chapter  2
20 Pages

Contested Environments: Tourism, Indigeneity, and Ideologies of Development

This chapter moves geographically from the Caribbean to the Pacifi c, comparing the struggles of indigenous communities to retain control of land in the context of encroaching tourism development. Looking especially at groups in positions of relative disempowerment within their own islands, it builds on conclusions drawn from a geographical perspective by Jeffrey Davis in his work on the Bikini Atoll (evacuated for nuclear testing by the US in 1946 and now being refashioned as a tourist destination).1 Davis states that:

Being able to demonstrate that the currently hegemonic view of a place is historically contingent, political, exploitive, and dependent on its being seen by people as legitimate can be a powerful starting point for a group that lacks economic, political, and institutional power due to years of exploitation. Tactically, in any contest over place, to say that your view [ . . . ] is right and another group’s view [ . . . ] is wrong is only the start. It is imperative to understand how other groups have discursively constructed and imagined the place, how they have marshaled adherents to their views, and how they have gained the ability to inscribe their views in the material landscape. It is important to consider these discursive-material mechanisms of place reproduction in order to infl uence them for political ends.