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Title: Questioning empowerment in community-based tourism in rural Bali
Author: Dolezal, Claudia
ISNI:       0000 0004 5368 6042
Awarding Body: University of Brighton
Current Institution: University of Brighton
Date of Award: 2015
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The term 'empowerment' is used with greater frequency in tourism for development, particularly in the context of community-based tourism (CBT), which is often referred to as a tool to 'empower' communities in the initiation, implementation and management of tourism. Still, critical and empirically grounded research on empowerment remains limited, particularly as emerging from social relationships in CBT. These are in many cases regarded as disempowering for community members, such as the tourism encounter and community relationships in cases where they lead to conflicts and jealousy, rather than collaboration. This research analyses these social relationships prevalent in CBT to take them as a potential starting point for social empowerment. Its aim is to locate social spaces of empowerment in CBT by unravelling power relations between the actors involved at local level. In these social spaces of empowerment, the basis of empowerment is generative power, defined as collective power with and power within, based on self-respect, to achieve power to generate positive change and to overcome power over (i.e. dominating power). The fieldwork was conducted in three rural villages in Bali, which engage in CBT and are supported by a local NGO that aims at empowering communities. The methodology draws upon ethnographic traditions alongside semi-structured interviews and participant observations. Symbolic interactionism provides the methodological position, regarding meaning as constructed through interaction. A reflexive chapter discusses the intersubjectivities between the researcher and participants and links the methodology with the intellectual argument and the findings of the study. Empirical evidence reveals that empowerment opportunities are unequal in the studied villages, with obstacles such as language, a lack in skills and caste hindering villagers' empowerment. The village tourism committees (VTCs), a local and trained elite, take control over the space of CBT and the tourism encounter, by employing notions of 'authenticity' to sell the CBT product. Although CBT creates hope for change and empowerment for community members, it currently remains empowering for a few, while others generally experience tokenistic pseudo-participation and a silent involvement. At the same time, this study reveals first signs of empowerment based on power with and power within, generated in the tourism encounter and through villagers' social ties, which are visualised in a 'CBT power diagram'.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: N840 International Tourism ; N860 Tourism Management