Theming Asia: Culture, Nature and Heritage in a Transforming Environment presents a theoretical, thematic and empirical examination of theming, theme parks and themed spaces in contemporary Asia. Drawing on cases from China, Hong Kong, Japan, Kazakhstan, Malaysia and Singapore, it details how the proliferation of theming in places of consumption, education, entertainment and everyday life has shaped the social and spatial terrains of modern-day Asia. This is done largely through the radical transformation of ideas of culture, nature and heritage – a theoretical and empirical area that warrants urgent and dedicated scholarly inquiry.
Providing an innovative study of theme parks and themed spaces in contemporary Asia, this publication highlights the critical role of theming in the making, ordering, branding, as well as contestation of cultural, natural and heritage places. The intersections of these processes are foregrounded within the context of Disneyization, the experience economy, imagineered spaces and debates over authenticity and superficiality. A diverse range of case studies, as well as a general theoretical introduction, give much room for revisiting and reimagining issues of culture and nature in a transforming Asia. This book was originally published as a special issue of Tourism Geographies.
Table of Contents
1. Theming Asia: culture, nature and heritage in a transforming environment 2. The Big Buddha of Hong Kong: an accidental Buddhist theme park 3.‘Cuteifying’ spaces and staging marine animals for Chinese middle-class consumption 4. Between universal spaces and unique places: heritage in Universal Studios Singapore 5. Simulacra and simulation: double simulation at a North Song Dynasty theme park 6. Informal heritage-making at the Sarawak Cultural Village, East Malaysia 7. Residents’ attitudes toward ethnic neighborhood tourism (ENT): perspectives of ethnicity and empowerment 8.Performance and visitors’ perception of authenticity in ecocultural tourism
Maribeth Erb is an Associate Professor at the Department of Sociology, National University of Singapore and does research on tourism, politics and the environment in eastern Indonesia.
Chin-Ee Ong is a Lecturer of Human Geography at National University of Singapore and does research on power, heritage and tourism in China, Macau, the Netherlands and Singapore.