Tel.: +7 (495) 938-00-19
32a, Leninskiy av., Moscow, 119334, Russian Federation
PhD in Law, Post-doc Fellow, N. N. Miklukho-Maklay Institute of Ethnology and Anthropology, Russian Academy of Science
During the three last decades villages in Xinjiang populated by China’s Tuva people were turned into destinations for mass tourism. This brought significant changes to their traditional lifestyle, heavily influenced their self-identity and shaped the development of their ethnic culture. Ethno-cultural tourism is also heavily promoted now in Russia as a sort of panacea for issues concerning national minorities and the author attempts to highlight the risks this entails, taking the Tuva people of Xinjiang as an example. He shows that “ethnic monetization” caused by the pursuit of profit, unavoidable during this process, may cause a loss of dignity, conflict over values and, eventually, social and cultural marginalization of territories that have been turned into exhibitions of traditional culture. The article suggests that in order to avoid similar excesses the interests of the indigenous groups in question must be taken into consideration, their living environment preserved, and their traditional culture not turned into commodities.
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