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Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:Imaged or imagined? Cultural representations and the 'tourismification' of peoples and places
Author:Salazar, Noel B.ISNI
Year:2009
Periodical:Cahiers d'études africaines
Volume:49
Issue:193-194
Pages:49-71
Language:English
Geographic terms:Kenya
Tanzania
Subjects:Maasai
tourism
culture
images
cinema
Abstract:The various ways in which peoples and places around the globe are represented and documented in popular media have an immense impact on how tourists imagine and anticipate future destinations. Even though tourism discourses take a variety of forms, visual imagery seems to have the biggest influence on shaping tourists' pre-trip fantasies. Based on ethnographic fieldwork, this paper illustrates the dynamic processes of cultural tourismification in Tanzania's so-called 'northern circuit'. In many parts of the world, famous nature documentaries, mainstream Hollywood entertainment, and semi-biographic films about this region have become fashionable icons for sub-Saharan Africa as a whole, often reinforcing a perfect nostalgic vision of the black continent as an unexplored and time-frozen wild Eden. While tourism representations have overwhelmingly focused on wildlife, an increasing demand for 'meet-the-people' cultural tourism is increasingly bringing local people into the picture. Interestingly, locals are commonly portrayed while engaging in vibrant rituals or in inauthentic, staged poses wearing celebrative costumes. As an example, the paper discusses how the romanticized image of the virile Maasai warrior, dressed in colourful red blankets and beaded jewellery, has led to a true Maasai-mania that is profoundly affecting the daily life and culture of Maasai and other ethnic groups in Tanzania and Kenya. Bibliogr., notes, ref., sum. in English and French. [Journal abstract]
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