In the name of the tourist : landscape, heritage, and social change in Chinchero
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This thesis examines social change in the Quechua-speaking town of Chinchero (Peru), located 30 km away from the city of Cuzco. It does so by studying the conditions created by touristic development in the Region. It is an ethnography that builds on, and dialogues with, previous ethnographies done in Chinchero before. It focuses on issues of landscape and cultural heritage, as these are some of the domains most affected by the changes brought about by tourism, among other forms of modernization. The thesis looks at processes of re-territorialization and social exclusion that have followed the reconversion of the Inca ruins into an Archaeological Park. It also studies the town´s reputed textile tradition in a context of growing commercialization. Over the last few years, coinciding with a surge in tourism in the region, the tourist demand for “authentic” indigenous crafts has fostered significant changes in the textile production of Chinchero. The multiplication of weaving centers where the ethnicity is performed for the tourist gaze, plus the social implications of this new mode of social organization, comes into scrutiny. Another major focus of attention is the project of the New International Airport of Cuzco in Chinchero land. The airport is a direct consequence of tourist development in the Region. This thesis explores processes of social disruption and environmental conflict as the project is deeply dividing the community and raising expectations of progress that that are unlikely to be met. Additionally, the airport intersects with issues of indigeneity and the redefinition of the ethnic identity as the project engages with the supposed incompatibility between being indigenous, and thus “traditional”, and being modern, a process that involves the commercialization of “ancestral” land and the heavy reworking of a landscape where the ancestors and other-than-human forces still dwell.
Thesis, PhD Doctor of Philosophy
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