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Title: Representations of tourism in postcolonial island literatures
Author: Carrigan, Anthony James
Awarding Body: University of Leeds
Current Institution: University of Leeds
Date of Award: 2008
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This thesis examines representations of tourism in postcolonial island literatures. Focusing on works by Caribbean, Pacific, and Sri Lankan writers, it argues that even as they foreground the exploitative dimensions of mass tourism development, they also provide insights into how more culturally and environmentally sensitive tourism practices might emerge. As such, they offer important contributions to enhancing island tourism sustainability. In constructing this argument, I locate my textual readings in the context o f interdisciplinary tourism studies, an expansive field which embraces sociological, anthropological, geographical, economic, and political science disciplines. I draw on this research to show how it can deepen understandings of tourism’s role within postcolonial island texts, and to explore the extent to which imaginative depictions of the industry offer fresh perspectives on mainstream tourism studies debates. The thesis focuses on islands as a means o f exploring the tensions between their stereotypically ‘paradisal’ attraction to generations of ‘western’ visitors, and their social, cultural, and environmental vulnerability to unsustainable tourism practices. This allows the relationship between the industry’s discursive and material operations to be approached in nuanced depth. It also highlights tensions between theories of cultural and environmental sustainability, which are often heightened in island contexts. Drawing on recent intersections between postcolonialism and ecocriticism as well as cultural approaches to globalisation, the thesis seeks to further conversations between aesthetics, social science, and ecological research, while also attending to the formal complexities o f the texts addressed. Following the first chapter, which examines tourism’s effects on island ecologies and the contributions postcolonial island literatures can make to interdisciplinary debates, the thesis is divided into three central chapters. Chapter 2 deals with tourism and nature, Chapter 3 addresses tourism and culture, and Chapter 4 brings social and environmental concerns together in its analysis o f sex tourism and embodied experience. Embracing writings from a wide variety of islands — including Antigua, Barbados, Trinidad, St Lucia, Samoa, New Zealand, Hawai‘i, and Sri Lanka — it asserts the importance of comparing portrayals o f island tourism within a postcolonial framework. It concludes by outlining the relevance o f future research for poverty alleviation, crisis management, and understanding marginalised groups’ negotiations o f the industry in both island and mainland contexts.
Supervisor: Huggan, Graham Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available