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From Travel to Tourism: The Social and Cultural Impact of Photography as a New Medium of Communication in 19th-Century America

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This article examines the relationship between the introduction of photography into American society in 1839 and changes in the concept of travel during the 19th century. Principles about the social consequences of photography formulated from the works of Roland Barthes, Walter Benjamin, Marshall McLuhan, Lewis Mumford, and Susan Sontag serve as a framework to compare and contrast the predominant concepts of travel presented in magazine articles of travel advice published before and after the advent of photography. The principles focus on the medium's capacity to influence social and cultural thought and activity.
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Keywords: 19th century; American culture; foreign travel; magazines; photography

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Dominican University

Publication date: 02 February 2012

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  • EME explores the relationships between media, technology, symbolic form, communication, consciousness, and culture. Its scope is interdisciplinary and multidisciplinary. Media ecology provides a rich philosophical, historical and practical context for studying our increasingly technological and mediated society and culture with an emphasis on historical context.
    Media ecology scholarship emphasizes a humanistic approach to understanding media, communication, and technology, with special emphasis on the ways in which we have been and continue to be shaped and influenced by our inventions and innovation. The Media ecology approach is predicated on understanding that media, symbols, and technologies play a leading role in human affairs, and function as largely invisible environments affecting the way we think, feel, act, and organize ourselves collectively.
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