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New Book on Slum Tourism

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.

 

 

 

CONTENTS:

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 ugly side of slum tourism

A weblog by Michael Smith mentions the possible start of  of poverty tourism to the Romani settlements near Veµká Lomnicea village in Slovakia. What is significant about this form of slum tourism is not just the location, but also the fact that it is the mayor of the town that is planning to organise the tours. Apparently the local population that is to be visited has little or no control over this project.

This would make it an example of slum tourism of the most unethical form. Not only does it seem unlikely  money will reach those that are visited, tourism even seems to be used for political purposes. While this may be a biased version of the story, it does reflect a potentially highly disrespectful form of slum tourism that should not be endorsed.

More generally, since this kind of slum tourism perpetuates the negative connotation that many people have with slum tourism, one wonders what people can do to highlight to tourists that tours are unwanted before they book them. Furthermore, it begs the question of how to ensure visits to impoverished areas and communities happen in a respectful way. Next week will see a paper discussing this latter issue on slumtourism.net.