B4


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Large-scale tourism in small-scale societies 
Convenors:
Patrick Neveling (University of Bergen)
Carsten Wergin (Ruprecht-Karls-University Heidelberg)
Stream:
Series B: Political economy/development
Location:
TM144
Start time:
11 April, 2007 at 14:30 (UTC+0)
Session slots:
1

Short Abstract:

The panel addresses holiday destinations where large numbers of tourists encounter local communities with dense networks in the realms of kinship, culture, economy, and politics. Papers from all areas are welcome. A focus on the notion of scale from a historical perspective is especially encouraged.

Long Abstract

In global tourism marketing, remoteness is one of the best selling images for holiday destinations. Be they small island paradises, sparsely populated mountain, desert, or forest areas - seclusion from the hassle of the age of mass communication on the one hand, and the promise of the 'native's cosiness' on the other attract large crowds each year. From an anthropological perspective these destinations all share certain features: Local societies are small in scale, characterised by dense networks in the realms of kinship, culture, politics, and economy whereas tourism is not only large scale in terms of arrival numbers but also diverse in terms of origin and nationality.

Our panel is set to address this special encounter of large scale tourism in small scale societies from various angles: How does large scale tourism affect and transform those various local practices? How do tourists become entangled in local networks? To what extent does tourism contribute to and alter strategies of economic development on a local or national level? In what sense are tourists the "global subject" of development strategies by local individuals?

We welcome papers from all areas and encourage a focus on the notion of scale from a historical perspective that takes on issues dating back to the origins of large scale tourism in small scale societies.

Accepted papers:

Author:

Urte Undine Froemming (Free University Berlin)

Paper short abstract:

This paper addresses various aspects of aesthetic modernity which have led to the worldwide attraction for, and conquest of, Mount Kilimanjaro. Examinations focus on the consequences for the local population as well as the arrangements formed between local inhabitants and international tourists.

Paper long abstract:

Over the past decade, the melting glaciers of Kilimanjaro have become a media symbol for the effects of global warming. Large-scale tourism, with its air travel and energy-hungry hotel facilities, have become recognized as major aspects of human influence on the climate. In western perceptions, Mount Kilimanjaro is an epitome of overwhelming beauty, representing wilderness and adventure to the more than 12,000 international tourists who climb the mountain each year. This paper addresses various aspects of aesthetic modernity which have led to the worldwide attraction for, and conquest of, Mount Kilimanjaro. Further examinations focus on the consequences for the local population - such as the disappearance of traditional mountain spirit rituals, and the appropriation of religious footpaths to produce the Coca-Cola Route for mass tourism - as well as the arrangements formed between local inhabitants and international tourists.

Author:

Marc Morell (University of Bergen)

Paper short abstract:

This paper explores the use of small-scale in the selling of a particular neighbourhood in Ciutat de Mallorca. I will argue that commodified small-scale givens, such as crafts' heritage and neighbourhood life style, are more about real estate speculation than cultural tourism.

Paper long abstract:

The Passeig per l'Artesania [Crafts Boulevard] is one of the latest urban tourism products to be found in the Historic Centre of Ciutat de Mallorca / Palma, the capital city of the Balearic Islands (Spain). It is the major outcome of an urban renewal scheme that takes place in the heart of a neighbourhood where the red-light district once stood. This themed scenario about the crafts' past of the city officially aims to attract locals as well as a particular kind of tourists: city breakers eager to meet traditional Mediterranean neighbourhoods, the paradigm of small-scale picturesque urban settings. However, although the Passeig has received important public funding since it was first conceived, it is a big failure.

Based on an ongoing ethnographic field research, this paper argues that the Passeig, together with the neighbourhood tag that surrounds it, is no other than a heritage smoke screen hiding a parallel large-scale business, that of the property market, which takes place beyond the tourism bate of its crafts past and of its small-scale idiosyncrasy.

In this specific case, I will show how commodified small-scale givens, such as crafts' heritage and neighbourhood life style, are more about real estate speculation than cultural tourism.

Author:

Juraj Buzalka (FSES Comenius University)

Paper short abstract:

The paper investigates the way a once proscribed religious-national group can become valued for its 'authentic tradition', 'distinctive culture', and 'closeness to nature' and how this change fits well with the demands of tourism, as well as policies of and discourses on national minorities.

Paper long abstract:

Analyzing one ethno-revivalist ritual, the paper investigates the way a once proscribed religious-national group can become a commoditized national minority valued by toursits and locals for its 'authentic tradition', 'distinctive culture', and 'closeness to nature'. It points out wider social processes in Poland and Eastern Europe that lie behind the maintenance of boundaries between Roman Catholic Poles and Greek Catholic Ukrainians and argues that the organic narrative on religious-national cultures fits well with the demands of tourism and heritage preservation, as well as with Europe-wide and nation-state policies and discourses on national minorities. More generally, the paper illuminates the relationship between ethno-tourism and social change and the ambivalence it causes among ordinary Catholics in south-east Poland.

E

Author:

Francis Kulirani (Anthropological Survey of India)

Paper short abstract:

This paper examines the community development angle of tourism generating situations in context of small scale societies in North East India and Canadian aboriginal communities.

Paper long abstract:

Small scale societies of tribes and aboriginals are safeguarded through constitutional measures in India and Canada. In an increasingly globalizing world, small scale societies cannot isolate and insulate themselves from the forces of globalization. There is eagerness to participate in the process on their terms. Through participation the intention is to turn their comparative disadvantage into advantage. In this context tourism is being considered by them as a means to strengthen elements of their traditional culture and conserve the natural resources. The tourism initiatives by the tribes in North East India and aboriginals in central regions of Canada under the brands of ecotourism, cultural and heritage tourism models are examined in this paper. The paper argues the need for an alternative paradigm of tourism policy and planning in the context of small scale societies that has a holistic view of environment, local people, and tourists as interlinked components.

E-paper: this Paper will not be presented, but read in advance and discussed

E

Authors:

Patrick Neveling (University of Bergen)
Carsten Wergin (Ruprecht-Karls-University Heidelberg)

Paper short abstract:

This e-paper introduces some theoretical perspectives and questions related to the concept of scale and its applicability in anthropological research on tourism.

Paper long abstract:

In line with the outline of our panel, in this e-paper we give some of our own theoretical questions and perspectives on scale in relation to anthropological research. This is intended as a more detailed introduction to our ideas for the workshop and as to offer some points of departure for group discussion. The paper investigates the political economy of tourism in relation to different subfields:

- political and cultural networks

- concepts and politics of development

- various arenas of cultural production and reproduction.

These aspects are integrated into the more general framework of the interrelationship between large and small scale social structures. The paper is meant as a thought-provoking opener leaving a first set of questions for further exploration in the workshop.

E-paper: this Paper will not be presented, but read in advance and discussed