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A travel ontology of personsâ and movement. Part one.  

Does travel exist as a kind of thing like place or personal or public identity? Does a traveller ever move to a place? Is a place only ever identical to itself, but no other? Could travel entail the kind of experience of essential or a constructed version of culture. A travel philosopher enquires into problems pertaining to identity in relation to place; the ontology of place; and the epistemology of movement. That is how do I know that when I move, it amounts to something akin to the phenomenon of all of me that moves?

One requirement might be a precise kind of numerical identity to that place. This would require a changeless feature of reality that at least numerically is identical to itself. Though how is it that a notion of ‘I’ captured as a changless feature of reality if it is through an enduring narrative.

However it is the theory of functionalism that in some way frames the self to place. A frame represents boundaries around some picture of reality. The notion of place from this conceptual sense has a function for a cohort of people who define the frame of reality as a place distinct from another place. Though this brings up two theories of place qua culture.

Essentialist notion of culture contrasted to the world systems approach to culture.


The notion of globalization as a subset of global systemic process is highlighted through recent historical events like large-scale tourism in relation to consumption. This is through income at the centre and transportation that allow for the construction of fantasy worlds away from home.

This global arena of identification which requires a stable frame of global reference such as where the thing was produced so to guarantee a reception. A stable frame of reference is necessary for the product to be pushed outwards into global arena.


An essentialist notion of culture must flatten out the extremely varied ways in which the expressions of a culture could be presented so that there is a sort of even granular sense of it. So the institutionally semantic schemes move from specification of identity to that of specialisation of identity that says nothing about that which is classified through a central scheme of things. What is travelled to then is a kind of constructed scheme of specification that appears in commodity specialisations such as the travel guide that trim down baggage.

The unintended consequence the cancellation of culture. This from a world systems approach is a form of identification of others, which is stabilised through hegemonic arrangements of a world system. So from this model cultural process occur within a world system. An example are the ethnic diaspora and new consumer tastes flowering as a cultural process due to the world system.

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