SIEF2011 10th Congress: Lisbon, Portugal.
17-21 April 2011
Tourism and the production of ethnographic places
Location Block 1, Piso 1, Room 46
Date and Start Time 18 Apr, 2011 at 11:30
The tourism creates ethnografic landscapes. In this sense ethnography becomes a means for changing the places into "ethnographic commodities". This process, the touristification of the ethnography, engages local people and can involved the ethnographer.
One of the great interests of tourists is the search for cultural difference is the typical heritage of the region or the place they visit. Through these interests, in the European context, the countryside visitors usually have a a romantic vision of the ethnographic subject. Usually when this occur the place and the people of the destination take an active role in making tradition or become more 'ethnographic'. This means that the relation with tourism produces places. The people of those places take their vision places and adjust or reorder their place, their memories or their story in a merchandising way - an ethnographic reification. Through these processes, the 'adequate' material or immaterial culture is chosen and negotiated. Who chooses? What is chosen? How is it done? What are the practical proposals and meanings? How are the locals and tourists involved?
The understanding of the identity reconstructions is done by taking into account the actors or practices involved, or negotiated with or for tourism.
Sometimes, in the place of 'the other' we find the ethnographer and his/her authority. It becomes a triangle reconstruction: local people, tourists and ethnographer. In this sense, Malcolm Crick's analysis can not be ignored.
This panel is closed to new paper proposals.
Mythical narratives like constructions of tourism identities: the "Picasso route" in the city of A Coruña
Within the limits of a specific ethnographic community, different mechanisms are possible to create a tourist standing in the local landscape heritage. In the case presented here, is analyzed as a mythical narrative about art-route will generate tourist interest.
Cultural creations shaped by mythic narratives, many times, become the discursive structures that organize the tourism practices of a particular community. In the case presented here of the Galician city of A Coruña, I have observed this process of constructing narrative about the life and work of artist Pablo Picasso, as the city is proud of the great painter from Malaga stay for five years after youth. Thus, about cultural imaginary experiences felt by the young Picasso, the tourism of this city has a Route Picasso and other tourism product marketable to the outside to attract many visitors.
In this concise paper try to answer two central questions: ¿what is sold on this route? And ¿what has cultural significance of Picasso in the local artistic field?
In-depth field work for several years in this city have been discovered as the mythical-symbolic of the archetypal figure of the bohemian who plays Picasso, has permeated all the artistic significance locally. The life and work of Picasso becomes a benchmark of artistic authority and a common place of symbolism that is embodied in the speeches of local artist, in the internal structures of the group shows in the mechanisms of domestic legitimation in works by artists, fetishists and metonymy in the space of the city that obsessively highlights its symbolic figure.
Turning a place into a fairytale: renegotiating local identity through the Ogulin Festival
The paper discusses how a literary place is grounded within a real landscape and how new symbols of identity are brought to life by means of a festival. It is based on ethnographic fieldwork conducted in the Croatian town of Ogulin, the birthplace of Ivana Brlic Mazuranic, a writer of fairytales.
This paper discusses how an imagined place, based on readings of literary texts, is grounded within a real landscape, and how new symbols of local identity are produced in this process and brought to life by means of a festival. It is based on ethnographic fieldwork conducted in the town of Ogulin in continental Croatia. In order to transform Ogulin into a unique cultural tourism destination, tourism officials have decided to promote the town as the birthplace of the famous early 20th century writer of fairytales, Ivana Brlic Mazuranic. They have branded the whole area as the "Homeland of Fairytales" and stressed the formative potential of the environment in the making of genius, in spurring the writer's creativity. In turn, the place has been remade in accordance with contemporary interpretations of the imagery from her fairytales. The main arena in which this fantastic heritage is materialized and connected to the town is the Ogulin Fairytale Festival, an international manifestation initiated in 2006, which stages children's plays and street theatre performances.
The author analyzes ways in which literary geography becomes part of the experience of the place and in which people visiting or living in it embody these strategies of identity in their practices. Her intention is to explore how images of "the fantasyland" relate to other layers of identity. She focuses on tensions between different agents of cultural politics and on ways in which conflicting perceptions of Ogulin are negotiated, situated within the place and performed on the festival stage.
Casinos et musées dans une ville « Patrimoine Mondial » : en Chine, Macao est un concentré de mémoire européenne
Macao présente une conjugaison d'espaces touristiques très particulière, qui intègre un centre historique Patrimoine de l'Humanité, un réseau de musées et un réseau de casinos. Pour un Asiatique, visiter Macao se traduit par une confrontation avec un concentré de fragments de mémoire européenne.
1. En juillet 2005, le Centre Historique de Macau a été inscrit « Site du Patrimoine Mondial » (le 31ème site en Chine à recevoir cette distinction). Son réaménagement a intégré, à partir de 2005, la stratégie identitaire du gouvernement de Macau. Constitué par un ensemble de bâtiments d'origine, pour la plupart, portugaise, mais aussi chinoise, il permet - en association avec un réseau d'une vingtaine de petits musés - de renforcer la narrative de l'hybridisme cosmopolite de Macau. Tous les textes officiels destinés à la propagande touristique accentuent la dimension multiculturelle de cette espace.
2. Comme ce fut le cas un peu par tout dans le monde, le centre de Macau, en devenant patrimoine a été aussi soumis a un processus de mercadorisation généralisé ("heritage industry") . Cette dynamique, soutenue par la création d'un cadre urbain que renvoi aux concepts d'authenticité et de nostalgie, intègre une filière plus cosmopolite, marquée par l'arrivage de marques globales qui se sont installé dans les anciens édifices maintenant réhabilités. Comme l'a très bien montré Tim Simpson, cet espace permet la recréation, à Macau, d'un style de vie très axé sur les composantes esthétiques de l'identité. A côté des marques globales, le centre de Macau a vu aussi arriver des marques chinoises qu'intègrent, dans une logique de capitalisme global, des éléments stylistiques plus local. Si on peut dire que l'existence du Centre Historique de Macau est indissociable du phénomène touristique, c'est aussi vrai qu'il est devenu un espace où la nouvelle classe moyenne de Macau donne forme à ses nouveaux styles de vie, ce qui le transforme dans un vrai espace de construction identitaire.
3. Vu le contexte d'insertion géographique de Macau, la démarche d'objectification (et de mercadorisation) de l'histoire colonial se traduit, finalement, par une construction d'une image exotique de la ville. Ce qui peut être intériorisée par les habitants comme une composante identitaire, se transforme, pour les touristes venues du reste de la Chine, dans une mise en scène de l'étrangeté européenne.
Tourism destination marketing: second homes in rural areas
The positive and negative impacts that second homes in tourism can cause on local and regional development have been greatly emphasized in the political and academic discourse. Particularly in the most fragile rural areas, sensitive to the impacts of tourism activities, a special attention must be given towards a sustainable tourism development, that needs to be well planned and integrative of the local people's needs, of those of local economic agents and to everyone involved in the tourism destination product, as well as integrative of the main destination resources that constitute its strongest and most distinctive appeal and deserve preservation.
Second homes have additionally created an increasing interest in the rural areas, supported by the recent social, economic and cultural changes, and by the transformation of the countryside itself, factors which have generated a fresh interest in this area for tourism purposes. These dwellings appear more and more as an important element in the landscape transformation and soil usage. At present, second homes are considered as opportunities for regional development and can stimulate the local economy and contribute to the upgrading of rural areas, but also cause impacts and challenges in regional planning, introducing an increasing multifunctionality of rural areas, making management more complex and difficult. The present paper discusses the concept of destination marketing, as well as on its role and potential for sustainable planning and management of a destination, with particular emphasis on the specificity of second homes in rural areas.
Fishing (for) Imraguen: ecology, tourism and patrimonialisation in a national park in Mauritania
The population in the Parc National du Banc d'Arguin, Mauritania - hosts by way of ecotourism – has managed strategically their identity, closing the gap with commonplaces of tourist brochures. A discourse on tradition, linked to the construction of an ecological identity, has been put in place by local populations and tourism operators.
The birth of the ecotourism takes place in 1998 when the PNBA attempts to limit the amount of fishing, regarding the inhabitants of the Park, the Imraguen fisherman's who live in the territory before the PNBA creation in 1976. The introduction of tourism is conceived by the Park as a way to financially compensate the population for the diminished revenue from fishing.
The formalization of tourism and the creation of "traditional" camp sites to host tourists in each village of the Park, has come to disrupt not only the physical landscape of the territory, but also the dynamics between villages and tribes that compose the Imraguen population, with occasional conflicts and disputes. Simultaneously, the creation of cooperatives and the imposition of rules for their management by NGOs (privileged inclusion of women, etc) has accentuated an intra-tribal hierarchy, where the role of women is far from that idealized by NGOs.
Along with the introduction of ecotourism, the recognition of PNBA as world heritage by UNESCO in 1989, took the Imraguen communities to deal with ecological concepts that would be in line with the label of guardians of a planetary ecological heritage place. Therefore, an idea of "pristine" populations isolated in time is a recurrent discourse, characteristic of tourist promotion (the Park being the first of various agents on the ground to do so).
Nevertheless, this notion is contradicted by a recent reality, and this paper goal is, by the use of ethnographic data, discuss identity reconfigurations and the use of ecological discourses among the Imraguen populations.
Nightlife in Lapa (Rio de Janeiro): different practices producing a place
The proposal of this paper is to analyze what results when different groups that frequents every weekend for leisure the streets of the historical region of Lapa are confronted, to its touristic uses and elite circuit.
Since the begging of this century, Lapa's region has suffered many changes. In a process that was put forward by small enterprises and a few specific actions from the government, the scenario suddenly changed: from a central area characterized by non preserved heritage and poor population, Lapa became a huge center of leisure and tourism, with many restaurants, bars, and night clubs. A research made in 2004 by Data/UFF attested that approximately 110.000 people go to Lapa during each weekend; among these 25% are tourists, and these numbers surely have increased during these last years.
But contradicting what was expected by the entrepreneurs, not only tourists and the middle-upper classes frequent the place. People from poor regions in Rio de Janeiro also go to Lapa, for fun or for informal work in the streets. Clearly they are not in the same circuit characterized by expensive samba concerts or fine restaurants, but they remain there marking its own territoriality through specific forms of occupy the space and making a particular representation of Lapa, its history and tradition. What emerges from this different practices and speeches about this same place, and how to face that ethnographically,are the main questions that boosts this paper.
Dead space: place as a destination
What happens to a place when it is labelled as a tourism destination? My argument is that labelling in order to direct mobility suppresses the narratives that bring places into motion. Places become through the narratives that shape them, weaving together the paths of places as they are lived.
A guided stroll through the centre of Reykjavík reveals a place which appears as a dead space in the form of a little used square. Although the place is a former graveyard it is not this original use that imparts a sense of lifelessness. Rather, it is how the graveyard has been covered over so that there are no visible traces of actual people who brought the place to life through their daily activities before they were eventually brought to rest. So, paradoxically, this former place of the dead conveys less life now by the act of covering up the dead. Nevertheless, the square has a name, taken from a man whose statue is located in the centre of it. Occasionally, tourists can be spotted there as guides show them the statue and tell them the story of this particular man, often described as the founding father of Reykjavík. This former graveyard has been labelled as monument; simultaneously it has been stripped of life.
In this paper I will look at what happens to a place when it is labelled with a special focus on tourism destinations. As Sheller (2004) has demonstrated, through labelling the tourism sector aims to mobilise places and bring them to life. My argument is that this directed mobility, on the contrary, suppresses the narratives that bring places into motion. Travelling is a way of narrating life. Thus places become through the narratives that shape them, weaving together the paths of places as they are lived.
"Festivalisation" of a small town in Slovenia: an example of contemporary production of locality
In the contemporary search for visibility, local communities do not rely only on (invented) traditions, but also on new markers of difference. Festivals have proved to be a useful tool for marking uniqueness and providing a context for imagining locality within a wider arena.
Today festivals of various kinds are appearing with rapid speed. The process can be linked with the development of tourism and urban regeneration. As festivals are both attached to a place and with their content also connect it with the wider world, they are nowadays considered a useful tool for branding places. However, while some are produced by professionals, other new (non-traditional) festivals are organised bottom-up. It seems that local inhabitants have joined the game of making "their place" visible by organising festivals.
After the year 2000, when it hosted its first international reggae festival, Tolmin, a town of 3.500 inhabitants in Western Slovenia, has become widely associated with popular music festivals. Following the success of a reggae festival, a metal music festival was introduced into the town. Today the Metal Camp festival is famous throughout Europe. Moreover, other new popular and art festivals have also been added by local associations.
Local inhabitants have recognised festivals as contributing to the liveliness of their town and therefore perceive them through tourism rather than other contexts (e.g. culture, extravagant gatherings, subcultural events etc.). Furthermore, festivals have positioned the town within various imaginary geographies with transnational relevance. As a result, local inhabitants positively identify with events that have suddenly made their place of residence internationally famous.
Making places into tourist destinations: building 'visitability' of the Romanian countryside through online 'visibility'
The paper presents a web-based approach to Romanian rural tourism aiming at identifying the most salient image(s) of the countryside as well as the actors responsible for creating them. The results are based on a hyperlink network analysis followed by content analysis of relevant websites.
The paper presents a web-based approach to Romanian rural tourism. My aim is to identify the most salient image(s) of the Romanian countryside and the actors responsible for creating them. There is a wide variety of institutions and individuals involved in developing rural tourism in Romania: national and international organisations, tour operators, accommodation networks, as well as private businesses belonging to villagers and to non-local entrepreneurs. They all work to attract tourists by creating and marketing destinations, and the web is one of the main arenas for their advertising. However, websites have different degrees of visibility and search engines return results in a hierarchy with apparently the most relevant websites at the top. My first question is therefore what makes some websites more salient than others? The methodology I use is innovative and falls within the area of Webometrics. Knowing that prominent web pages will usually have a high number of in-links (other websites liking to them), with the help of LexiUrl software, I systematically identify and investigate hyperlinks between websites. A set of network diagrams are then created to reveal the websites which have a high degree of centrality and which are considered to be the most visible and dominant. The web pages identified this way are subjected to a qualitative content analysis, looking at which elements of material and non-material culture, and which experiences are being packaged in the tourist offer, while also discussing some of the reasons behind their effectiveness and high online visibility.
This panel is closed to new paper proposals.