'What a picturesque village': producing tourist spaces in North-West Romania
(University of Perugia)
Paper short abstract:
In this paper I shall speak of places, landscape and transformation in a Romanian village where the "production of locality" is hidden in the narratives but evident in the practises.
Paper long abstract:
The theme my paper deals mainly with the spaces in which the tourism experience occurs. I shall speak of places, landscape and transformation by considering space as a social product, and consequently the relationship between community and territory, in a dynamic and historically contextualised way. Fieldwork war carried out in a Romanian village (Botiza) focusing particularly in the observation of the influences, the changes and the effects that tourism produced to the landscape. An evident sort of contradiction stimulates my reflections. Botiza has gone through a process of transformation generally recognized as 'modernisation'. However, only in some narratives it emerges the consciousness of the process of change taking place, while in the others it seem to be obliterated. Tourists claim to choose Botiza as their holiday destination for the "beauty of its landscape", the "marvellous surroundings", the "brave nature", and, most importantly, the strong relationships that local people have with nature and the landscape. In order to host tourists, local people refurnish their houses, invest tourism entrance in decorating the house facades, build wooden fences and, when possible, buy a car. Local administration builds a new road, bring running water nearer to houses and promotes the entrance of Botiza in wider tourism circuits. Therefore, whilst the impact of changes is present in politics and in practises of tourism, it is not recognized it the narratives. The idea of a never changing set of practises, traditions and costumes as well as landscape and the relation with it coexist with the local willing of ameliorate living standards through tourism income. How do the protagonists make sense of this apparently opposite narratives? Why is the landscape and people's relationship with it the focus of both the narratives? I will try to analyse such issues through ethnographic data.Download the full paper
Tourism and landscape narratives