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Title: "Cahuita gone, Cahuita gone" : struggles over place on the Caribbean coast of Costa Rica
Author: Anderson, M.
Awarding Body: University of Cambridge
Current Institution: University of Cambridge
Date of Award: 2002
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This dissertation explores the struggles over identity and place in a small Afro-Caribbean village on the Caribbean coast of Costa Rica. Cahuita, founded by Afro-Caribbean migrants in the early twentieth century, and until decades ago a village of farmers and fishermen virtually ignored by the national government, is now one of the Caribbean coast's main tourist attractions. Already engaged in battles against the perceived discrimination of the government, the turn to tourism provided Cahuitans with reason and ammunition for their continuing lucha ("fight"). The lucha is engaged in as an argument over Cahuita's meaning as a place, and by implication, Cahuitans' position as Costa Ricans. Cahuita comprises a contested micro-politics that begins between and among various categories of resident and visitors and often extends to the ongoing negotiations with the nation-state. Cahuita is constructed through (re)imaginings of place and time, as actors locate themselves in relation to the past, present and future, to the local, the national and the international, and to others' "makings" of the village. This dissertation shows that contested use of the past, and of the tropes of the "Caribbean" and the "Rastafarian", stand at the centre of life in this village. Through discursive and performative acts and particular readings of the landscape, actors stake their claim to the village and beyond. A sense of liminality pervades throughout, which proves to be both a source of anxiety and of creativity. This dissertation contributes to existing literature in various ways. While discussions of national-level involvement in tourism often focus on pragmatic state-level economic or development considerations, I show that this engagement is part of a process guided by and reflecting complex conceptions of national identity, which leads to a fragmented "tourism industry", and at the same time heralds a potential reconfiguration of the national imaginary.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available