What can applied anthropologists a consideration of their projects contribute to anthropological theory on tourism? This panel draws upon applied practitioners to understand the state of their art.
Academic social and cultural anthropology concerned with tourism has provided thick descriptions of the tourist exchange in a number of contexts, with exegeses devoted to illustrate the sexualized Other, the appropriation of landscape, the uses of the past in the present, and the delatory effects of tourism structures on the 'host' communities. It has shown us how pilgrimages, beaches, and museums become iconic and fetishized in the tourist's gaze. Yet, for applied anthropologists concerned with the impacts of the world's largest industry on local populations, and those charged with proscribing applied interventions, do the theories generated in this tradition provide a use-value? Do those anthropologists engaged in community-centred methods such as participatory action research, and theoretical approaches through praxis, approach their subject in the same ways? Indeed, what can applied anthropologists, as such, and the consideration of applied projects, contribute to theory in anthropological research on tourism? This panel draws upon applied anthropological practitioners to understand the state of their art. Appropriate topics include studies of tourism and the spread of HIV/AIDS; tourism and nutrition; tourism and issues of cultural heritage and cultural property; the politics of representation as well as construals of audiences and media-based constructions of 'the toured'; and even critical considerations of theoretical models that might be amenable to applied anthropology.