Home Institution

University of Richmond

Publication Date

Fall 2013

Program Name

Chile: Social, Economic, and Political Transformation


Cultural or community-based tourism has grown exponentially in the last decade. This article seeks to, from a post-colonial theory perspective, analyze the process of developing community-based tourism in indigenous communities, identify the conditions that allow for the reproduction of colonial elements in this activity, and explore the elements that guarantee a higher degree of autonomy in the community to generate new decolonization processes. The hypothesis argues that community-based tourism carries both a colonial legacy and elements that allow for a process of decolonization or the creation of a new consciousness in relation to such colonial legacy. The article presents the case study of community-based tourism with the Mapuche group in the Valle de Elicura, located in the municipality of Contulmo in the BioBio Region. Methods include interviews, archival research, review of multimedia resources, and observation during field work. The analysis focuses on the structure of the relations of power within the development of community-based tourism and the commercialization of ethnic cultures and identities. Results show a number of colonial elements that are found within the processes of community-based tourism. The article concludes that units of analysis such as “culture,” “identity,” “authenticity,” “discourse,” and “power” are useful to the study of community-based tourism. Furthermore, the article presents a number of suggestions for future research on the subject.


Civic and Community Engagement | Community-Based Research | Family, Life Course, and Society | Inequality and Stratification | Race, Ethnicity and Post-Colonial Studies | Tourism


Article Location