American Anthropological Association Annual Meeting edition:113 location:Washington D.C. date:3-7 December 2014
For a long time, anthropologists have had an ambiguous stance towards tourism and its study. Maybe this is partly because anthropology and tourism share a similar genealogy. Indeed, whether we like it or not, anthropology (in the broad sense) and tourism are deeply entangled in various practical, historical, sociological, and conceptual ways. Tourism somehow needs anthropology to keep representing the imagined past as (ethnographic) present in a legitimate way. Yet, drawing upon ethnological imaginaries enables global visibility as much as it incarcerates people and places in archaic and problematic representations. Ironically, tourism is both predicated on and contested by the history of anthropological research, which has in turn been crucial to the development of (cultural) tourism. On the other hand, more and more anthropologists no longer despise tourism, as a social reality or an object of study, but play active roles in tourism planning and development, as guides, researchers, consultants, analysts, or policy makers. Taking this paradoxical relation as the point of analytical departure, this paper offers a reflection on the influential role of Hosts and Guests in shaping the complex relationship between anthropology and tourism. It zooms in on how some ideas presented in the edited volume(s) were not picked up while others started leading their own lives. The paper ends by looking into the near future and pointing to some possible directions in which both the anthropology of tourism and the tourism of anthropology may be heading.