As mentioned in the previous post a new book slum tourism has recently been published with Routledge Pubilications. We are happy to announce that we can offer a 20% discount* on the book to followers of slumtourism.net.
To order the copy with the discount code, simply quote SLUMTOUR12 when placing your order online.
Alternatively, you can print the Slum Tourism flyer (pdf, 1mb in size) and order the book by post.
*Discount code valid till 31/07/2012
Last week a new book on slum tourism was published by Routledge Publications. Edited by Fabian Frenzel, Ko Koens and Malte Steinbrink, it contains both theoretically oriented papers papers as well as more practical case study examples of slum tourism of seven different countries on four continent. In combination with the special issue of Tourism Geographies on slum tourism that was discussed earlier on slumtourism.net , the book provides a comprehensive overview of the current empirical, practical and theoretical knowledge on the subject.
Within the book a critical review of issues associated with slum tourism is provided, asking why slums are visited, whether they should be visited, how they are represented, who benefits and in what way? As such the work promises to offers new insights to tourism’s role in poverty alleviation and urban regeneration, power relations in contact zones and tourism’s cultural and political implications.
1. Slum Tourism – A New Trend in Tourism?
Part 1: Situating Slum Tourism
2. Wanting to Live with Common People? The Literary Evolution of Slumming
3. Beyond ‘Othering’ the Political Roots of Slum-Tourism
4. Slum Tourism: For the Poor by the Poor
5. Competition, Cooperation and Collaboration: Business Relations and Power in Township Tourism
Part 2: Representation of Poverty
6. ‘A Forgotten Place to Remember: Reflections on the Attempt to Turn a Favela into a Museum’
7. Tourism of Poverty: The Value of Being Poor in the Non-Governmental Order
8. Negotiating Poverty: The Interplay Between Dharavi’s Production and Consumption as a Tourist Destination
9. Reading the Bangkok Slum
Part 3: Slum Tourism and Empowerment
10. Favela Tourism: Listening to Local Voices
11. Slum Tourism and Inclusive Urban Development: Reflections on China
12. Poverty Tourism as Advocacy: A Case in Bangkok
13. Curatorial Interventions in Township Tours: Two Trajectories Conclusion
14. Keep on Slumming?
The first ever special issue on Slum Tourism in an Academic Journal will soon be out. Volume 14 issue 2 of “Tourism Geographies” will be titled “Global Perspectives on Slum Tourism” and is completely dedicated to the subject. It contains journal articles on the history of slum tourism, the current state of research in the field, the way it is represented and consumed as well as the ethical debates that continue to surround it. As a whole this is a very welcome addition to the little academic literature that is currently available and we would like to thank “Tourism Geographies” for taking this step to increase the knowledge on the subject.
Although the printed version of the special issue will not be out until May 2012, the articles can already be found and downloaded online. Although all articles will receive a separate post at a later time, below an overview and links to all the articles can be found below.
Slum Tourism: Developments in a Young Field of Interdisciplinary Tourism Research
Fabian Frenzel & Ko Koens
‘We did the Slum!’ – Urban Poverty Tourism in Historical Perspective
Poor but Happy: Volunteer Tourists’ Encounters with Poverty
Slum Tourism: Representing and Interpreting ‘Reality’ in Dharavi, Mumbai
Informal Urbanism and the Taste for Slums
Kim Dovey & Ross King
Mobile Imaginaries, Portable Signs: Global Consumption and Representations of Slum Life
Glimpses of Another World: The Favela as a Tourist Attraction
Encounters over Garbage: Tourists and Lifestyle Migrants in Mexico
A review of “Tourism and Poverty”
Update: The printed version of the special issue is out now.
In an earlier post I discussed a paper written by Evan Selinger, Kevin Outterson and Kyle Powys Whyte that was published by the Boston University of Law. The authors have published another paper on pvoerty tourism, this time focusing on the ethical question of poverty tourism and the difficulties surrounding consent.
They discuss whether it is morally permissible for financially privileged tourists to visit places for the purpose of experiencing where poor people live, work, and play? They discuss some of the pros and cons of poverty and slum tourism and conclude that tourists should only participate in poverty tours if there is a well-established collaborative and consensual process in place, akin to a “fair trade” process. The findings are commendable and provide an opportunity for discussing how to establish what is fair and how often divided communities can benefit. Unfortunately they do not enter this discussion nor how tourists should be able to identify such fair trade processes beyond the establishment of fair-trade poverty tours.
The paper can be downloaded from the homepage of the school of law at Boston University
Selinger, E., Outterson, K. & Powys Whyte, K. (2011) Poverty Tourism and the Problem of Consent. Boston, Boston University School of Law.
Evan Selinger, Kevin Outterson and Kyle Powys Whyte published a paper last month titled “poverty tourism, justice and policy” in which they discuss whether poverty tourism should be subject to specific policy constraints based on moral grounds.
They look at this matter through favela tours in Rocinha, Brazil and garbage dump tours in Mazatlan, Mexico. In their conclusion they argue that slum or poverty tours are a result of complex social relationships that require individual attention and policy research.
The paper can be downloaded from the homepage of the school of law at Boston University and is set to be published in a future edition of “Public Integrity”
Selinger, E., Outterson, K. & Powys Whyte, K. (2011) Poverty Tourism, Justice and Policy. Boston, Boston University School of Law.
In a former post regarding a television programme that involved famous people “living like locals” in the Nairobi slum Kibera for a week I wondered whether this could be a future face of tourism. It turns out a similar experience has already been offered, albeit on a smaller scale.
It is discussed (briefly) in a recent article on domestic slum tourism in North America written by Amanda Grzyb. She gives an example of a “48 hour street retreat” that was offered by a Yoga centre in Toronto. The retreat involved “going into the street without any money and live on the streets for several days… relying on the generosity of the streets to take care of us.” Grzyb recognises this retreat as a form of tourism and discusses it in the context of historical accounts of domestic poverty tourism in North America as well as manifestations of domestic slum tourism in the the current age. In the article she relates domestic slum tourism to societal class boundaries and concludes that “Domestic poverty tourism may or may not involve varying degrees of social conscience, advocacy, and calls for reform, but it is, first and foremost, a commodification of experience that reinforces class boundaries”
The article is part of an academic roundtable discussion on the concept of “Homeless Chic” in the journal “Expositions”. It can be downloaded from the “Expositions” website, or you can follow this direct link to the pdf of the article.
Grzyb, A. (2011) “Homeless Chic” as Domestic Poverty Tourism: Street Retreats, Urban Plunges, and North American Class Boundaries. Expositions, 5 (1), p.pp.55-61.
Bianca Freire-Medeiros recently published an article in the Journal fo Lain American Cultural studies regarding the influence of the film City of God on the way tourists experience the favela (in this case Rocinha) in “real life”. She investigates how experiences are related back to idealised notions that have been taken from the cinematic favela of City of God and looks at the extent to which this gives further legitimacy to such images.
The article can be downloaded from Ingenta connect although unfortunately a subscription is required.
Freire-Medeiros, B. (2011) “I went to the City of God”: Gringos, guns and the touristic favela. Journal of Latin American Cultural Studies: Travesia, 20 (1), p.p.21.
If you have recently seen or published a journal article, book or any other type of publication that involves slum tourism, please let us know so we can make others aware of it.
Janet Thorne recently wrote a professional report on her experiences of cultural tourism in the Gambia. Her findings suggest that these tours bear similarities to slum tours and, similarly to slum tours are promoted with the promise of an insight into “the real Gambia” by certain tour operators and informal tour guides.
Thorne further shows how tourists on package holidays in this mass tourism destination certainly have an interest in such tours. What particularly surprised her on this matter was how similar the interests expressed by tourists in The Gambia were to those in the slum/poverty tourism literature. Among other things, tourists are hoping and expecting to see “everyday life” and have a more “authentic” tourist experience than is offered in general. Tourists are both intrigued as well as shocked by the poverty they see thus partially fulfilling this desire for authenticity.
While written as a more practical report rather than a purely academic work of tourism, the report contains much useful information on these cultural tours. The finding that there is demand from for these kinds of tours among package tourists in the Gambia alone is interesting. The destination is mainly known for its Sun, Sea and Sand package tours where tourists come specifically to relax. Thorne goes further however and also discusses different forms of interaction between locals and tourists as well as difficulties of market access and local participation.
All in all this professional report brings up the important question of when cultural tourist activites can be categorised as poverty or slum tourism? This may be easy in the case of favela or township tourism as the practices are limited to certain geographical areas. However as Thorne shows, similar practices take place elsewhere as well under a label of cultural tourism.
The report can be downloaded here and those wishing to contact Janet can do so at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Thorne, J. (2011) Selling culture to package tourists: An exploration of demand for intangible heritage excursions in the Gambia. MSc. Leeds, Leeds Metropolitan University
In an earlier post I mentioned how we are trying to get some sort of overview on where slum tourism takes place. Doing this, we found certain forms of slum tourism that are temporary in nature rather than permanent.
A good example of this can be found in the paper Gecekondu Chic by Derya Özkan, based on her PhD-thesis. She only discusses slum tourism briefly when she criticises the way in which it canturn poverty into a spectacle that can be aesteticised and consumed. However, particularly interesting is her discussion of the Istanbul Bennial in 2003. Here informal housing (Gecekondu in Turkish) was used for an exhibited art project called “Ada”. A simulation gecekondu was built together with gecokondu builders from real life in the open in the backyard of the exhibition venue “Antrepo”.
While the intention of the project was to highlight the production process of the gecekondu, it became a spectacle and was later criticised for aesthecisising the gecekondu and turning it into a cultural commmodity that can be consumed much in the same way as slum tourism in other places.
Although not intended as such, it would certainly seem that the Ada project created the first type of gecekondu tourism. I am not aware of more recent gecekondu tourism projects and/or gecekondu tours, but this example does show that temporal forms of slum tourism at least may be more common than we think.
Although still in its infancy, an increasing amount of work is done on the ethical dimensions of slum tourism as well as the way it is experienced by tourists. An aspect of slum tourism that has received much less attention is the perception local host communities to tourism. However, it would seem that we are missing a vital part of the puzzle with regards to slum tourism if we do not look at local resident’s perspectives.
A member of the slum tourism network, Rita Duarte, recently finished her MSc thesis on this very subject for the Favelas in Brazil. Interestingly, she did not only look at the most popular tourist favela (Rocinha), but also at the lesser known Pereira da Silva. In her exploratory study, she uses a transmodern perspective and finds that residents on the whole have a positive attitude towards tourists. They view it as an opportunity to be seen in a more positive light than is normally portrayed in media. They are critical critical however, on the ways in which tourism is performed. Particularly in Rocinha imbalanced power relations between external and internal actors could be observed. Duarte argues that local acceptance and control over the development of tourist activities is necessary to improve the social representation of favela residents.
The thesis is an interesting read and sheds further light upon the complexity of favela tourism and the perspective of local residents. With this in mind, it would have been interesting to see more about conflicting interests and ideas witin the communities and between local community members, particularly in Pereira da Silva. However, as Duarte rightfully says the time and scope of a thesis is limited and there will inevitably be gaps when doing exploratory research.
Duarte, R. (2010) Exploring the Social Impacts of Favela Tourism: An insight into the residents’ view. MSc. Wageningen, Wageningen University.
The thesis can be downloaded from Wageningen university website. However, the link does not always seem to work, so you can also download it from Slumtourism.net directly. If you have an interesting document, thesis or report regarding slum tourism, please contact us so we can share it on the Slum Tourism Network.