Whose culture is it anyway?
Las Vegas (ultimate representational tourism) major tourism destination; has more than
20 of the world largest hotels.
• Simulacra—a particular form of representation; what we think of as authentic no
longer is meaningful.
• “Tradition of Reinvention” –not about tradition and what its roots are; but have a
tradition of redefining itself and reinventing itself.
Las Vegas as simulacrum
Simulacra—sign that refers to no external reality. A representation of something else
that has been stretched so far that has lost that meaning. In las vegas there’s a
pyramid, or Cesar’s palace is a representation of Egypt. So you don’t expect to see
authenticity. The intent is not authenticity, but something else, it is entertainment. It’s a
playful kind of representation of these places.
For example, we have wood floors, and venire wood floors so there’s plastic under the
wood. Now there is plastic laminate floors. So theres a picture of wood but its not really
The casinos are like enclaves to keep you in them.
“Tradition of Invention”
1. (1905-1940s) Railway town to wild west –men doing construction. Symbol of the
wild west (cowboys) gambling by men, casinos. State legalizes gambling, and
the state liberalizes divorce and they used this as a tourism attraction
2. (1940s- 1980s) Exotic mob and organized crime town— gambling is attracting
the mob and organized crime. So mob money moves in.
3. (1989-2000s) Corporate mega-spectacles and properties – shopping brings a lot
of money. 10 of the top hotels in the world.
4. (2000s+) Ultimate performance and shopping enclaves –biggest shows, more
money with enclaves—theres more money with guests than there are with
observers, so keeping someone in a casino or on a boat. Postmodern tourism
• Somewhat cynical (mocking)
• No search for authenticity
• See the unreality of everything
• “no longer care” (entertain/fun)
Ethnic and cultural tourism
• Whose culture is it?
• What are some issues? For whom?
Tradition and modernization
Commoditization—selling things. That culture is being sold and has an exchange
value to it.
Museumization—when a group sees itself as a representation, it sees itself as an
ethnic way of life.
1. The garifuna of Honduras—they themselves don’t benefit from the enclaves
2. The ngadha of Indonesia
3. The maya of belize
4. The massai of Kenya
Control representations (troubling stereotypes) and experiences –garifuna dance
of the buttox. Peformed at lakes, funerals, social parties. The garifuna are unhappy with ethnic tourism. The dance has been commercialized. They are
associated with a sexualized dance (troubling ste