Pharmaceuticals and Tourist Spaces: Encountering the medicinal in Cozumel’s Linguistic Landscape

  • Leon Hoffman Simon Fraser University
Keywords: linguistic landscapes, tourism, pharmacies, medicine


Cozumel Island is one of Mexico’s most popular tourist destinations, boasting beautiful beaches and world class diving, amongst myriad activities and experiences. It is also home to a host of pharmaceutical merchants who have positioned themselves alongside the island’s established tourism shops. Investigating the island as a linguistic landscape, this article constructs a landscape-focused narrative that analyses the linguistic and material signs of the pharmaceutical shops as they may be experienced from the tourist’s perspective. To undertake this, several recurrent features of the pharmaceutical landscape that can be encountered by the tourist are investigated in order to ascertain the discourses and systems in which these medical signs operate, as well as how they can be interpreted by a visitor to the island. It is revealed that signs that relate to the pharmaceutical operate within a wider touristic ideology that positions medicines as souvenirs that strive for legitimacy, while acting as a reminder of a tourist’s own historical and contemporary health and healthcare needs.

Author Biography

Leon Hoffman, Simon Fraser University

PhD Candidate

Department of Geography

How to Cite
Hoffman, Leon. 2017. “Pharmaceuticals and Tourist Spaces: Encountering the Medicinal in Cozumel’s Linguistic Landscape”. ACME: An International Journal for Critical Geographies 16 (1), 59-88.