Backpacker hotspots: Cultural and social change of place and identity. A study from Taganga, Colombia
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This study examines the social and cultural impacts of backpacker tourism in a small coastal Colombian village. The national security in Colombia has improved much the last decade and Taganga has hence been established as a backpacker hotspot with increased tourism arrivals every year. Previous characteristics of an isolated town of fishermen and a traditional organization of the economy have been exchanged with capitalism, modernization and Western influences through in-migration and backpacker arrivals. This is a thesis about backpacker tourism, and foremost about the challenges met by local residents in how to handle the increasing tourist masses and how to continuously reconstruct their own identity both separately from and in connection to tourism. Through engaging with theories of place identity, place meanings and social representations of place I seek to understand cultural belonging and meanings attached to Taganga. The empirical work is based upon qualitative methods whereby I have analysed the identities and cultures existing in Taganga, both regarding native inhabitants, backpackers and in-migrants from elsewhere in Colombia. The analyses have recognized the complexity that exists within defined social units, and the many ways different groups of people comprehend and give meanings to place. Different conceptions of place are utilized and necessary for understanding how and why different people engage differently with one particular locality.
PublisherThe University of Bergen
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