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Tourism and politics in transitional societies
Saskia Cousin (Université Paris Descartes)
Caroline Legrand (CNRS)
Saskia Cousin
Caroline Legrand
Series B: Political economy/development
Start time:
11 April, 2007 at 11:30 (UTC+0)
Session slots:

Short abstract:

This panel questions the political frames of tourism in transitional societies, including post-conflict and post-socialists countries. It explores the way classifications, agendas and guidelines of politics and institutions both shape and meet tourists' expectations and concrete activities.

Long abstract:

What is anthropology of tourism all about? Formerly, anthropologists used to focus on the impact of tourism activities on geographical and cultural landscapes. Today's major trend is to questioning the relationship between tourism and the construction of identities. Tourism policies are usually pushed into the background or relegated to other disciplines. Yet, we believe that there is a need, first, to question the political frames of tourism (i.e. ways whereby governments, institutions and public agencies act towards tourism industry), and second, to explore the way their classifications, agendas and guidelines both shape and meet tourists' expectations and concrete activities.

The politics of tourism are particularly interesting to study in transitional societies (including post-conflict or post-socialist societies), where mass tourism is currently emerging. The commonplace view of such societies is that of a global (Western) wave of tourism sweeping through the local landscape and leaving standardised resorts and cultural accommodation/resistance in its way. But in fact, national institutions, state and market actors, and domestic tourists have their own agendas and preferred practices, often in the pursuit of particular agendas of modernisation and/or nation-building, that engage global institutions and practices with differing results.

We invite papers that analyse the way economic and political institutions think about, label and classify tourist activities (sex tourism, roots tourism, cultural tourism, …) in these specific societies. We are also interested in how institutions (private or public, local, national or transnational) try to regulate and control both the market of tourism industry and its participants (holidaymakers, professionals of tourism, and host population). We also welcome papers that question the way local pedagogical agendas (including ideas of national heritage and modernization) have interacted, in transitional places, with the agendas of international organisations (such as UNESCO, WTO, European Union).