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This dissertation elucidates how tourism is a context in which people have the capacity to perform exotic spatializations by creating nature/culture hybrids in marginalized spaces. Specifically it focuses on how swamp tour guides in Louisiana's Atchafalaya Basin negotiate between images established by place-myths and the guides' actual experiences in the swamp in order to sell Cajun-swamp cultures to tourists without `selling out'. This perspective is informed by a review of relevant literatures from geographers and social theorists and by fieldwork comprised of participant-observation of thirteen tours in the study area and interviews with guides and tourists alike. The findings suggest that rather than relying on images of a `backwater' culture in an equally exotic environment, guides perform hybridities-in-the-making that blend Cajuns and the swamp, wild and `civilized' spaces and people and alligators. The present-tense performance of these hybridities allows for the exotic to be coded to the time-space itself rather than the particular people or landscape. This tactic creates a context where guides can perform nature through culture and not a culture from nature. This conjecture is crucial for understanding how tourism produces exoticism and particularly how ethnic groups are able to participate in tourism without creating hierarchies that rely on the continuation stereotypes.
A Dissertation submitted to the Department of Geography in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy.
Includes bibliographical references.
Philip E. Steinberg, Professor Directing Dissertation; Frederick R. Davis, University Representative; J. Anthony Stallins, Committee Member; Ronald E. Doel, Committee Member.
Florida State University
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