Tourism and its discontents : Suri-tourist encounters in southern Ethiopia

TitleTourism and its discontents : Suri-tourist encounters in southern Ethiopia
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2000
AuthorsG.J. Abbink
Secondary TitleSocial Anthropology
Pagination1 - 17
Date Published2000///
PublisherCambridge University Press
Place PublishedCambridge
Publication Languageeng
KeywordsEthiopia, identity, social change, southern ethiopia, Suri, tourism

Encounters between foreign tourists and people of different cultural background become very common in a globalized world. The nature of this exchange in cultural terms relates questions of identity construction and the emergence or creation of difference. This article addresses tourist-'native' encounters in a semiotic perspective, which helps to reveal its essentially contested aspects. The empirical study relates to the Suri people of southern Ethiopia, a small ethnic group of agropastoralists only recently 'discovered' by tourists and displaying notable aggression towards them. Suri reject their role in the 'tourist game' of creating a realist experience of the Other, and staunchly assert their own identity and would-be equality vis-à-vis these affluent visitors

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