Glimpses of Another World: The Favela as a Tourist Attraction

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Abstract:

The paper explores how the Favela turned from a social problem into a touristic attraction by analysing the favela on three spatial levels. The first level deals with its consolidation as a social and geographical space and its manifestation as an international sociological category. On a second level the representations of the Favela in public discourse are condensed into two main positions – the problem-centred representation (Favela) and the idealized representation (comunidade). On a third level the exploitation of the Favela as a touristic space is analysed critically based on guided interviews with tour operators, guides and participating tourists. The results show that ‘Favela tourism’ in Rio de Janeiro has reached mass tourism dimensions and is characterized by an almost exclusive dominance of external agencies but little participation of the local population as well as scarce interaction between locals and tourists, who are bonded by the search for the ‘authentic’ other.

Keywords: Brazil; Favela; Rio de Janeiro; Rocinha; place transformation; slum; space; tourism

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/14616688.2011.609999

Affiliations: Independent scholar,

Publication date: May 1, 2012

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