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Tourism, Ethnicity and the State in Asian and Pacific Societies

Tourism, Ethnicity and the State in Asian and Pacific Societies

Michel Picard
Robert E. Wood
Copyright Date: 1997
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  • Book Info
    Tourism, Ethnicity and the State in Asian and Pacific Societies
    Book Description:

    The expansion of international tourism is changing the relationship between ethnic groups and states around the globe. Yet tourism’s importance for the understanding of ethnicity in the modern world has been generally neglected within the field of ethnic studies. This pioneering volume investigates how international tourism development, state policies of ethnic management, and the active responses of local ethnic groups intersect to reshape ethnic identities and ethnic relations in Asian and Pacific societies. It analyzes the ways in which the very meaning of ethnicity and culture are being contested and reworked in the wake of tourism’s impact. Following an introduction that explores the close but often ambivalent relationship between tourism promotion and state ethnic policies, individual contributors examine tourism’s varied effects in China, Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand, Indonesia, and the island Pacific in rich ethnographic detail.

    eISBN: 978-0-8248-6525-2
    Subjects: Business, Anthropology

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-vi)
  3. Preface
    (pp. vii-xii)
    Michel Picard and Robert E. Wood
  4. 1 Tourism and the State: Ethnic Options and Constructions of Otherness
    (pp. 1-34)

    Tourism is the world’s largest industry. The travel and tourism industry is the largest employer in the world and is expected to account for more export earnings than any other industry by the turn of the century (Garrison 1989, 4). Recognition of these economic facts has led to increasing scholarly and professional interest in tourism, with a proliferation of journals, scholarly associations, and tourism studies programs. Yet it is possible that tourism’sculturalimportance is as great as its economic importance, partly because tourists are reaching, in ever increasing numbers, virtually every corner of the globe and partly because tourism...

  5. 2 Ethnic Tourism in Rural Guizhou: Sense of Place and the Commerce of Authenticity
    (pp. 35-70)

    In a recent review of scholarship on the relationship between tourism, culture, and development, Robert Wood (1993, 48) posed the question: “Do the processes of modernization and development necessarily entail the ‘passing’ of the ‘traditional’ societies of Asia, Africa, and Latin America and a global process of cultural homogenization in the direction of the West?” Countering the assumption—most often heard among Western tourists themselves—that tourists are the “shock troops” of Western modernity as it steamrolls across the world’s remaining areas of cultural diversity, Wood argues that tourism is often appropriated by locals in their symbolic constructions of culture,...

  6. 3 Commodifying Ethnicity: State and Ethnic Tourism in Singapore
    (pp. 71-98)

    Any travel brochure invariably promises potential tourists a variety of sensory pleasures in the sights, smells, food, people, and geography of a particular place. It acts as a cultural broker that eases the foreigner’s visit, offering solutions to the mundane hassles of travel: accommodation, money exchange, appropriate clothing, visa requirements, customs regulations, and so on. However, travel brochures generally leave out information such as internal conflicts that may plague a country, communication difficulties, intercultural misunderstandings, health hazards, traffic snarls, and tourist traps.

    In similar ways, the state represents the repressed in tourism. Tourists are seldom aware of the agency of...

  7. 4 Culturalizing Malaysia: Globalism, Tourism, Heritage, and the City in Georgetown
    (pp. 99-127)

    In February 1993, Kee Phaik Cheen, the chairperson of the tourism committee in the Malaysian state of Penang, announced that $400,000 (Malaysianringgit) would be allocated from the state budget for restoration work on the “historic” Syed Alatas mansion in Lebuh Armenian (Armenian Street) in downtown Georgetown. It was also revealed that this sum would be augmented by several agencies: the federal government, which allocated a grant of $600,000 under the Sixth Malaysia Plan; the Penang Municipal Council, which set aside $200,000; and the German and French governments, which provided technical assistance for the restoration works. The main reason given...

  8. 5 A Portrait of Cultural Resistance: The Confinement of Tourism in a Hmong Village in Thailand
    (pp. 128-154)

    Empirical research on the consequences of tourism-linked development in host societies in Thailand has not yet reached a stage of maturity. Despite the relative abundance of publications and articles attempting to apply general models to particular situations—often with the intention of confirming some theoretical model rather than genuinely accounting for a specific group or society (see, for example, Dearden and Harron 1994)—the hypothetico-deductive approach has yet to fullfil its promise. More open-ended and inductive approaches, based on intensive fieldwork over time, are needed. By presenting both original data and interpretations linked to the dynamics of the trekking tourist...

  9. 6 Touting Touristic “Primadonas”: Tourism, Ethnicity, and National Integration in Sulawesi, Indonesia
    (pp. 155-180)

    In 1980 Pierre van den Berghe observed that tourism is generally superimposed on indigenous systems of ethnic relations and can profoundly affect indigenous ethnic hierarchies. Only recently, however, have Pacific scholars begun to explore seriously the salience of van den Berghe’s observations for countries promoting tourism as a strategy for nation-building (see Adams 1991, Kipp 1993, Picard 1993, Wood 1984). For instance, Wood (1984) discusses the politics of tourism in Southeast Asia, noting that a government’s promotion of tourism not only can heighten the cultural self-consciousness and ethnic pride of indigenous groups but also can suppress those groups that are...

  10. 7 Cultural Tourism, Nation-Building, and Regional Culture: The Making of a Balinese Identity
    (pp. 181-214)

    Bali’s fame and fortune is due to its success as a tourist destination. Not only has tourism made Balinese dances and ceremonies famous worldwide, but the promotion of their culture as a tourist attraction has also conferred on the Balinese a special prominence within the Indonesian nation. Furthermore, most foreign observers appear to agree that, unlike other regions of Indonesia, the island of Bali has retained the vitality of its traditional culture in the modern world and many of them willingly credit tourism for providing the Balinese with an incentive to nurture their cultural heritage. Such a flattering opinion not...

  11. 8 Consuming Cultures: Tourism and the Commoditization of Cultural Identity in the Island Pacific
    (pp. 215-250)

    This chapter explores the relationship between state-promoted tourism and local perceptions of cultural identity in some Pacific Island societies. A considerable literature has documented the growing touristic appeal of “staged authenticity” and cultural performances (Adams 1990, Greenwood 1977, Jolly 1982, MacCannell 1976, Picard 1990, Volkman 1982, 1984) that accompany the emergence of ethnic tourism (Dearden and Harron 1992, Harron and Weiler 1992, Smith 1989, Wood 1984). As Jameson described a landscape transformed into an object and appropriated as property by a tourist gazing through a camera, so other authors have argued that culture is commoditized—reified and transformed into a...

  12. Contributors
    (pp. 251-252)
  13. Index
    (pp. 253-259)