Cultural commodification and tourism: a very special relationship

MacLeod, D.V. (2006) Cultural commodification and tourism: a very special relationship. Tourism, Culture and Communication, 6(2), pp. 71-84.

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Abstract

This article concentrates on culture as a commodity: how culture is used to sell a particular destination, and elements of a culture that are sold to visitors and consumed. It draws on anthropological conceptions of culture and compares them to the way destinations have focused on particular aspects of their own cultures and thereby defined the concept. By comparing examples where intensive fieldwork or study has been undertaken, conclusions are drawn relating the types of tourism experienced by a destination to the local use of culture as an asset. It is argued that there is an underutilization of culture by some destinations, and that policymakers and others are missing aspects of culture that could give advantage to certain regions and their local population. Not only does this correspond to their understanding of the concept of culture, but also to their expectations of market demand. The case studies illustrating the points above are based in the following regions: The Canary Islands, The Dominican Republic, and Scotland. The examples draw attention to the process whereby elements of indigenous cultures may become commercially utilized, as well as the relevance of the social organization of tourism to choices and decisions involving commodities and the consumer in specific destinations. These findings suggest a way of understanding the processes that lead to globalized cultural experiences and at the same time ignore the rich and complex diversity of cultures.

Item Type:Articles
Status:Published
Refereed:Yes
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:MacLeod, Dr Donald
Authors: MacLeod, D.V.
College/School:College of Social Sciences > School of Interdisciplinary Studies
Journal Name:Tourism, Culture and Communication
ISSN:1098-304X
ISSN (Online):1943-4146

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