Accepted Paper:

Struggling anthropologically and politically with tourism in Central/Eastern Europe: cases from Bosnia and Herzegovina and Montenegro  


Tom Selwyn (SOAS)

Paper short abstract:

The paper draws on involvement by the author in two programmes of work, one in Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH) funded and initiated by the European Commission (EC), the other in Montenegro (MNE) funded and initiated by the British Council (BC), in the field of regional tourism development. The aim of the paper is to identify and analyse the anthropological and political contexts and points of interest in the two cases.

Paper long abstract:

The paper describes and analyses two programmes of research, curriculum development, and institution building work concerned with development of tourism in the Central/East European region. The first was an EC TEMPUS project in BiH designed (a) to train 25 mid career professionals in tourism and economic development and (b) to advise local, entity, national, and international institutions in how appropriately to respond to and encourage tourism. The second is a (continuing) BC project in Montenegro aiming to raise the tourism profile of the city of Cetinje and to explore the regional (including MNE, BiH, Serbia, Kosovo, Albania) tourism of which Cetinje is set.

The ways in which tourism enters economies of the region raises several questions pertinent to the present panel. The first follows from the fact that it is positioned by many authoritative voices (associated with governments, consultants, and international institutions) within a world that is said to be going through economic "transition". Ways of organising tourism, it is commonly argued, needs to respond to new regional and global "market" conditions - in the process leaving behind all traces of socialist modalities of organisation. The second follows. What, precisely, is the nature of this "post-socialist" "capitalist" world into which tourism development, and other kinds of development, are encouraged to take place? Thirdly, coming to the heart of the paper, where do anthropologists fit into the framework of relations between governments, the private sector, international agencies, and the "heritage" that forms the capital upon which the tourism industry is based?

Panel W104
Eastbound: perspectives on tourism in Central and Eastern Europe