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The labour tourism takes: anthropological insights on the tourism industry [Anthropology of Labour Network]
Marc Morell (University of Bergen)
Dan Hirslund (University of Copenhagen)
Don Kalb (University of Bergen)
Network affiliated Panels
Time zone:
Wednesday 22 July, 11:00-12:45, 14:00-15:45

Short abstract:

The expansion of the tourism industry through new horizons of consumption reveals widespread forms of labour exploitation and extraction that have rarely been accounted for in anthropology. This panel encourages the explanation of the labour at large that makes tourism possible.

Long abstract:

Thinking about tourism, and particularly the labour it takes, invites us to consider the challenges posed to anthropology by the societal changes that are currently taking place in Europe and beyond. Tourism is a fast growing global industry and the second major worldwide generator of employment. It constantly expands by unevenly developing new "peripheries of pleasure" while incorporating fresh horizons of consumption, often organised under a colonial and patriarchal tourist gaze. It is against this backdrop of consumption the tourist embodies that this panel focuses on the labour processes that take place within the tourism industry by encouraging a political economy of enchantment, in which one person's leisure is another's labour. Within this capitalistically organised activity, we encounter an intensive labour exploitation, as well as other forms of extraction that capitalise on wider commoned spaces of social reproduction via gentrification and rising housing rents and prices, all of which are reinforced by the recent spread of digital platforms. Together with the severe ecological conflicts caused by the industry, these social inequalities have given rise to the re-politisation of the discussion of tourism, thereby superseding earlier approaches that draw attention to tourism's development, impacts and responses. We will consider papers focusing on labour at large, that is, both at sites of production and social reproduction, by looking at processes of commodification, enclosure, dispossession and gentrification, as well as working conditions, labour regulations, the role of unions and community organisations, and wider class struggles within the tourist industry and its historical development.