Educating Tradition by Tourism: Company, Authenticity, and Colonialism

Educating Tradition by Tourism: Company, Authenticity, and Colonialism

On this contribution, Karoline Guelke discusses how research of tourism will help college students overcome widespread misperceptions of different cultures as static and unchanging. Throughout one in all my first years of instructing, a pupil got here as much as me after a lecture about tradition. He informed me that he strongly disagreed with the

On this contribution, Karoline Guelke discusses how research of tourism will help college students overcome widespread misperceptions of different cultures as static and unchanging.

Throughout one in all my first years of instructing, a pupil got here as much as me after a lecture about tradition. He informed me that he strongly disagreed with the notion that individuals had been affected by their tradition; somewhat, he had at all times thought of himself to be rebellious and consciously performing in opposition to social norms. His feedback mirror a perception I’ve seen often amongst college students: folks elsewhere are ruled by tradition, whereas I’m an unbiased agent performing in accordance with my private preferences. (Later within the semester, the coed mirrored that perhaps his riot was influenced by Canadian cultural concepts about individuality and masculinity, a worthwhile perception that has not been as widespread in my courses as I hoped.) One other widespread false impression is the view of different cultures as static and unchanging. Though textbooks now emphasize company and the dynamic elements of tradition far more, many college students nonetheless maintain very binary concepts of the timeless conventional versus the fashionable and dynamic, the place they find themselves.

With a view to convey a deeper understanding of tradition in undergraduate instructing, I consider it is very important deal with these misconceptions repeatedly and to supply a variety of examples that encourage college students to broaden their views. There are a couple of methods by which the subject of tourism has supplied a fascinating topic to look at and problem simplistic notions of tradition, whereas additionally permitting college students to attach private experiences. My analysis about tourism growth was performed pre-pandemic in 2014 – 2015 in Ollantaytambo, a small neighborhood positioned between town of Cusco and the well-known Inca website Machu Picchu.

Not not like vacationers, many college students arrive in an undergraduate anthropology class with an curiosity in international folks and locations; nevertheless, recognizing and reflecting on their very own tradition will not be a problem they anticipate. In Tourism Research, a lot consideration has been given to the impression of vacationer presence and image2the critique of the “vacationer gaze” (Urry 1990). The now basic movie Cannibal Excursions (O’Rourke 1988), depicting interactions between European and American vacationers and native folks in Papua New Guinea, supplies glorious illustrations of vacationer encounters that unsettle this notion and clearly place tourism as a particular cultural observe. Equally, the newer movie Framing the Different (Kok and Timmers 2012) reveals the encounter between Dutch vacationers and members of the Mursi tribe in Ethiopia, emphasizing the observe of images and its impacts. Given the distinguished function images performs in college students’ lives immediately, this matter has been efficient for eliciting discussions within the classroom and prompting college students to establish and analyze their very own cultural behaviours.

The binary between conventional and trendy is a typical trope in vacationer discourse about tradition. Like many different rural areas within the world South, Ollantaytambo has broadly been marketed as an genuine village the place guests can “step again in time.” An American backpacker I interviewed commented:

“Yeah, we needed to expertise that right here in Peru.. the genuine tradition of people that reside  with out all that stuff – expertise and that. So it’s disappointing while you come into city and also you see all these pizza locations and visa indicators and, properly (laughs), however then once more, we do    like an excellent web connection!”

Guests’ expectations are met in several methods. Though folks in Ollantaytambo stopped utilizing thatched roofs in favour of extra sturdy tile and metallic many years in the past, they began utilizing thatched coverings over market stalls as a result of “vacationers like them.” Drawing on the dialogue of various kinds of authenticity (e.g. Wang, 1999) will help unsettle the psychological binary betweenImage 1 conventional versus trendy and “faux” versus actual. College students are often crucial of tourism and concentrate on the difficulty of cultural loss. They don’t have any hassle regarding Dean MacCannell’s idea of “staged authenticity” (1976), which means a real unique. Right here it’s helpful to supply counter examples that present tradition as dynamic and folks as lively brokers, mirrored in Erik Cohen’s idea of “emergent authenticity” (1988). A basic instance are the dances on Bali that had been invented for vacationers within the Fifties and 60s; over time, these “faux” dances took on that means for native folks and have since been built-in into the cultural repertoire. In Peru, non secular ceremonies similar to choices to the earth (despachos) are often carried out for vacationers. Alberto, an area tour information, informed me that he by no means practiced such rituals when he was younger, but after studying to do despachos for vacationers, he turned all in favour of his personal traditions. Regularly he began performing a few of these rituals together with his household, displaying how tourism can result in better validation and revival of cultural practices.

Associated to this, I’ve used an task that asks college students to share a journey photograph and a brief evaluation drawing on various kinds of authenticity. This functioned properly for serving to college students see complexities and totally different attainable interpretations and likewise allowed them to share one thing private. Utilizing on-line studying programs, this has labored properly for each on-line and on-campus courses. In my e book, I additionally talk about totally different types of inequality within the context of tourism. Discourse evaluation is necessary for analyzing broader politics of illustration. A vacationer vacation spot isn’t just a bodily location; it’s repeatedly constructed by tales. Controlling the dominant representations is a means of wielding energy, and postcolonial critiques have highlighted the persistent representations of the International South as unchanged and uncivilized. One other one in all my assignments asks college students to research on-line textual content and pictures of a vacationer website, whether or not a metropolis, area, monument, or pure attraction, which has prompted deeper reflections of historic variables and energy inequalities.

As we are actually within the second 12 months of the pandemic and face violent conflicts, journey could seem much less related and much more privileged than earlier than. But it is very important critically have interaction with tourism, which is in spite of everything a cousin of anthropology, equally rooted in colonialism and imperialism. In my expertise the topic also can facilitate pupil engagement and a extra in-depth understanding of the complexities of tradition.

Works cited

Cohen, Erik. 1988. “Authenticity and Commoditization in Tourism.’ Annals of Tourism Analysis 15:371-386.

Kok, Ilja, and Willem Timmers, administrators. 2012. Framing the Different. Breda: Copper Views Movie


MacCannell, Dean. 1976. The Vacationer: A New Concept of the Leisure Class. New York: Schocken


O’Rourke, Dennis, director. 1988. Cannibal Excursions. Australia: Dennis O’Rourke and Laurence J.


Urry, John. 1990. The Vacationer Gaze: Leisure and Journey in Modern Societies. London:

Sage Publications.

Wang, Ning. 1999. “Rethinking Authenticity in Tourism Expertise.” Annals of Tourism

Analysis 26(2):349-370.


Dr. Karoline Guelke is a Sessional Lecturer within the Departments of Gender Research and Anthropology on the College of Victoria. She is the creator of The Living Inca Town: Tourist Encounters in the Peruvian Andes, within the Educating Tradition collection.


Related News

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked with *

Latest News

Most Commented