Accepted Paper:

Enter the tourism-dispositif: human/environment interaction and its consequences for a small island ecology  
Carsten Wergin (Ruprecht-Karls-University Heidelberg)

Paper short abstract:

The paper takes an anthropological perspective on the 'tourism-dispositif' of Rodrigues Island whose resources are adapted to the demands of the global tourism industry. I present the discursive and non-discursive practices in the management, waste and conservation of the local environment.

Paper long abstract:

This paper takes an anthropological perspective on the 'tourism-dispositif' of the island of Rodrigues (Republic of Mauritius) whose resources are adapted to suit the demands of the international tourism industry. I use Foucault's notion of "dispositif" (1978) as further developed by Bührmann and Schneider (2008) to account for processes that influence the formations of the island's natural and cultural resources as key sites of a socio-political struggle for recognition. The tourism-dispositif on Rodrigues Island involves processes of naming, framing, and translating fought out between residents, experts, and transnational bodies such as the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP). Fundamental problems to the small island economy of Rodrigues are a lack of industrial development and, related to this, a high unemployment rate. Those are to be tackled through tourist promotion. But tourism not only boosts the economy. For example, it changes the self-perception of the local population and its willingness to openly oppose political decisions taken on the 'mother-island' Mauritius. Furthermore, current debates on sustainable development and heritage preservation as key elements of a successful tourism policy transform notions of governance, environmental protection, and political contestation on the island. Questions to be addressed therefore also include the management and entitlement, waste and conservation of the local environments, as well as the oscillation of a political mindset between Rodriguan dependency and autonomy from Mauritius.


Andrea D. Bührmann and Werner Schneider (2008) Vom Diskurs zum Dispositiv. Bielefeld: Transkript.

Michel Foucault (1978) Dispositive der Macht. Berlin: Merve.

Panel W125
Imagined resources and governance of community