Falkirk Wheel, Panoramic view.

Falkirk Wheel, Panoramic view.
Image by Cameron Lyall, GNU license Wikimedia

21 July 2011

Dundee - A Postindustrial Tourism Ploy

Because I had taken a prep-course for my time studying abroad in Scotland, I believed I was prepared in my knowledge of what something means if it is postindustrial.

Little did I expect that tourism would be such a large part of postindustrial culture.

Before I came to Dundee, my critical thinking and writing about postindustrialism focused on electronic technologies and communication. During the first week here though, I learned about the tourism in postindustrial culture and freedom of travel. These concepts were personified through class trips and discussion.

After visiting The Verdant Works, a retired jute factory turned museum, I learned about the strong industrial past of the city. With the loss of its practicality, the jute industry in Dundee died, leading the town to resort to other sources of residential work and income.

Dundee's postindustrial solution to its lack of industry is tourism. A satellite Victoria & Albert Museum is coming to the city, and just by visiting the city center, one can see how it is beginning to be marketed to tourists. Other attractions, like The Verdant Works and Discovery ship, are here to be parts of this new industry. Though the city is not quite the perfected postindustrial tourist's playground, it is well on its way to being so.

My current ideas of postindustrial spaces vary from place to place, but when I reflect on Dundee, this is what I think of. I realize that being postindustrial can mean an ease of travel and communication, like the Firth of Forth Bridge, or complex record keeping, like the National Archives, but Dundee will always be known to me as the Little Hopeful Town that Probably Could.

Who knows how this postindustrial ploy will play out?

I may be taking my family here for vacation here in a few decades time... That is, if Dundee plays its postindustrial cards right.

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