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Tourism Imaginaries

Tourism Imaginaries: Anthropological Approaches

Noel B. Salazar
Nelson H. H. Graburn
Copyright Date: 2014
Edition: 1
Published by: Berghahn Books
Pages: 304
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  • Book Info
    Tourism Imaginaries
    Book Description:

    It is hard to imagine tourism without the creative use of seductive, as well as restrictive, imaginaries about peoples and places. These socially shared assemblages are collaboratively produced and consumed by a diverse range of actors around the globe. As a nexus of social practices through which individuals and groups establish places and peoples as credible objects of tourism, "tourism imaginaries" have yet to be fully explored. Presenting innovative conceptual approaches, this volume advances ethnographic research methods and critical scholarship regarding tourism and the imaginaries that drive it. The various authors contribute methodologically as well as conceptually to anthropology's grasp of the images, forces, and encounters of the contemporary world.

    eISBN: 978-1-78238-368-0
    Subjects: Anthropology

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-viii)
  3. List of Illustrations
    (pp. ix-x)
  4. Acknowledgments
    (pp. xi-xii)
    Noel B. Salazar and Nelson H. H. Graburn
  5. Introduction. Toward an Anthropology of Tourism Imaginaries
    (pp. 1-28)
    Noel B. Salazar and Nelson H. H. Graburn

    As with many other activities—reading novels, playing games, watching movies, telling stories, daydreaming, etc.—tourism involves the human capacity to imagine or to enter into the imaginings of others. Stories, images, and desires, running the gamut from essentialized, mythologized, and exoticized imaginaries of Otherness to more realistic frames of reference, often function as the motor setting tourism in motion (Amirou 1995). Marketers eagerly rely on them to represent and sell dreams of the world’s limitless destinations, activities, types of accommodation, and peoples to discover and experience. Seductive images and discourses about peoples and places are so predominant that without...

  6. Part I. Imaginaries of Peoples

    • Chapter 1 Toward Symmetric Treatment of Imaginaries: Nudity and Payment in Tourism to Papua’s “Treehouse People”
      (pp. 31-56)
      Rupert Stasch

      This chapter seeks to advance the study of the imaginaries that structure cultural tourism by arguing for symmetric attention to perspectives of tourists and visited people. Such symmetry brings out more sharply what tourism imaginaries are, and what they do. I argue for such an approach through the example of encounters between international tourists and Korowai of Papua, Indonesia. My specific focus is exoticizing stereotypes that Korowai and tourists hold about each other, and these stereotypes’ expression in concrete actions.

      There are several levels to symmetry’s value. One is that by juxtaposing different populations’ stereotypy, each side’s ideas stand out...

    • Chapter 2 Scorn or Idealization? Tourism Imaginaries, Exoticization, and Ambivalence in Emberá Indigenous Tourism
      (pp. 57-79)
      Dimitrios Theodossopoulos

      Scorn and idealization represent two dominant orientations in the exoticization of indigenous communities that host tourists. These two orientations also appear as dominant tropes in the tourism imaginary (Salazar 2010), shaping the negotiation of expectations during the tourism encounter (Skinner and Theodossopoulos 2011). In this chapter, I argue that these two types of exoticization often coexist in parallel in the tourist imagination, producing contradictions that set in motion the imagination of local hosts. The host communities gradually develop their own versions of exoticization, as they categorize and stereotype the tourists. Thus, at any given moment, parallel layers of exotization participate...

    • Chapter 3 Deriding Demand: Indigenous Imaginaries in Tourism
      (pp. 80-102)
      Alexis Celeste Bunten

      As Australia’s largest and most successful cultural tourist attraction and the Australian domestic tourism industry’s largest employer of Aboriginal people, Aboriginal-owned Tjapukai Aboriginal Cultural Park is the premier destination to experience Tjapukai culture.¹ As such, visitors look to this attraction to fulfill their expectations for “Aboriginal people” with whom they are already somewhat familiar through the imaginaries of the Indigenous Other. One visitor described the Tjapukai experience:

      While I was in Australia, I was looking for an appreciation of Aboriginal culture . . . What I wanted was someone to explain to me how Indigenous people lived, what they thought...

    • Chapter 4 Myth Management in Tourism’s Imaginariums: Tales from Southwest China and Beyond
      (pp. 103-124)
      Margaret Byrne Swain

      “Imaginariums,” a playful term used to name places or destinations that engage the imagination, like museums or toy stores, is applied here to tourism sites where personal imaginings and institutional imaginaries dialectically circulate (see Salazar and Graburn, this volume). My intention is to locate tourism imaginaries, building on Noel Salazar’s understanding of imaginaries as “socially transmitted representational assemblages that interact with people’s personal imaginings and are used as world-making and wordshaping devices” (2012: 864). Connections between local tales and global imaginings (Burawoy 2000) underlie cosmopolitan world-making potential for mythical tourism (Buchmann 2006) to express universal hero archetypes in diverse geocultural...

    • Chapter 5 Tourism Moral Imaginaries and the Making of Community
      (pp. 125-144)
      João Afonso Baptista

      “Our place,” the British manager of an internationally distinguished ecolodge located at the shore of Lake Niassa in Mozambique said, “is 100 percent sustainable and ethical, and part of the revenues goes directly to the communities around here.” He had offered me an informal tour into the environmental technologies of the hand-built lodge. A few hours of conversation later, he commented on tourists’ criticisms and how he tried to find solutions. After tourists complained about the indiscretion of the waterless toilets, for example, he engineered a system that directed a stream of water through the bowl but changed nothing about...

  7. Part II. Imaginaries of Places

    • Chapter 6 The Imaginaire Dialectic and the Refashioning of Pietrelcina
      (pp. 147-171)
      Michael A. Di Giovine

      Since the inception of tourism studies in the 1970s, the notion of tourist imaginaries has factored into numerous research projects, management plans, and tourism models—though to varying degrees, directness, and methodological rigor. In general, these and other studies have helpfully revealed how tourism is both an individual and collective endeavor; how various groups imagine the same sites differently, and employ different strategies for defining the place in accordance with their varied ideologies; how such notions are diffused across geographic, linguistic, and cultural barriers; and ultimately how places are “made” not solely in the physical sense, but in the varied...

    • Chapter 7 Temporal Fragmentation: Cambodian Tales
      (pp. 172-193)
      Federica Ferraris

      This chapter is conceived as an exploration of the notion of tourist imaginaries revolving around a specific host-guest relationship: the one between Italian tourists and Cambodia as a tourism destination. I argue that the imaginary emerging from tourist accounts of Italian tourists’ trips and the one emerging from brochures of Italian tour operators is mainly formed around an idea of Cambodia as a past suspended by the present, following Johannes Fabian’s (1983) notion of “allochronism” (i.e., the location of a spatially distant Other in a time of the past), which entangles a denial of coevalness (i.e., the destination lives in...

    • Chapter 8 The Imagined Nation: The Mystery of the Endurance of the Colonial Imaginary in Postcolonial Times
      (pp. 194-219)
      Paula Mota Santos

      Portugal was the first European nation to embark on the colonial project (1415) and the last to dismantle it (1975). The colonial project was not only long-lived but also widespread. At its height the Portuguese colonial empire encompassed territories in South America, East and West Africa, and Asia (the Indian subcontinent, Australasia, and the Far East). Colonial rule is thus an important element in Portugal’s history.

      Located in Coimbra, central Portugal, Portugal dos Pequenitos (Portugal of the Little Ones) is a theme park of circa 2.5 hectares in which the whole of Portugal as a colonial empire is represented through...

    • Chapter 9 Belize Ephemera, Affect, and Emergent Imaginaries
      (pp. 220-241)
      Kenneth Little

      This is the story of a chance reencounter with an insignificant thing, a beer coaster, picked up at a beach party in Walliceville, Belize, and then found months later while working through the pages of my field notes.¹ The coaster, stuck between two blank pages of a notebook, and my reencounter with it, had an impact; it carried a charge that worked on me, as Marcel Proust (2003: 28) said things worked on him, “somewhere beyond the reach of the intellect.” The sensations the object aroused in me organized as an unstable presence as they conjured a contact in the...

    • Chapter 10 Envisioning the Dutch Serengeti: An Exploration of Touristic Imaginings of the Wild in the Netherlands
      (pp. 242-259)
      Anke Tonnaer

      The saying that “God created the world, but the Dutch created Holland” has ongoing appeal. Indeed, some regard the Dutch attitude toward the landscape in the light of a moral geography; the Dutch landscape in particular is seen as “the outcome of a series of dramatic interactions between man and nature” (Zwart 2003: 108). The question of how we relate to our environment is not merely a theoretical discussion; it has long been a passionate topic for public debate and geopolitical management by politicians, ecological conservationists, and project developers (Zwart 2003). The question gains particular pertinence through a paradoxical development:...

  8. Afterword. Locating Imaginaries in the Anthropology of Tourism
    (pp. 260-278)
    Naomi Leite

    We anthropologists seem to have a penchant for using our terms of art in idiosyncratic ways. Culture, power, religion, ethnicity, transnationalism, kinship, even tourism—core concepts like these take on subtly and sometimes dramatically different shades of meaning from one scholar’s work to the next. Part of the variation is due to theoretical perspective, of course; in the writings of Lewis Henry Morgan and Clifford Geertz, for example, “culture” is scarcely the same concept (Kuper 2000). Other variations stem from the desire that our work reflect emic categories, and such divergent usages are typically prefaced with an explanation. But with...

  9. Notes on Contributors
    (pp. 279-282)
  10. Index
    (pp. 283-292)