Tourism and Indigenous Heritage in Latin America: As Observed through Mexico's Magical Village Cuetzalan
Following the surge of regional multiculturalism and indigenous political mobilization, how are indigenous Latin Americans governed today? Addressing the Mexican flagship tourist initiative of ‘Magical Villages,’ this book shows how government tourism programs do more than craft appealing tourist experiences from ideas of indigeneity, tradition, and heritage. Rather, heritage-centered tourism and multiculturalism are fusing into a strategy of government set to tame and steer indigenous spaces of negotiation by offering alternative multicultural national self-images, which trigger new modes of national belonging and participation, without challenging structural political and social asymmetries.
By examining contemporary Mexican tourism policies and multiculturalist ideals through policy analysis and ethnographic research in a mestizo municipalcapital in a majority indigenous Nahua municipality, this book shows how mestizo nationalism is regenerated in tourism as part of a neoliberal governmentality framework. The book demonstrates how tourism initiatives that center on indigenous cultural heritage and recognition do not self-evidently empower indigenous citizens, and may pave the way for extracting indigenous heritage as a national resource to the benefit of local elites and tourist visitors.
This work is of key interest to researchers, advanced students, and critically engaged practitioners in the fields of Latin American studies, indigenous studies, social anthropology, critical heritage studies, and tourism.