While the number of domestic leisure travelers has increased dramatically in reform-era China, the persistent gap between urban and rural living standards attests to ongoing social, economic, and political inequalities. The state has widely touted tourism for its potential to bring wealth and modernity to rural ethnic minority communities, but the policies underlying the development of tourism obscure some complicated realities. In tourism, after all, one person's leisure is another person's labor.
A Landscape of Travel investigates the contested meanings and unintended consequences of tourism for those people whose lives and livelihoods are most at stake in China's rural ethnic tourism industry: the residents of village destinations. Drawing on ethnographic research conducted in Ping'an (a Zhuang village in Guangxi) and Upper Jidao (a Miao village in Guizhou), Jenny Chio analyzes the myriad challenges and possibilities confronted by villagers who are called upon to do the work of tourism. She addresses the shifting significance of migration and rural mobility, the visual politics of tourist photography, and the effects of touristic desires for "exotic difference" on village social relations. In this way, Chio illuminates the contemporary regimes of labor and leisure and the changing imagination of what it means to be rural, ethnic, and modern in China today.
More about the author: http://www.jennychio.com/
Jenny Chio is assistant professor of anthropology and associated faculty in film and media studies at Emory University. A Landscape of Travel is about China becoming a nation that travels, and one way of traveling is to be a tourist. . . . Tourism is of course only one mode through which China's mobility expresses itself, and we must remember that most villages have no tourists at all. But if we want to understand why tourists see and experience what they do . . . and how this reflects China as a nation that travels, [this book] is both delightful and essential.
Foreword by Stevan HarrellPrefaceAcknowledgmentsMap of China Introduction1. Similar, with Minor Differences2. Peasant Family Happiness3. Leave the Fields without Leaving the Countryside4. "Take a Picture with Us"5. The Ability to Be DifferentConclusion Glossary of Chinese CharactersNotesReferencesIndex