Touring Poverty addresses a highly controversial practice: the transformation of impoverished neighbourhoods into valued attractions for international tourists. In the megacities of the Global South, selected and idealized aspects of poverty are being turned into a tourist commodity for consumption.
The book takes the reader on a journey through Rocinha, a neighbourhood in Rio de Janeiro which is advertised as "the largest favela in Latin America". Bianca Freire-Medeiros presents interviews with tour operators, guides, tourists and dwellers to explore the vital questions raised by this kind of tourism. How and why do diverse social actors and institutions orchestrate, perform and consume touristic poverty? In the context of globalization and neoliberalism, what are the politics of selling and buying the social experience of cities, cultures and peoples?
With a full and sensitive exploration of the ethical debates surrounding the ‘sale of emotions’ elicited by the first-hand contemplation of poverty, Touring Poverty is an innovative book that provokes the reader to think about the role played by tourism – and our role as tourists – within a context of growing poverty. It will be of interest to students of sociology, anthropology, ethnography and methodology, urban studies, tourism studies, mobility studies, development studies, politics and international relations.
Table of Contents
Introduction: The Touristic Poverty. Part I 1. Slumming: The Discovery of the Other Half 2. Touring Poverty in the New Millennium: Places, Peoples and Practices Part II 3. A Trademark and a Tourist Destination 4. Tourism in "The Largest Favela in Latin America" 5. To Be or Not to Be a Favela Tourist? 6. Crafting (Mis)Recognition: The Touristic Favela and Its Souvenirs 7. "Favelado Ain’t No Sucker": Residents’ Impressions on the Touristic Favela. Conclusion. Afterword. References. Index.
Bianca Freire-Medeiros is Senior Lecturer in Sociology at the Center for Research and Documentation on Brazilian Contemporary History (CPDOC) at the Getulio Vargas Foundation in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. She was a Research Fellow at the Center for Mobilities Research (CeMoRe) at Lancaster University.