Envisioning Eden: Mobilizing Imaginaries in Tourism and Beyond

Envisioning Eden: Mobilizing Imaginaries in Tourism and Beyond
Noel B. Salazar
Berghahn Books, November 2012 [paperback version]
(Vol. 31, New Directions in Anthropology)

As tourism service standards become more homogeneous, travel destinations worldwide are conforming yet still trying to maintain, or even increase, their distinctiveness. Based on more than two years of fieldwork in Yogyakarta, Indonesia and Arusha, Tanzania, this book offers an in-depth investigation of the local-to-global dynamics of contemporary tourism. Each destination offers examples that illustrate how tour guide narratives and practices are informed by widely circulating imaginaries of the past as well as personal fantasies of the future. The author reveals how local guides in Yogyakarta and Arusha insure the continued reproduction and localization of tourist fantasies, but they also use the privileged contact with foreigners to foment their own imaginations of “paradise on earth.” The book focuses on the human mechanics of globalization, cosmopolitan mobility, and the role of the imaginary in giving people’s lives meaning, demonstrating essential ways in which ethnographies of tourism and travel contribute to ongoing theoretical and methodological debates about the local–global nexus.


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