Hotel California: biopowering tourism, from New Economy Singapore to Post-Mao China

C. Minca, C.E. Ong

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterAcademicpeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)


This chapter focuses on care, custody and tourism and on how their associated spatial arrangements are often controlled, stewarded and monitored by the state. The title’s reference to famous rock band The Eagles’ 1977 song is meant to suggest the arguably contentious and biopolitical nature of some tourist spaces (Diken and Laustsen, 2004; Minca, 2009). Written by Don Felder, Don Henly and Glenn Frey, the lyrics paint a surrealistic portrait of a luxury hotel which initially appears as inviting and alluring, but turns out to be a hedonistic prison where ‘you can check out anytime you like, but you can never leave’ and ‘where we are all just prisoners here, of our own device’. The reference to this passage intends to suggest a deliberately provocative parallel between Hotel California and many spaces that are conceived to host leisurely activities and that promise to provide care and well-being (at time even happiness and a temporary new persona), in other words, to “re-create” their willingly guests1. Contemporary tourism is indeed an industry often concerned with care and “custody”, protection and segregation, always with “re-creation”. From spa-treatments at seaside resorts to trekking in the woods, much focus is placed on recreation-as-rejuvenation of minds and bodies, and/or the realisation of more resilient individuals (Minca, 2012).
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationTourism Encounters and Controversies : Ontological Politics of Tourism Development
EditorsG.T. Jóhannesson, C. Ren, R. van der Duim
Place of PublicationLondon
Number of pages272
ISBN (Electronic)9781317009528
ISBN (Print)9781472424389
Publication statusPublished - 2015

Publication series

NameNew Directions in Tourism Analysis

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