Click the star to add/remove an item to/from your individual schedule.
You need to be logged in to avail of this functionality.

Accepted Paper:

Tourism industry "made in" South Omo. A ethnographic glance at a g-local semiformal sector in southwestern Ethiopia  
Marion Langumier (Université Paris Nanterre)

Paper short abstract:

This paper investigates the backstages of cultural or ethnic tourism taking place in southwestern Ethiopia. It explores the work chains by which urban professionals provide tours thourough the politically marginalized Omo valley agro-pastoralists intended for the gaze of the international travelers.

Paper long abstract:

As Meles Zenawi put up plans for the economic development of Ethiopia in the 2000 decade, the distant and peripheral administrative district of South Omo became a major site for cultural tourism, with international travelers as a target.

While the plans of the developmental state benefitted flourishing national tour companies operating from the capital, it also created jobs locally. In Jinka, South Omo regional capital, state-produced "guide associations" aimed at promoting job creation for young (male) urban dwellers. They did not include pioneering guides who were already in the business and tended to be critical, side-workers and intermediaries (drivers, brokers, interpreters), nor suppliers (in fuel, food and accomodation). More than this, state-led plans had hardly included visited socities, agro-pastoral mobile communities inhabiting the lower Omo valley. Today their English-speaking members are at best relegated to a lower status, limited by the cultural identity they represent, as local guide who deal with jobs sub-contracted by town guides.

Based on a nine-month ethnography in southwestern Ethiopia, I will offer a detailed account of the work chains and the stakes of inclusion and exclusion (in terms of gender, ethnicity and Ethiopian identity) by which international tourism happens in South Omo.

Documenting the backstage of tours intended for the tourist gaze (Urry 1990), I will draw on Anne Doquet's notion of the touristic scene as an "arena" involving distincts parties. Debord's thoughts on the "Society of the Spectacle" (1967) will provide additional clues in order to grap Ethiopians' response and adaptation to consumption societies.

Panel Anth23
Tourism and the future - performances, expectations and resistance
  Session 1 Wednesday 31 May, 2023, -