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Ethnic Tourism and the Renegotiation of Tradition in Tana Toraja (Sulawesi, Indonesia)
  • Kathleen M Adams, Loyola University Chicago
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This article examines some of the political and symbolic issues inherent in the touristic renegotiation of Torajan ritual and history, chronicling the strategies whereby Torajans attempt to refashion outsider imagery to enhance their own personal standing and position in the Indonesian ethnic hierarchy. The author suggests that the Toraja case challenges the popular assumption that tourism promotion brings a complete loss of agency to indigenous peoples: Torajans not only engage in ingenious political strategies to enhance their group's image, but vigorously contest perceived threats to their identity and power. The author argues that such processes of self-conscious cultural reformulation do not necessarily imply a collapse in meanxngor emotive power; rather, the Toraja case lends support to recent calls to rethink the discourse of "authenticity" and "staged authenticity."

Author Posting © 1997, University of Pittsburgh, Department of Anthropology. This article is posted here by permission of University of Pittsburgh, Department of Anthropology for personal use, not for redistribution. The article was published in Ethnology, Volume 36, Number 4, 1997,

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Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0
Citation Information
Adams, K. (1997). "Ethnic Tourism and the Renegotiation of Tradition in Tana Toraja (Sulawesi, Indonesia)." Ethnology, 36(4), p. 309-320.