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The Political Economy of Enchantment: Formations in the anthropology of tourism

Selwyn, Tom (2007) 'The Political Economy of Enchantment: Formations in the anthropology of tourism.' Suomen Antropologi: Journal of the Finnish Anthropological Society, 32 (2). pp. 48-70.

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Abstract

The paper presents one view of the state of the art of the anthropology of tourism. It approaches this broad aim by, firstly, looking at the subject’s foundations. The precursors of the field lead us, secondly, to a reading of five seminal ethnographic monographs, written during the course of the past twelve years or so, in which tourism plays a central role. The purpose here is to identify common thematic threads that provide us with the basis upon which to draw the contours of a plausible map of the field. This is followed, thirdly, by looking at a select collection of more recent work in order to trace the ways in which the subject is presently developing and likely to move in the future. The notion that underpins the paper, and which is explored in the opening pages, is enchantment. Following its use by various sociological and anthropological writers (including Weber, Gellner, Bennett, Gell, and others) it is argued both that the tourism industry itself depends in large measure on processes of enchantment and also that the idea is a powerful hermeneutic to frame studies of tourism. however, it is additionally argued that processes of enchantment are always located within political and economic contexts and thus that the fuller definition of the subject matter of the anthropology of tourism is the political-economy of enchantment.

Item Type: Articles
SOAS Departments & Centres: Faculty of Arts and Humanities > Department of Anthropology and Sociology
Depositing User: Tom Selwyn
Date Deposited: 26 Jul 2012 10:39
URI: http://eprints.soas.ac.uk/id/eprint/14071

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