Tourism--Commoditization vs. Cultural Development Cause and Effect Essay

Tourism--Commoditization vs. Cultural Development
This paper is an overview of the effect of cultural tourism on the indigenous cultures of Third World countries.
# 148077 | 2,062 words | 10 sources | APA | 2011 | CA
Published by on Aug 30, 2011 in Tourism (General)

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This paper examines the issues involved in the current debate on the effect that tourism is having on indigenous cultures, especially in the Third World. The paper presents arguments on both sides of the debate and offers some suggestions for a resolution. It concludes that if cultural commoditization is used wisely, it can in fact be a contributor to cultural development.

Cultural Development

From the Paper:

"On the negative side of the debate, the general view is that tourism turns local culture into a commodity, and this changes the meaning of cultural products, eventually rendering them meaningless, while at the same time exploiting local communities both culturally and financially (Cohen, 1988, p. 372, 381). Koster (2009) found evidence of such economic exploitation in her field research among the weavers of Chiapas, Mexico. For example, she discovered that they are often forced to sell their products at one-fifth of their real value, since tourists are not willing to pay high prices (p. 26, 41) and middlemen (who take a sizeable cut of the profits) are often involved in the exchange (p. 16). The commoditization process can be understood in terms of four basic premises: (1) "local culture is capitalized as an asset"; (2) "traditional mechanisms of accumulation, transmission and reproduction of culture give way to new modes [of production]"; (3) "fundamental social and cultural changes take place"; and (4) "a radical shift in community ideology occurs" (George, 2005, p. 2). These changes and shifts in community ideology include cultural dilution and eventually "cultural homogenization" (Greenwood, 1989, pp. 173, 184), as cultural objects and practices are modified to suit "the tastes of the tourists" (Cohen, 1988, p. 381). For example, Koster (2009) found that the weavers of Chiapas began altering their products and designs to meet the demands of tourists (p. 41)."

Sample of Sources Used:

  • Berriane, M. (1999). Tourism, culture and development in the Arab region. Paris: UNESCO.
  • Cohen, E. (1988). Authenticity and commoditization in tourism. Annals of Tourism Research 15, 371-386.
  • George, W. (2005). Commodifying local culture for rural community tourism development: Theorising the commodification process. Paper presented at the Eleventh Canadian Congress on Leisure Research, May 17-20, 2005. Nanaimo, B.C.: Canadian Association for Leisure Studies.
  • Greenwood, D. J. (1989). Culture by the pound: An anthropological perspective on tourism as cultural commoditization. In V. L. Smith (Ed.), Hosts and Guests: The Anthropology of Tourism (2nd ed., pp. 171-185). Philadelphia, PA: University of Pennsylvania Press.
  • Harrison, D. (Ed.). (1992). Tourism and the less developed countries. London: Bellhaven Press.

Cite this Cause and Effect Essay:

APA Format

Tourism--Commoditization vs. Cultural Development (2011, August 30) Retrieved January 22, 2022, from

MLA Format

"Tourism--Commoditization vs. Cultural Development" 30 August 2011. Web. 22 January. 2022. <>