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Cover Art
Author Van den Berghe, Pierre L.

Title The quest for the other : ethnic tourism in San Cristóbal, Mexico / Pierre L. Van den Berghe.

Published Seattle : University of Washington Press, [1994]


Location Call No. Status
 UniM Giblin Eunson  338.47917275 VAND    AVAILABLE
Physical description xi, 169 pages, 32 unnumbered pages of plates : illustrations ; 24 cm
Bibliography Includes bibliographical references (pages 157-164) and index.
Contents Ch. 1. Introduction: Why Study Ethnic Tourism? -- Ch. 2. Methodology: The Interface of Anthropology and Tourism -- Ch. 3. The Setting: Ethnic and Class Relations in San Cristobal and the Development of Tourism -- Ch. 4. Tourism in San Cristobal: The Physical Milieu -- Ch. 5. The Tourists: Statistical Trends -- Ch. 6. The Tourists: Twenty-five Vignettes -- Ch. 7. Tourism as Ethnic Relations: Tourists, Tourees, and Middlemen -- Ch. 8. Tourism and Social Change: What Went Right?
Summary Every year, millions of tourists scan the world for exotic locales where they can escape their own world and encounter the other. One such place is San Cristobal de las Casas, in Chiapas, Mexico, where you can observe German tourists struggling with chopsticks in a Chinese restaurant, to the accompaniment of pseudo-Chinese music played on an African thumb piano by a black American from San Francisco. While eating, diners may purchase bows and arrows from Lacandon Indians pushed out of their native forests by the hum of chain-saws and advancing herds of Brahman cattle. San Cristobal is one of the frontiers of ethnic tourism where the privileged, moneyed, and leisured meet the poor, struggling, and exotic. Pierre van den Berghe, who first visited San Cristobal in 1959, found that between his visits in 1977 and 1987 the town had moved from seeing a small daily volume of mostly back-pack tourists to accommodating a daily flow of hundreds of tourists of all descriptions. He decided to investigate the impact of tourism in the area, and the result is the first study of its kind dealing with Mexico, as well as the first book-length study of ethnic tourism - tourism motivated by an active search for the "ethnically exotic". Van den Berghe skillfully combines interviews, statistics, observation, and analysis to produce a vivid and insightful picture of the interaction between tourists, the indigenous Maya population, and the ladinos who act as the middlemen between the other two groups. The Quest for the Other contains many implications for tourism policy, both specifying the conditions of success and warning of potential dangers. San Cristobal is, in many ways, a best-case scenario. Almosteveryone is better off, if only marginally, through the development of tourism. "Ethnic tourism", writes the author, "not only debases and destroys what it touches, it also renews and transforms it in profoundly creative ways. The staged authenticity of tourist shows can sometimes become the authentic stage of a cultural revival. At the very least, one should suspend negative value judgments as to the impact of tourism on indigenous cultures".
Subject Tourism -- Mexico -- San Cristóbal de Las Casas.
Indians of Mexico -- Mexico -- San Cristóbal de Las Casas -- Social life and customs.
ISBN 029597317X (alk. paper)