We examine tourism as a social contest in which opposing groups compete to determine the meaning of tourism. People recreate opposing categories as part of this process, and we seek to examine the ways in which these contradictions are central to the formation of local evaluations of tourism. PLEASE NOTE. In order to maximise the number of papers accepted for this panel and to encourage discussion, ALL papers on this panel are e-papers. There will be no presentation of individual papers at the start of the panel; instead there will be a short overrall summary of the papers followed by discussion in which paper givers can respond and speak to their papers. Consequently we strongly encourage all those attending this panel to try to read the e-papers in advance although we welcome those who wish to attend who have not been able to do so.
This panel will discuss the different types of social contests that are enacted through tourism. Tourism and tourist sites can become locations of power struggles and contestations between different social groups. In the course of such struggles people create and utilize a variety of oppositions in seemingly contradictory ways, such as global/local, authentic/commercialised, traditional/modern etc. While it is clear that anthropologists cannot unproblematically apply such dichotomies, it is also clear that these and other dichotomies are often continuously recreated in disputes within communities engaging with tourism as they contest its implications and future. Rather than seeking to explain away such contradictions, we need to see them as being at the heart of the process by which local evaluations of the tourist process are formed. The local debates that arise in and around tourism development, while creating tensions on the ground, ultimately inform the experience of living in a tourist destination. In this sense, tourist sites are locally experienced and constituted through these oppositions that are themselves produced and reproduced through debates and contests over tourism development. We invite papers that discuss tourism sites and locations where competing discourses meet, resulting in a contest for definitions, economies, agencies, and democratic participation. We especially welcome papers that stimulate a discussion on how people produce, reproduce and negotiate these oppositions that place at stake notions of morality, belonging, place, authenticity, legitimacy and ethics, and that explore how debates involving such concepts in the tourism context illuminate wider social crises, such as socio-economic differentiation.