Intercultural mobilities in tourism context: migrants, tourists, new residents and local population

Antonio Miguel Nogués Pedregal (Universitas Miguel Hernández)
Ramona Lenz
Start time:
28 August, 2008 at 9:00
Session slots:

Short abstract:

Tourism contexts are versatile. Social relations and things both change rapidly. Increasingly the 'new' mobilities (labour migrants and new residents, mainly northern Europeans) arrive to coastal territories where there are already local population and thousands of tourists. How can anthropological theory manage this and how can fieldwork be carried out in these contexts?

Long abstract:

The objective of this workshop is to dialogue about the complexity of interculturality in tourism contexts. Local population (insiders), new residents, labour inmigrants and tourists are distinct social and cultural groups that share a common ground. Their practices are usually observed, ethnographically described and anthropologically analysed on the basis of a relation between the local population and any of the other groups. For instance, Northern european residents in the Mediterranean and the local population, the social integration in the local society of the labour inmigrants, the impacts of the presence of tourists on the local culture… The reason for the prevalence of this approach may be due to the hegemonic role played by the dialectical conceptualisation of social and cultural life within anthropological theory and social practice, or to the methodologies used for data collection during fieldwork. Despite this, and fortunately, a vast majority of anthropologists agree that interculturality is produced, and reproduced, by all the agents and social groups involved in the general process. For this reason the workshop will focus on the "relations among relations", rather than on the relations between any pair of these groups. We will specifically inquire into the cultural mobilities in territories already constructed for mass tourism consumption. Example of questions to be addressed are: how is social organisation within these groups being modified by the presence of any of these groups? Is the seasonal nature of these mobilities (european residents are part-time residents, individual inmigrants keep moving from city to another, tourists come and go, and local population can hardly be defined) an obstacle for fieldwork methods and anthropological analysis? In these contexts, can 'culture' still be conceived as the central and most distinctive anthropological notion for ethnographic research and theoretical thinking?. Interested researchers are invited to send statements rather than finished papers. For this reason participants are strongly encouraged not to read their papers but to explain them. After the workshop authors of selected statements will then be asked to write a full paper for a specialised publication.