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Partners in Paradise

Tourism Practices, Heritage Policies, and Anthropological Sites


Robert J. Shepherd

How and why do some places in the world become symbols of illusive paradise, and what does this mean for their residents? Moving between anthropology, tourism, and the increasingly influential cultural heritage movement, Partners in Paradise examines the origins of a Euro-American fascination with places imagined to exist outside of Modernity. Focusing on the emergence of Tibet and Bali as, in turn, anthropological field sites, tourist destinations, and cultural heritage sites, it argues that the work of academic researchers, tourists, and cultural preservationists inform and constitute each other, in the process constructing particular places as «paradise». Unpacking this process is a necessary first step in understanding how Tibetans and Balinese negotiate their place in a modern world in which the meaning of «paradise» is contested. Drawing on anthropology, history, and tourist studies, Partners in Paradise offers a unique lens on the politics of development, modernization, and cultural preservation.


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Chapter I: Culture in the Field 9


Chapter One Culture in the Field The anthropologist must relinquish his comfortable position in the long chair on the verandah of the missionary compound, government station, or planter’s bungalow, where, armed with pencil and notebook and at times with a whiskey and soda, he has been accustomed to collect statements from informants, write down stories, and fill out sheets of paper with savage texts. He must go out into the villages, and see the natives at work in gardens, on the beach, in the jungle... Bronislaw Malinowski, Argonauts of the Western Pacific Anthropology’s disciplinary identity is intimately connected to the place of fieldwork as a central element within it, both in terms of practice (the writing down in the field of participant observation) and text (the writing up back home of field notes into monographs). ‘To go to the field’ is a rite of passage for students into the community of anthropologists (Peacock 1986: 55; Van Maanen 1988: 13). It is also a boundary maintenance marker that distinguishes anthropology from related disciplines such as sociology, political science, and economics, as well as related spatial practices such as tourism, travel, and aid work (Stocking 1992: 278). Unlike an economist or a historian, an anthropolo- gist goes out, ex camera, beyond the library, where she becomes, in a sense, the camera (Plath 1990: 373). Of course, once there, an anthropologist inevitably encounters others, such as development workers, tourists, and missionaries, who invariably are categorized as amateurish (Clifford 1983: 122–123). Others who...

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