گردشگری قومی و بازنمایی فرهنگی
|کد مقاله||سال انتشار||تعداد صفحات مقاله انگلیسی||ترجمه فارسی|
|142||2011||25 صفحه PDF||سفارش دهید|
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Publisher : Elsevier - Science Direct (الزویر - ساینس دایرکت)
Journal : Annals of Tourism Research, Volume 38, Issue 2, April 2011, Pages 561–585
The representation of minority culture is central to ethnic tourism development. However, only limited attention has been paid to cultural representation in ethnic attractions. This research examines representations of multiple ethnic cultures in the Yunnan Ethnic Folk Villages, China. The perspectives from four key groups of stakeholders—governments, park managers, employees and tourists—are analyzed in the paper. Recognizing representation of ethnicity as a political process capable of reflecting and reinforcing power relations in society, it is argued that cultural hegemony is perpetuated in tourism representation. Also, stereotypical conceptions of minority people are both reinforced and challenged by representations in ethnic tourism.
Ethnic tourism is used by many governments for economic and cultural development (Henderson, 2003, Walsh and Swain, 2004 and Yea, 2002). It also assists ethnic minorities in showcasing their culture and reviving their traditions (Santos and Yan, 2008, Swain, 1989 and Swain, 1990). However, while ethnic tourism has the potential to bring economic and social benefits, it can also adversely impact the culture and sense of identity of ethnic groups (Oakes, 1997, Picard and Wood, 1997 and Smith, 1989). Although there is substantial literature documenting the impacts of ethnic tourism, limited research has been devoted specifically to cultural representation in ethnic attractions (Bruner, 2005). This paper examines representations of multi-ethnic cultures in an ethnic theme park: Yunnan Ethnic Folk Villages (YEFV) in Yunnan, China. A conceptual framework is developed and employed to explore the relationships among the park, minority cultures, and ethnic tourism, to compare the perspectives of multiple stakeholders, and to address challenges associated with cultural representation and ethnic tourism.
نتیجه گیری انگلیسی
Since 1978, China has undergone unprecedented change, moving from a planned economy to a socialist market economy. The state has initiated a series of strategies to forge national unity and ethnic harmony. Ethnic tourism has been used as a mechanism to alleviate poverty and integrate minorities into the dominant society since the 1980s (Oakes, 1998 and Shih, 2002). Minority groups have been gradually incorporated into tourism through the commoditization of ethnicity—the production and consumption of ethnic goods and ethnic ways of life. Many standardized and performance-oriented ethnic theme parks have been built to educate the public about the history and culture shared in an imagined Chinese community throughout the country (Dong & Li, 2006). The consumption of ethnic culture is not only driven and shaped by market needs, but is also subject to changes in political and cultural climates. Thus, on the one hand, the selection of culturally significant themes and representation of ethnic diversity depend on the socio-economic framework in which cultural tourism exists. Ethnic representation, on the other hand, can be a powerful political instrument in shaping a collective Chinese nationalism or legitimising a dominant regime. This paper has investigated cultural representation in an ethnic theme park and tourism impacts on cultural authenticity. The general challenges identified are not unique to the study site but, in fact, are common in places where socio-economic and power imbalances are large and cultural traditions are being developed for tourism. A conceptual framework was designed to examine how minority cultures are presented to the public. Four key groups of stakeholders—governments, park managers, employees, and tourists—were identified in the case studied as foci of analysis. These stakeholders differ not only with respect to the influence they wield, but also in regard to the positions that they hold on cultural display and tourism promotion. As a product of the socialist market economy, YEFV is borne out of complex exchanges, competitions and collaborations between these stakeholder groups. The representation of ethnic landscapes conveys multiple, different and even competing ideologies. The site is filled with tensions about the authoring and marketing of culture, which reveals how dominance and resistance between the powerful state and capital and the less powerful ethnic individuals within society is expressed. The park affords examples of the tensions between dominance and resistance, themes that have been discussed in a number of studies (Nyiri, 2006, Swain, 1989 and Wall and Xie, 2005). These authors have argued that tourists are interested in minority culture and heritage in China, whereas ethnic groups are either passively or actively resisting the representation of their culture for the sake of tourism revenue alone (Su & Teo, 2009). Their main concerns are over cultural hegemony and the relations between cultural preservation and tourism development. Representation is a key concept for revealing how cultural hegemony is attained and maintained (Lefebvre, 1991). Oakes (1998) argued that external capital originating from the majority Han, and supported by the state, has overtaken small-scale indigenous tourism businesses and incorporated minority people into the broader labor and commodity markets. The dominant group can exert influence and control over the minority groups through manipulation of representation. The representation of ethnicity reflects a contested selection of what various stakeholders think should be presented to consumers. The ultimate choices contribute to the creation of public memory that shapes understanding of the place and people (Waitt & McGuirk, 1996). YEFV is full of latent conflict. Hegemony is perpetuated in representations of minority culture. Through the representation of “otherness,” the powerful are able to construct hegemonic discourse, and reinforce their values and orders (Cresswell, 1996). The state and capital can shape ethnic landscapes for political and economic interests in the course of tourism development. Meanwhile, the less powerful can also use representation to contest hegemonic discourse. Minority employees are not passive receivers of the dominance imposed by the state and capital. They show resistance by refusing to perform certain heavily modified shows or quitting their job. They are increasingly demanding equal rights and negotiating for more job benefits. They are also reviving their traditional customs and practicing indigenous religions behind the direct gaze of the state and tourists. As a means of attaining hegemony, representations serve different agendas of particular groups in expressing symbolic meanings and defining or reinforcing their identities (Jackson, 1989). Hegemony is readjusted and re-negotiated constantly in the cultural discourse (Gramsci, 1971). The inherent power imbalance between the state, entrepreneurs and ethnic groups shapes tourism practices of minorities and determines the public discourse of ethnic identity. YEFV serves as a good example for understanding tourism and Chinese nationalism. Similar to many cultural attractions in developing countries, YEFV is constructed not only in response to the requirements of cultural tourism but also to the needs of internal domestic politics (Bruner, 2005). The desire for nation building and economic development has been emphasized by park authorities. The park caters primarily to a domestic market rather than foreign tourists and serves national political purposes. Most of Yunnan’s ethnic groups have a history of conflict and subsequent negotiation with the Chinese government (Swain, 1990). Strengthening unity among ethnic groups is the essential objective of China’s ethnic policy (Lee, 2001). Designed as an educational center, YEFV showcases an official version of minority peoples and their cultures. It demonstrates ethnic harmony by portraying minorities as “happy” groups united in a socialist “harmonious” society. The significance of YEFV in national identity building is considerable. As China is rapidly being transformed from a communist country “serving the people” to an entrepreneurial state, the boundary of commoditization and politicization in tourism and other industries is blurred (Su and Teo, 2009 and Yang and Xu, 2004). Commoditization allows the state, through a public-private partnership with tourism corporations, to employ the power of bureaucracy and capital to “secure the economic foundations of its hegemony through promoting the economic interests of subaltern classes and thereby consolidating their support” (Jessop, 1982, p. 151). Economic benefits generated through commoditizing minority culture can help peripheral places such as Yunnan catch up with the pace of development in China’s eastern coastal region. Tourism commoditization thus spawns a coalescence of consent from the majority and gains legitimacy for the producers of ethnic tourism (Su & Teo, 2009). Cultural commoditization naturalizes the discourse of ethnic tourism development in China and becomes a hegemonic mechanism of control of tourism space (Su & Teo, 2009). Under the new market criteria, the visitor has become the focus of the park’s activity: everything from the physical layout to the choice of exhibition and cultural shows to organization of festivals and tourist events is assessed in terms of how it will appeal to potential visitors. The original purposes of the park, preservation and representation of culture, and education of the general public, are now subordinate to an array of commercial activities. Its function has been twisted to fit perceived demands, most of which are arbitrarily chosen by the government or park authorities themselves, and which often have no connection with the original core objectives for the site. In keeping with the new market-driven spirit, the park is forced to justify its existence by proving its profitability. With the active encouragement of government, park management is much more interested in classifying and segmenting the public and meeting the diverse needs of visitors. The real forms of ethnic culture are condensed into a superficial performance show akin to a product manufactured in an assembly line (Su & Teo, 2009). Although the increasing commercialism and capitalism has raised concerns with a minority of tourism stakeholders, the majority has mainly focused on market expansion. Ethnic minorities tend to be under-represented in tourism management and, as a result, they have lacked the power to control exhibition content and interpretation (Smith, 2003). Operation of ethnic attractions and even the interpretation of exhibitions are often left in the hands of non-ethnic people who may not understand fully the displayed culture and traditions (Hsieh, 1999 and Xie, 2003). In the case studied, the representation of minority culture has been strongly influenced by the government and Han managers who select the cultural products and direct the tourists’ gaze. Thus, the images of the “exotic other” through the vehicle of tourism are loaded in favor of collective middlemen’s needs (the government and entrepreneurs). Although most employees are chosen from the relevant minorities from the remote ethnic regions, they have little say in presenting and interpreting their culture. The culture presented is not determined by the authentic source of the culture, but by powerful stakeholders, usually Han. Therefore, cultural representations do not exist in isolation but are intertwined in a broad social, political and economic context in which cultural images are continuously produced and consumed. Historical, political and cultural discourses influence how minority people are represented in contemporary tourism attractions. A central challenge in ethnic theme parks is the way of reconstructing ethnic pasts in the present through staged representations. As China has shifted from a command to a market economy, the lives of minority people have changed rapidly. The signs of traditional culture are fast disappearing. In fact, some tourists complain that minorities are losing their exotic image and “they are not like they used to be.” The image of a primitive and exotic world is ruined in the view of the tourist by use of modern devices such as cell phones and iPods. Tourism is often seen as a catalyst of change in the ways people perceive themselves and others (Stronza, 2008). As ethnic identity is represented, perceived and reinvented through “the tourist gaze” (MacCannell, 1984 and Urry, 1990), acculturation might happen with the intrusion of tourists, consumerism and commoditization of culture (McLaren, 1997). Commodities, although desired by many, are seen as a corruptive force among indigenous peoples (Reed, 1995). Hosts may lose their cultural identity as they adopt the new lifestyles and then begin to act and think like tourists (Stronza, 2001). In the case of YEFV, many minority employees are attracted to materials in the modern world and they are eager to change their identity and adapt to the mainstream life of Han Chinese. The growth of ethnic tourism modifies many of the qualities traditionally associated with regions and people through identity re-creation brought by rapid commercial development and cultural adaptations induced by contrived attractions and interactions between visitors and hosts (Smith, 1989 and van den Berghe, 1994). Ethnic tourism allows Chinese urbanites to seek temporary reprieve from large crowded cities. Seeking the sublime and exotic minority life is a trend common among middle-class consumers. Peripheral regions like Yunnan have been imagined as a mysterious frontier and ethnic groups are portrayed as “primitive” living a “pre-modern” and “backward” life. YEFV constructs simplified and standardized versions of an imagined “primitive” world of minority peoples to satisfy metropolitan tourists’ yearning for the entertaining, unusual and exotic. However, culture, ethnicity and tradition are not static but dynamic (Hitchcock, 2001). One of critical challenges in the park is the focus on the primitive as opposed to a balanced representation of pre- and post-modern life. Cultural exoticism draws tourists, yet there are countervailing forces from the government and market to promote political, economic, and cultural integration of minority groups into a mainstream culture. The contradictions between development and preservation and between cultural exoticism and modernity are intensified in ethnic tourism. YEFV, although controversial and not fully authentic, is a powerful cultural institution and has significant influence on ethnic tourism development in the region (Jiang, 2005 and Yang and Xu, 2004). It is inevitable that incomplete representations of ethnicity will occur in staged settings but, with greater care and sensitivity, and with greater input from the bearers of the cultures that are displayed, the authenticity of presentations can be enhanced. Further research is required to explore strategies to promote more authentic tourism representation and discourage the perpetuation of cultural stereotypes. There is, in particular, a need for longitudinal research on tourism impacts on cultural representation and socio-cultural changes in ethnic minorities.