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Tourism and Prosperity in Miao Land

Power and Inequality in Rural Ethnic China

Xianghong Feng


In this book, Xianghong Feng focuses on the intersection of tourism, power, and inequality in the southern interior of China. In this region, capital-intensive and elite-directed tourism has reshaped the social and cultural patterns of the ethnic Miao and other local residents. Using ethnographic fieldwork conducted over the course of a decade, Feng explores the cultural reconstructions of space, ethnicity, gender, and morality within changing power structures. Specifically, she examines how communities are divided by daily conflicts between the local residents, whose everyday life is disrupted by tourism, and the private developers, who along with the local authorities, control and profit from tourism. This book contributes to a better understanding of Chinese economic and sociocultural dynamics and is recommended for scholars of anthropology, sociology, economics, political science, Asian studies, and tourism studies.
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Lexington Books
Pages: 210Size: 6 x 9
978-1-4985-0995-4 • Hardback • May 2017 • $90.00 • (£60.00)
978-1-4985-0996-1 • eBook • May 2017 • $89.99 • (£60.00) (coming soon)
Xianghong Feng (丰向红) is associate professor of anthropology at Eastern Michigan University.
Part I: Tourism's "Great Leap Forward"
Chapter 1The Place: The Mountain, The River, The People
Chapter 2"Scaling Up": The McDonaldizing Village Tours
Part II: Living with Tourism
Chapter 3Spatial Transformations: Constructing Tourism Sites
Chapter 4From Tourism Marketplace to Village Homes: Gendered Work among the Local Miao
Chapter 5 Prosperity for Whom?: Tourism and the Poverty of Resources
Part III: One Village
Chapter 6Before and After the Merger: Everyday Resistance in Village Life
Chapter 7Competition and (In)equality: The Rise and Fall of Village Family Restaurants
Conclusion"Small" as a Solution
Xianghong Feng provides an engaging examination of China’s promotion of tourism to bring prosperity to rural areas. Making sense of complex political and economic dynamics in relation to the shifting fortunes of individuals, families, and villages, Feng moves deftly between fine-grained detail and broad strokes. The study is attentive to the potential conflict of interest between large-scale tourism operators and individual entrepreneurs and workers, and makes important contributions to the anthropology of tourism. Tourism and Prosperity in Miao Land captures the precariousness of peasant livelihood, even in the casual description of a bowl of noodle soup. Feng illuminates contemporary dynamics of tourism and urban-rural dynamics in relation to labor, space, gender, ethnicity, competition, and resistance in Miao villages.
Hjorleifur Jonsson, Arizona State University

Xianghong Feng’s book illustrates the role of tourism developers in shaping China’s underdeveloped regions. Using power in tourism as a conceptual framework, she analyzes the intricacies of host communities responding to tourism development and cultural commodification. Her book adds a rich and meaningful voice to contemporary debates on social and spatial transformation in tourist destinations in China and elsewhere.
Xiaobo Su, University of Oregon

China is where tourism is really growing, in both international and domestic tourism! Xianghong Feng’s new book is the most intriguing ethnography published to date that explains what is happening at the local level in tourism. It is a wonderful ride into the cracks and corners of a world rarely seen outside of China. Her book is theoretically interesting, important, and approachable for both the scholar and the new student.
Tim Wallace, North Carolina State University