Jump to ContentJump to Main Navigation
Show Summary Details
More options …


Journal of the International Association for Semiotic Studies / Revue de l'Association Internationale de Sémiotique

Editor-in-Chief: Danesi, Marcel

IMPACT FACTOR 2018: 0.509

CiteScore 2018: 0.23

SCImago Journal Rank (SJR) 2018: 0.232
Source Normalized Impact per Paper (SNIP) 2018: 0.478

Agenzia Nazionale di Valutazione del Sistema Universitario e della Ricerca: Classe A

See all formats and pricing
More options …
Volume 2011, Issue 183


Socio-semiotics and the new mega spaces of tourism: Some comments on Las Vegas and Dubai

Mark Gottdiener
Published Online: 2011-03-17 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/semi.2011.007


“Mega” tourist spaces are named as such because of both their physical scale, which encompasses many square miles of land, and their economic scale of billion dollar investments and profit-making. The paper examines two of the most prominent examples — Las Vegas, Nevada, and Dubai in the United Arab Emirates. Tourist locations seek to differentiate themselves using signs that distinguish one place from another through the symbolic mechanism of theming. This constant differentiation creates a sense of place for locations that, otherwise, offer essentially the same product such as opulent leisure activities and, in the case of Las Vegas, casino gambling. The semiotic process of differentiation through theming façades and décor has become the major tool of marketing to tourists who can always choose from among many alternative destinations. This socio-semiotic perspective stands in contrast to the thesis, often associated with Michel Augé, of uniform homogenization as the aesthetic imperative of contemporary global architectural practice. Examining the distinctive elements of the sign systems in Dubai and Las Vegas, the paper argues that Dubai is organized under the sign of excess, while Las Vegas's semiotic is more complex.

Keywords:: Mega tourist spaces; Las Vegas; Dubai; theming; spatial semiotics; metonymy

About the article

Published Online: 2011-03-17

Published in Print: 2011-02-01

Citation Information: Semiotica, Volume 2011, Issue 183, Pages 121–128, ISSN (Online) 1613-3692, ISSN (Print) 0037-1998, DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/semi.2011.007.

Export Citation

Citing Articles

Here you can find all Crossref-listed publications in which this article is cited. If you would like to receive automatic email messages as soon as this article is cited in other publications, simply activate the “Citation Alert” on the top of this page.

Xiaoming Zhang and Jiuling Sheng
Annals of Tourism Research, 2017, Volume 64, Page 163
Hélène Cherrier and Russell Belk
Journal of Marketing Management, 2015, Volume 31, Number 3-4, Page 317

Comments (0)

Please log in or register to comment.
Log in