, 55, 163 Urry, J., 51, 64, 81, 83
Jodelet, D., 40,41 Merleau-Ponty, M., 207,228 Self-mediation, 2, 16, 66, 229-24 1, Urry, J., 5 1, 64, 8 1, 83
Johnson, M., 42 Moghaddam, F. M., 199 249,252,259,263
Josephs, I. E., 227, 260 Morrione, T. J., 2,43 Self-narration, as a social act, 96-98, Valsiner, J., 36, 46, 59, 156, 199, 207,
Jovchelovitch, S., 40 Morris, C., 20 153, 171, 174, 176, 177, 184, 209,227,253,260,266, 268
Joyce, J., 266 Morris, K. J., 3 200,234,262,268,269 van Beek, M., 147, 189, 190
Van der Veer, R., 46, 156, 209 Werner, H., 25
Voelldein, C., 39 Wertsch, J. V., 2 12, 260
Vygotsky, L. S., 207, 260, 261 Wessels, C., 55
Whiten, A., 44
Wagner, W., 152, 203, 220 Whyte, W. F., 43
Wang, N., 73
Wangyal, S., 52, 147 Zittoun, T, 36, 38, 60, 266
Watson, J. B., 206