The Anthropology of Tourism
Tourism and Globalization
 The establishment of tourism as a legitimate
topic for anthropological study is a relatively
recent development.
 Theron Nuñez’s “Tourism, Tradition, and
Acculturation: Weekendismo in a Mexican
Village” (1963) is often credited as the earliest
tourism-related article in American
anthropological literature.
 He suggested that tourism may be studied
within the general framework of acculturation.
Tourists act as “donors” of culture to regional
• Hosts and Guests (1977) a seminal anthology
which collected work from numerous scholars
• It proved extremely influential in the
development of an anthropological system of
tourism studies
• Since the publication of Hosts and Guests
there has been an explosion of interest in
tourism within the anthropological communit
Theory and Themes
• The anthropological literature on tourism has
been dominated by ethnographic descriptions
of niche variants of travel
• Studies of tourism’s effect on local
• Few scholars have focused on developing
comprehensive theoretical models
Theory and Themes
 The most influential approaches in current
anthropological thinking are H.H Graburn’s
construction of tourism as a personal
transformative experience and Dennison Nash’s
view of tourism as a form of modern
 Graburn chose to analyze tourism as a symbolic
superstructure (ie. Interactions between people)
 Nash has elected to focus his attentions on
tourism’s political and economic aspects
Theory and Themes
 Dean MacCannell’s research on identity
construction and “staged authenticity” (1973,
1976) is perhaps more valid to our studies than
any other…he was a SOCIOLOGIST
 Staged Authenticity : making a modern
interpretation seem authentic
 Bad examples include “period” towns like Old Town
Sacramento which provide only a veneer of
 Good examples can get quiet elaborate like Lincoln's
New Salem outside of Springfield, Ill
History of Tourism
• The elite have always traveled to distant parts
of the world to see great buildings and works
of art, to learn new languages, to experience
new cultures, and to taste different cuisines
• Historically, we can trace such activities back
to Rome, but without a doubt earlier
civilizations participated in “leisure travel”
History of Tourism
• European tourism may have originated with
the medieval pilgrimage
• Primarily for religious reasons
• The pilgrims in the Canterbury Tales saw the
experience as a holiday
• The term itself being derived from the 'holy
day' and its associated leisure activities
History of Tourism
• By the 17th century. elite often undertook a
Grand Tour of European countries
• The sons of the nobility and gentry were sent
upon an extended tour of Europe as an
educational experience
• Thus the history of touring…
History of Tourism
• Leisure travel, as we think of it today, is
associated with industrialization
• Initially, this applied only to the owners of
production, the economic oligarchy, the
factory owners, and the traders
• As the middle class expanded and economic
growth spread through the society, the
working class began to also take advantage of
leisure time
Tourism Types
Ethnic Tourism
Cultural Tourism
Historical Tourism
Environmental Tourism
Recreational Tourism
Examples of special interest tourism
Business Tourism
Convention Tourism
Culinary / Gastronomic Tourism
Cultural Heritage / Ethnic Tourism
Dark Tourism
Environmental / Eco-Tourism
Farm Tourism
Genealogy Tourism
Health / Spa Tourism
Religious Pilgrimage Tourism
Sex Tourism
Space Tourism
Sports Tourism
Volunteer / Service-Based Tourism
Tourism, a systems approach
Geopolitics, Economics, pop. Movement
Local culture, internal dynamics
Local microadaptation
• Describe the differences in these two beach
front destinations. Why is the one so popular
and the other not so popular. Its in the photo
small details.

The Anthropology of Tourism