1st Edition

Tourism and Indigenous Heritage in Latin America As Observed through Mexico's Magical Village Cuetzalan

By Casper Jacobsen Copyright 2019
    204 Pages
    by Routledge

    204 Pages 12 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    Continue Shopping

    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.

    Prologue: Hope and despair in Cuetzalan 1. Introduction 2. Governing frames 3. Working the translocal field 4. The diachronic Magical Villages Program. Frames and technologies in motion 5. When pros turn pro: Community ambassadors and social order 6. Multicultourism in the Magical Village: Setting temporality and translocality 7. Networking/rooting: Ritual co-parenthood in Tzinacapan 8. Regenerative fiesta: ritual configuration of history, identity, and society Epilogue


    Casper Jacobsen holds a PhD in American Indian Languages and Cultures, and is a postdoctoral fellow at the University of Copenhagen and the State University of New York at Albany, USA. His research focuses on the history and heritage of indigenous peoples in pre-Hispanic, colonial, and contemporary Latin America.



    "Going beyond the sustainability and empowerment frameworks frequently employed in the tourism literature, Casper Jacobsen’s Tourism and indigenous heritage in Latin America: As observed through Mexico’s Magical Village Cuetzalan offers the reader a critical examination of the emergence of multicultourism, defined by the author as a neoliberal governmentality frame that fuses multicultural politics of recognition with tourism, while conceptualizing indigenous heritage as a ‘national resource’ to be exploited in tourism initiatives." - Laura Paola Vizcaino-Suárez, Journal of Heritage Tourism