Global Tourism

Cultural Heritage and Economic Encounters

Edited by Sarah M. Lyon, E. Christian Wells

Hardback - £93.00

Publication date:

15 March 2012

Length of book:

320 pages


AltaMira Press

ISBN-13: 9780759120914

Global tourism is perhaps the largest scale movement of goods, services, and people in history. Consequently, it is a significant catalyst for economic development and sociopolitical change. While tourism increasingly accounts for ever greater segments of national economies, the consequences of this growth for intercultural interaction are diverse and uncertain. The proliferation of tourists also challenges classic theoretical descriptions of just what an economy is. What are the commodities being consumed? What is the division of labor between producers and clients in creating the value of tourist exchanges? How do culture, power, and history shape these interactions? What are the prospects for sustainable tourism? How is cultural heritage being shaped by tourists around the world? These critical questions inspired this volume in which the contributors explore the connections among economy, sustainability, heritage, and identity that tourism and related processes makes explicit. The volume moves beyond the limits of place-specific discussions, case studies, and best practice examples. Accordingly, it is organized according to three overarching themes: exploring dimensions of cultural heritage, the multi-faceted impacts of tourism on both hosts and guests, and the nature of touristic encounters. Based on ethnographic and archaeological research conducted in distinct locations, the contributors’ conclusions and theoretical arguments reach far beyond the limits of isolated case studies. Together, they contribute to a new synthesis for the anthropology of tourism while simultaneously demonstrating how emerging theories of the economics of tourism can lead to the rethinking of traditionally non-touristic enterprises—from farming to medical occupations.
Lyon (Univ. of Kentucky) and Wells (Univ. of South Florida) deliver a well-put-together collection of essays centered on the anthropology of tourism. Not since Valene Smith and Maryann Brent's edited Hosts and Guests Revisited (CH, Apr'02, 39-4654) has such a volume been written that captures the essence of tourism using ethnographic methods. The 14 chapters are situated within three parts: "Cultural Heritage," "Economic Encounters in Touristic Spheres," and "Redefining Tourism's 'Impact.'" One of the best things about this work is the empirical support for the assertion that self-commodification of tourist goods and services is indeed a dual process, "both an economic response to the global expansion of the service sector and a politically motivated expression of identity." In addition to offering various interesting case studies, the collection seeks to bridge anthropology with the field of tourism....The edited volume will be a good addition to library collections specializing in the anthropology of tourism. Summing Up: Recommended.