Anthropology of Tourism: Political Economy of the Dal Lake Region

Interesting paper by Basarat Hassan (PhD scholar at the Centre for the Study of Social Systems, Jawaharlal Nehru University, Delhi).

This article attempts to theorise the genesis of tourism involving communities living around the Dal Lake, and their numerous experiences and relationships concomitant with the practice of tourism. Further, it aims to critically analyse how tourism reinforces a dominant discourse, contributing to our critical understanding by capturing the local narratives that remain absent from tourism frameworks and policy decisions. While it is beyond the scope of this article to directly talk about the realm of tourism in all of Kashmir, it talks about the ways in which the Dal communities engage with tourism, decipher it, and simultaneously construct a circuit of meanings. The theoretical critique of the word “tourism” underpins that even a simple interpretation of the word is latticed with a plenitude of ambiguities. Tourism is a barometer of power relationships that are entered into by several stakeholders who are determined to dominate collaborations that arise as a result of tourist activities. “There is clearly a need in tourism studies to start to ‘name’ power more openly, certainly and precisely”.

 

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