What does the author mean by "interpretive clutter" in the following text?

tourism has become a significant creator of forms in the contemporary world. At a micro level, tourism creates souvenirs and representations. It affects dress. It generates signage and interpretative clutter.


  • Please add a link to the text.
    – ab2
    May 21, 2017 at 21:45
  • For the specific text, books.google.com/…
    – Xanne
    May 21, 2017 at 23:52
  • Let's imagine going for a walk. We might walk alongside a charming natural stream. Or we might walk alongside what used to be a charming natural stream, only now, every 50 yards there is a display that "interprets" what is already visible. It's a different experience, stopping to read someone's prescription for what we should be noticing on our walk. May 23, 2017 at 2:37

1 Answer 1


I believe "interpretative clutter" in this context refers to the translations that tourism creates to reach foreign markets who are traveling from abroad. For example if I'm operating a bike rental service in Thailand, I'll likely translate my signage into the languages of the tourists that most visit my country (e.g. English, Mandarin, and French). You can imagine that such translations would exist almost everywhere in countries where the official language is not widely spoken, and they could be seen to detract from the purpose of travel--to experience something different than what one is accustomed to. The author holds the opinion that these translations are clutter.

  • +1 I don't know if this is right or not, but it is certainly plausible.
    – ab2
    May 21, 2017 at 21:47
  • 5
    I would have read it as referring to interpretation boards put up to explain important landmarks to the tourists.
    – Simon B
    May 21, 2017 at 21:55
  • @SimonB I hadn't seen that term before, but your interpretation feels more accurate.
    – Samuel
    May 21, 2017 at 22:05

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge that you have read and understand our privacy policy and code of conduct.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.