Framing Maya Culture: Tourism, Representation and the Case of Quetzaltenango

Matthew Tegelberg (mtegelberg@gmail.com)
Cultural Studies, Trent University
October, 2012
 

Abstract

This dissertation investigates symbolic and political dimensions of the representation of Maya culture for global tourist consumption. After tracing the nineteenth-century origins of a western fascination with Maya culture, I demonstrate how three classic tropes remain prevalent in mainstream media representations of Guatemala’s thriving Maya tourism sector. I then compare representations of Maya culture in guidebooks, websites and other popular texts with a shift away from dominant representational logic in alternative tourist media. By combining critical discourse analysis with ethnographic field research in
Quetzaltenango, Guatemala, I offer a detailed picture of the shifting dynamics of tourist representation in developing communities.
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We wish to acknowledge the financial support of the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council for their financial support through theAid to Scholarly Journals Program.

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