Beyond 'othering': The political roots of slum tourism
Frenzel, F. (2012) Beyond 'othering': The political roots of slum tourism. In: Frenzel, F., Koens, K. and Steinbrink, M., eds. (2012) Poverty, Power and Ethics in Global Slum Tourism. Routledge. ISBN 9780415698788
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The occurrence of organized forms of slum tourism in at least two cities of the global South has been linked to large-scale political events, involving thousands of political travellers. Rio de Janeiro’s favela tours are said to have originated in the 1992 Rio Earth Summit (Freie Medeiros 2009) while Nairobi’s Kibera Tours originated in tours taken by attendees of the 2007 World Social Forum (Mowforth & Munt 2009). Township tourism in South Africa was preceded by politically motivated ‘struggle junkies’ who visited townships in support of the resistance of black South Africans against the apartheid regime. This indicates the particular role of mobile political activists in the creation of slum tourism as an organized tourist practice. Moreover, these cases seem to indicate a development pattern of slum tourism destinations, which could help explain the process through which they come about. In this chapter I situate slum tourism in the wider realm of the political tourism that arguably triggered its development. As mobile political activists visit slums they often intend political transformations of the slum and attempt to create networks of solidarity with the visited slum dwellers. Does this political nature of the visits survive in the development of slum tourism in the given destinations? By looking at the links between slum tourism and political tourism, this chapter addresses the ethical concerns central to slum-tourism reflections.
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