The Affective Negotiation of Slum Tourism: City Walks in Delhi, 1st Edition (e-Book) book cover

The Affective Negotiation of Slum Tourism

City Walks in Delhi, 1st Edition

By Tore Holst


184 pages | 17 B/W Illus.

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Each year, approximately a million tourists visit slum areas on guided tours as a part of their holiday to Asia, Africa or Latin America. This book analyses the cultural encounters that take place between slum tourists and former street children, who work as tour guides for a local NGO in Delhi, India.

Slum tours are typically framed as both tourist performances, bought as commodities for a price on the market, and as appeals for aid that tourists encounter within an altruistic discourse of charity. This book enriches the tourism debate by interpreting tourist performances as affective economies, identifying tour guides as emotional labourers and raising questions on the long-term impacts of economically unbalanced encounters with representatives of the Global North, including the researcher.

This book studies the ‘feeling rules’ governing a slum tour and how they shape interactions. When do guides permit tourists to exoticise the slum and feel a thrilling sense of disgust towards the effects of abject poverty, and when do they instead guide them towards a sense of solidarity with the slum’s inhabitants? What happens if the tourists rebel and transgress the boundaries delimiting the space of comfortable affective negotiation constituted by the guides? This book will be essential reading for undergraduates, postgraduates and researchers working within the fields of Human Geography, Slum Tourism Research, Subaltern Studies and Development Studies.


"Through this book we come to learn more about the circumstances that together construct the particular spatial environment known as the slum, the representations of Delhi’s street children that become fixed as a part of the guides’ identities and performances, the aestheticization of the slum, and the complex interplays in the co-performances that are the tours. It provides a compelling and insightful lens into the intersections of the complex objectives and impacts of encounters between poverty and tourism." - Meghan Muldoon, Arizona State University

Table of Contents

1. Slum Tourism, Subalternity and Gentrification 2. The Authentic Slum or Former Street Children as Prisms of Authenticity? 3. Playing with Privilege? The Ethics of Aestheticizing the Slum 4 The Affective Economy of Slum Tourism 5. The Post-Humanitarian Logic of Slum Tourism 6 The Emotional Labour of CW-Guides 7 The Economy of Resocialisation: The Slumming Researcher? Conclusion and Further Perspectives

About the Author

Tore Holst is External lecturer at Cultural Encounters, Roskilde University, where he teaches mobility, migration, postcolonial literature, epistemology and the correlation between modernity and colonialism. He obtained his PhD from Roskilde University in 2016, with a thesis which this book is based on. He has also published postcolonial literature and focused on how the colonial relation between the Danish state and Greenland becomes visible when climate narratives are enacted and disseminated via the media.

About the Series

Routledge Advances in Tourism and Anthropology

This series draws inspiration from anthropology’s overarching aim to explore and better understand the human condition in all its fascinating diversity. It aims to expand the intellectual landscape of anthropology and tourism in relation to how we understand the experience of being human.

As people inhabit, organize, construct and classify the world around them they transform it into a meaningful world of places, ‘things’ and activities reflective of human culture and society. Tourism is a significant activity capable of uncovering the ways in which life and living is constructed, experienced and understood. This series provides a home for critical inquiry into the spaces, places, and lives in and through which tourism unfolds. Spaces and places such as the coast, the countryside and the built environment; airports, hotels and cruise ships; museums, attractions and souvenir shops; virtual spaces and that of the imagination. How such spaces are embodied, thought about and ‘used’ – imagined, constructed and experienced, memorialized and contested – are indicative lines of enquiry.

Although anthropology provides the guiding framework we invite contributions that draw from related disciplines and fields of study for example, philosophy, history, sociology, geography, cultural studies, architecture, the arts, feminist studies, and so forth.

Learn more…

Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
BUSINESS & ECONOMICS / Industries / Hospitality, Travel & Tourism