The taming of the shrewd

Technologies of the self, emotions, and the rebranding of Philippine tourism


  • Raymund Vitorio De La Salle University, Manila
  • Paolo Niño Valdez De La Salle University, Manila



Tourism, technologies of the self, emotions, country branding, Covid-19, Philippines


The travel restrictions, health and safety protocols, and the stigmatization of traveling for leisure brought about by the Covid-19 pandemic have significantly affected the tourism industry. In this article, we investigate the current discursive efforts of the Department of Tourism (DOT) of the Philippines to revitalize the country’s tourism industry. We examine seven official DOT video advertisements to determine how the government construes pandemic-safe tourism and rebrands the country as a safe tourist destination. We argue that these videos capitalize on technologies of the self: the onus to negotiate the risks of traveling during the pandemic with the benefits of the tourism experience is premised on the tourist’s willingness to unilaterally take care of oneself. We also contend that the videos’ cautious deployment of emotions enables the government to portray their efforts to combat the pandemic as effective and downplay their heavily criticized draconian measures. This article demonstrates how tourism, an activity that is typically characterized as hedonistic and shrewd, is being tamed as an attempt to remain relevant in the context of the pandemic.

Author Biographies

Raymund Vitorio, De La Salle University, Manila

Raymund Vitorio is an associate professor in the Department of English and Applied Linguistics of De La Salle University (Manila, Philippines). His research interests include tourism discourse, the sociolinguistics of citizenship, linguistic ethnography, discourse analysis, and metapragmatics.

Paolo Niño Valdez, De La Salle University, Manila

Paolo Niño Valdez is a research fellow and associate professor in the Department of English and Applied Linguistics of De La Salle University (Manila, Philippines). In 2022, he was a Fulbright Visiting Scholar at Hunter College, City University of New York. His research interests are in the areas of critical pedagogy, discourse analysis, and sociolinguistics of globalization.


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How to Cite

Vitorio, R., & Valdez, P. N. (2023). The taming of the shrewd: Technologies of the self, emotions, and the rebranding of Philippine tourism. Sociolinguistic Studies, 16(4), 505–524.