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IUAES 2013: Evolving Humanity, Emerging Worlds. 5-10 August 2013.

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Evolving humanity, emerging worlds

Manchester, UK; 5th-10th August 2013

(MMM22)

Exploring the role of tourism in the evolving cultures of the world

Location University Place 6.213
Date and Start Time 09 Aug, 2013 at 09:00

Convenor

Donald Macleod (Glasgow University) email
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Short Abstract

Tourism is a huge global phenomenon and has many impacts on culture. This panel invites theoretical and evidence based papers on aspects of this topic including cultural representation, acculturation, imperialism, commodification, development and dependence.

Long Abstract

This panel will explore, examine and analyse the interaction of tourism and culture. It will look at the way tourism becomes part of cultural transformation, promoting, destroying, and influencing aspects of 'culture' in the broadest sense of the term. Issues invited for discussion include the representation of ethnic groups and other identities; general acculturation between the visitors and the visited community; imperialism and asymmetrical dependence; the commodification of culture; cultural configuration through intentional marketing and interpretation. Cultural involution, cultural pollution, authenticity and cultural heritage are also areas of welcomed discussion.

As a form of human mobility mainly for leisure purposes (business tourism and 'visiting friends and relatives' are also included), tourism represents an enormous reason for international travel, growing from around 25 million in 1950 to almost one billion international arrivals in 2011. Virtually every country is impacted by tourists, and many are increasingly looking to tourism as an economic opportunity.

Anthropologists have only relatively recently begun to study tourism seriously, however, this crucially important phenomenon needs more research: where people encounter those from different cultures, prepare their own homes and local environment for the entertainment of others, re-organise their economy and experience radically different lifestyles and values through contact with tourists. This panel welcomes papers on the above topics or similar issues, especially those that are theoretical and comparative, based on fieldwork.

This panel is closed to new paper proposals.

Papers

Cultural realignment through tourism: a driver of evolving communities

Author: Donald Macleod (Glasgow University)  email
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Short Abstract

This paper explores the way the tourism industry has led to cultural realignment throughout the world, giving examples of specific locations from village to city. Cultural realignment is the intentional, proactive practice of manipulating a culture or its aspects with a specific objective in mind, through for example interpretation, image-making, commodification and branding.

Long Abstract

This paper explores the way the tourism industry has led to cultural realignment throughout the world, giving examples of specific locations from village to city. Cultural realignment is the intentional, proactive practice of manipulating a culture or its aspects with a specific objective in mind, through for example interpretation, image-making, commodification and branding.

The sheer scale of the global tourism industry, with around 1 billion international travellers in 2011, and many more domestic tourists, means it has a massive economic importance and impacts on host communities in ways including social, cultural, economic and environmental. This scenario leads to intense competition between locations, and is increasingly being led by marketing and the drive for a unique selling point and higher profile. This paper argues that tourism is a unique and powerful aspect of globalisation and that the concept of cultural realignment helps us to perceive and analyse one of its burgeoning facets.

Communities are continually evolving, and tourism's stimulation of cultural realignment is worthy of special attention, as it impacts on numerous aspects of identity (place, culture, heritage, personal and professional), and encourages the commodification of culture (heritage products, festivals, events). Specific examples examined include villages in the Canary Islands and the Dominican Republic, and the city of Glasgow, giving an idea of the variety and scale of impact, a process which can be expected to increase dramatically.

Tourism in southern Nayarit, Mexico

Author: Ana María Salazar Peralta (Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México)  email
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Short Abstract

The paper analyzes the social, environmental and cultural tourism of sun and beach. Particularly the creation of 21 international tourism developments, including the expansion of tourism of second homes and the tourist centers promoted by the Mexican government such as Capomo and Litibú.

Long Abstract

The paper explores from an anthropological perspective, the social historical process in which, the Mexican government in the last three decades joined the globalization trend of world economy. This trend leds to constitutional reforms imposed neoliberal policies that perceive tourism as an engine for regional development. Tourism has kept the role of regional development pole, causing profound social effects, it has changed socio-territorial structure, the forms of social and reproductive organization of hunter-gatherers indigenous populations, fishing communities, also the rural-mestizo and local tourism, this process has been expressed in a wide variety of social, environmental and cultural phenomena that are true reflection of the neglect of social responsibility and cultural citizenship.

Freedom, love and violence: European women's sexualized travels in the Northeast of Brazil.

Author: Adriana Piscitelli (State University of Campinas/UNICAMP)  email
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Short Abstract

Here I analyze the connections between white European women sexualized travels and violence in two beaches in the Northeast of Brazil. Based on ethnographic fieldwork, I consider how the social changes provoked by the dramatic growth of tourism are related to these situations of violence

Long Abstract

Violence in the context of relationships between local men and female travelers from the Global North has been registered in socio-anthropological studies in different parts of the world. Yet, the connections between these journeys and situations of violence have not received sufficient attention. Dialoguing with these approaches, in this paper I consider white European women sexualized travels, in two transnational beaches of Ceará, in the Northeast of Brazil. The study is based on ethnographic fieldwork carried out over an 18 month period stretched across several "high seasons" from 2000 up to 2008. I analyze the experiences of women who engage in eroticized relationships with sexualized/racialized local men, perceived as embodying "Brazilian masculinity", in the context of intense local social changes provoked by the dramatic growth of tourism. During the early phases of these romances, passion contributes to blur their transactional nature. But these affective dimensions are disrupted when women become migrants. In the process of abandoning their tourist status, the fluidity of those sexual-economic exchanges disappears, with particular cruelty for the older women, when the reconfiguration of local gender codes imbalances these women's privileges, subjecting them to symbolic and material violence. The domination that these women suffer is temporary, however. They continue to be positioned as white/European and, most of the time, are still the owners and operators of the tourism businesses that they set up. New and safer possibilities of agency open up for those who stay, seeking deeper insertion into local social networks.

Tourism, alterity and native dress among the Kuna (Panama)

Author: Mònica Martínez Mauri (University of Barcelona)  email
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Short Abstract

In this paper I seek to go beyond the notion of acculturation to understand the complexities of contact and cultural change in a touristic and indigenous territory: Kuna Yala (Panama). The use of traditional dress (mola) by Kuna women is central to understanding Amerindian relations with alterity.

Long Abstract

In Kuna Yala (Panama), the traditional dress of women -consisting of a hand-sewn mola blouse, purchased headcloth and skirt, gold nosering, and bead limb-bindings- has been an emblem of indigenous identity for more than eighty years. Kuna narrating the story of their famous rebellion of 1925 typically say that they fought to preserve women's dress, which was being suppressed by non-indigenous police, as well as to defend their land and autonomy. More recently the mola has become an important source of income, as thousands of blouses and blouse panels are sold annually to tourists and collectors.

How is one to understand the continued use of traditional dress by Kuna women? Far from trivial or anecdotal, this question is central to understanding Amerindian relations with alterity in general and with specific alters. In particular, we focus here on the connection between native dress and tourism, asking whether Kuna women use molas to attract or metaphorically seduce foreign tourists. The answer will put in doubt the dichotomies of opposition and exclusion in terms of pure/impure often posited to explain the self-identity of peoples like the Kuna. Our analysis takes inspiration from the hypothesis that Amerindian societies are organized on principles of ambivalence as well as alterity, a notion found in Lévi-Strauss's explorations of the opening towards the Other, as well as in current discussions about the symbolic value of bodies and western dress in Amazonian societies.

Community Based Cultural Tourism Development in Ethiopia

Authors: Mulugeta Feseha (Addis Ababa University)  email
Tom Selwyn (SOAS)  email
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Short Abstract

This presentation reports from the University of Addis Ababa on the extensive research, teaching, and development work on new strategies of community based cultural tourism in Ethiopian villages and cities. Aims of the project include the generation of fuller utilization of the various natural and cultural resources in Ethiopia that will provide the basis for enhanced benefits to livelihoods and local economies.

Long Abstract

This presentation reports from the University of Addis Ababa on the extensive research and development work that has given rise to the publication of a new book on community based tourism development in Ethiopia, the successful running of a Masters' course and associated research work on new forms of independent tourism development in Ethiopia, and a British Council/DfiD funded project on tourism development led by Feseha and Selwyn from Addis and SOAS which will lead to a major pan African conference in May 2013 and from thence the implementation of new tourism strategies implied by the work. The hope is that a full utilization of the various natural and cultural resources in Ethiopia will provide the basis for enhanced benefits to livelihoods and local economies. Apart from exploring modalities of basing independent rural tourism on community organizations, the paper will explore the potential for developing cultural routes throughout the country. In this context, as in others, the paper responds to aspects of the Call text by exploring how the new approach to tourism in the country uses, presents, re-presents and interprets aspects of Ethiopian 'culture'.

Tourism in post-conflict Mali

Author: Charlotte Joy (Goldsmiths, University of London)  email
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Short Abstract

This paper explores the consequences of the current conflict in Mali on people dependent on the tourist industry. The collapse of the tourist industry in Mali highlights the economic dependence of a number of players on the industry, all of whom are having to re-deploy their skills to survive the current crisis.

Long Abstract

This paper explores the consequences of the current conflict in Mali, West Africa, on people dependent on the tourist industry.

Since the 1990s, Mali had been an increasingly popular tourist destination for both European (predominantly francophone) and American audiences. In the last 10 years, growing numbers of Chinese and Japanese tourists were also visiting the country. Through its World Heritage sites, Mali fulfilled the desire for 'pristine' African culture (Dogon Country), desert adventure (Timbuktu) and architectural sophistication (Djenné). A number of cultural and music festivals had also successfully put Mali on the West African tourist map. UNESCO and other international heritage agency had spent considerable time and money on cultivating a professional class of heritage and tourism professionals as an explicit tool for economic development.

Given the uncertain future of the tourist industry, this paper will question the consequences of relying on tourism for economic development. It will identify the ways in which tourism has provided some resilience during the current conflict and the potential future of the industry given the difficult years ahead.

The Everchanging Maze/Long Kesh: An example of the tour as unscripted gaze

Author: Jonathan Skinner (University of Roehampton)  email
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Short Abstract

This paper looks at the changing place and placing of the Maze/Long Kesh. It does this by examining the official tours of the site that are unscripted narratives by an explicitly neutral official tour guide.

Long Abstract

This paper looks at the changing place and placing of the Maze/Long Kesh. It does this by examining the official tours of the site that are unscripted narratives by an explicitly neutral official tour guide. Unlike the general scripting and construction of the tourist's gaze, the Maze/Long Kesh tours take shape from the visitors themselves, and the memories and recollections of time spent incarcerated there during the Troubles as they are recounted to the tour guide. In this way, the Maze/Long Kesh visit is an ever-emerging non-tourist activity, one that evolves through the visits. And yet, these nostalgic 'unscripted' events, for all their prohibitions on recording and restricted government-approved access, are staged in their authentic and sanitized preservation of the past. This paper examines the current Maze/Long Kesh tour in detail, using this everchanging event to engage with the theorization of dissonant heritage, and to critique the notion of the tourist's gaze. This dark heritage venue is subject to further change as it is currently prepared to become a popular open tourist attraction with a set script and charging structure.

Tourism and transformation in the Masurian Lake District, Northeast Poland.

Author: Hannah Wadle (University of Manchester)  email
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Short Abstract

Using ethnographic observations from different spheres of tourism in Masuria, Northeast Poland, this paper shows, how post-Cold-War transformations are interrelated with tourism dynamics and can be identified in/as cultural landscapes, leisure practices, tourist-local encounters, and tourism places.

Long Abstract

This paper discusses selected aspects of post-Cold-War transformation in the Masurian Lake District, which are all strongly interrelated with tourism, mainly from Poland and Germany. I wish to argue that especially in peripheral, touristic areas of Central and Eastern Europe we cannot view processes of transformation without taking into account tourism geographies, cultures, encounters, and places.

In the course of my presentation I will introduce my audience to four ethnographic snippets from different socio-cultural spheres of tourism in Masuria, which I have studies throughout my fieldwork and which lead to my argument: The field of German tourism to Masuria, historically rooted in the affiliation of Masuria with East Prussia until 1945, illuminates the transformation and diversification of cultural landscapes. The realm of sailing tourism, a leisure practice cultivated also during Socialism, draws attention to the bodily, sensory and performative nature of negotiating changing economic, political, and material post-socialist life realities. A look at the local perception and encounter of sailors and German visitors elucidates the impact of tourism for local world views, ideas of the transformed post-socialist world, and expectations for the future. Lastly, the attempts of place-making and un-making in a small village/ tourism resort give insights into a complex biotope of power and agency, in which tourism has been and is the common, but ambivalent driving force for transformations.

Concluding I suggest that post-socialist transformation is a plurality of different dynamics of negotiation, which are often ruled by dualist thinking patterns, and happen transnationally, bodily, in encounter and in place.

Power Relations and Agency in Tourism in a Postcolonial Perspective

Author: Natalia Bloch (Warsaw University)  email
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Short Abstract

The aim of the paper is to analyze intercultural relations and cultural change generated by tourism in a postcolonial power relations context while taking into account the agency and subjectivity of both tourist and their ‘hosts’. The paper is based on fieldwork conducted in India.

Long Abstract

The project I currently conduct, dedicated to power relations and strategies of authenticity in tourism in India, aims to go beyond the tendency in socio-cultural research of analysing tourism to postcolonial countries through the binary opposition of domination and subordination as a source of commodification of culture and instrumentalisation of relations. From the very beginning of social study of tourism, researchers have been interpreting tourism as a form of imperialism (Nash 1978), and tourists as 'the Golden Hordes' that culturally dominate and economically exploit the 'Peripheries of Pleasure' (Turner, Ash 1975).

While power relations inscribed into tourism are undoubtedly part of colonial legacies, this binary approach risks simplification and discursive objectification of both tourists and their 'hosts' by denying them agency and subjectivity. Overcoming this approach will give us insight into complex and dynamic relations taking place between the two groups on the level of everyday interactions. I believe this is possible by combining 'mobile tourism ethnographies' (Haldrup, Larsen 2010) that allow us following tourists' imaginaries and the ways they are confronted with its object, as well as the ways those who are imagined deal with the expectations towards them, on the one hand, with analytical concepts developed within postcolonial theory - such as hybrid identities, Orientalism, self-Orientalisation or mimicry - on the other.

The aim of the paper is to show both visitors and the members of visited communities as skilled players who - although trapped in power relations - employ varied and nuanced strategies in fulfilling their own needs.

The Uses of Tourism: Political Economic Analysis of the Tourism Destination in Postcolonial Goa, India

Author: Raghuraman Trichur (California State University, Sacramento)  email
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Short Abstract

This paper analyzes how tourism shapes the trajectory of development in post-colonial Goa, India. The paper will firstly, assess how tourism development emerges as a response and sustains the continued dominance of merchant capital in Goa. Secondly, explore how the discourse of tourism (re)locates Goa within the post-colonial Indian nation.

Long Abstract

The development of a tourism destination is a process of producing spaces, constructed by historically contingent political economic practices and cultural discourse. The tourism destination is both, a representation of space and space for representation. It is a space saturated by power and depending on the context, in the words of Henri Lefebvre, "a stake, the locus of projects and actions deployed as specific strategies, and hence the object of wagers on the future." Approached from this perspective, a close reading of the tourism destination and its associated discourses is particularly revealing. The specific manner in which touristic services are produced and consumed; the discursive construction of the tourism destination; and, the manner in which members of the 'host population' interact with the tourism destination provide a commentary on the historical developments within the society in which it is located.

In this presentation, I will analyze the articulation of the tourism destination and its related discourses in Goa since its liberation from Portuguese colonial rule and its inclusion within the post-colonial Indian nation in December, 1961. The focus of this presentation is twofold: firstly, to assess how tourism development in post-colonial Goa emerges as a response and in fact sustains the continued dominance of merchant capital in Goa. Secondly, I will explore the manner in which the discourse of tourism development has aided in (re)locating Goa within the popular imagination of the post-colonial Indian nation and contributes to the expansion of the Indian state's hegemonic control over the Goan society.

Cultural tourism and geopolitical conflict in the Buddhist heritage of Lumbini, Nepal.

Author: Kalyan Bhandari (University of the West of Scotland)  email
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Short Abstract

This paper looks into the politics of Buddhist heritage at Lumbini and shows how it is slowly becoming a dissonant heritage because of the geopolitical race between India and China.

Long Abstract

My paper explores the clash of international politics in the Buddhist heritage of Lumbini in Nepal. Listed as a World Heritage Monument in 1997, Lumbini has recently seen the collision of international geopolitics, notably between India and China. The development of Lumbini began in the late 1960s as a UN project. However, the realisation of goals set up in the original Master Plan has been abysmally slow. Acknowledging this, in 2011 a Chinese NGO came forward to develop Lumbini as a premier tourist destination with a proposed investment of £3 billion, allegedly funded by the Chinese government. The Chinese initiation has created an uneasiness on the part of India because Lumbini is less than 4km away from the Indian border. On the contrary, the increasing presence of Buddhist associations affiliated with the Dalai Lama is a cause of concern for China, as Nepal is seen as a 'gateway' to Tibet. The proposed plan is viewed as an example of the increasing geopolitical race in the region. There has also been strong international lobbying to secure the UN endorsement of this project. However, this has been prevented and the UN Secretary General had to cancel his visit to Lumbini on two occasions owing to street protests and strong media lobbying against it in Nepal and in India. In this paper, I will delve deeper into this case and try to explain the intricacies of international geopolitics, Buddhist heritage and religious tourism in Lumbini.

This panel is closed to new paper proposals.

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