Trekkingforum.com

Zurück   Trekkingforum.com > Himalaya und Karakorum > Nepal > Nepal Insights

Trekkingforum Service
Impressum Präambel
Netikette Werte
Datenschutzbestimmungen
Forenregeln - Benutzerkonsens
Hilfe / FAQ Wer ist online
Alles als gelesen markieren
Interessengemeinschaften
Alle Interessensgruppen
Alle IG-Kategorien
Fotogalerie & Alle Alben
Fotos hochladen
Neueste Fotos
Neueste Bildkommentare
Alle Alben
Diashow
Diashow
Trekkingforum Termine
Kalender
Fernsehsendungen
Offlinetreffen

Antwort
 
Themen-Optionen Ansicht
  #1  
Alt 07.02.2003, 13:38
Benutzerbild von Bjoerk
Bjoerk Bjoerk ist offline
schreibt viel
 
Registriert seit: 18.01.2003
Ort: Berlin
Beiträge: 253
Galerie: 0
Standard Touristic Forms of Life

Touristic forms of life in Nepal

Sharon J. Hepburn

Trent University, Canada

Received 18 February 1999; revised 21 January 2000 and 31 July 2000; accepted 16 February 2001 Refereed anonymously. Coordinating Editor: Trevor Sofield. Available online 4 July 2002.



Abstract
For many Nepalis the word "tourist" signifies not simply a traveler, but a kind of person––white, "developed"––as a racial/ethnic/caste/species designation within an idiom of personhood common throughout South Asia. This paper illustrates how Nepalis in the Kathmandu Valley diversely talk about and categorize tourists in relation to other categories of person. It also illustrates how Nepalis differentiate––in their own terms––between the different kinds of foreigners who visit their country. Based on this ethnographic data, this paper elaborates on the ideas of Wittgenstein and Winch and argues that tourism must be understood in terms of a range of touristic "forms of life" that encompass local cultural meanings.

Résumé
Formes de vie touristiques au Népal. Pour beaucoup de Népalais, le mot "touriste" signifie non seulement un voyageur, mais une sorte de personne––blanche, "développée"––comme désignation de race, ethnie, caste et espèce suivant un langage de la personne qui est courant partout en Asie du Sud. Le présent article illustre les différentes façons dont les Népalais de la vallée de Katmandou discutent des touristes et les classent par catégories en relation à d'autres catégories de personnes. L'article illustre aussi comment les Népalais font la distinction, selon leurs propres termes, entre les différentes sortes d'étrangers qui visitent leur pays. Basé sur ces données ethnographiques, l'article développe les idées de Wittgenstein et de Winch, en soutenant qu'il faut comprendre le tourisme en fonction d'une gamme de "formes de vie" touristiques qui comprennent les significations culturelles locales.

Author Keywords: caste; ethnicity; identity; Nepal; whiteness; thangkas; Indian tourism; culture; perceptionAuthor Keywords: caste; ethnicité; identité; Népal; appartenance à la race blanche; thangkas; tourisme indien; culture; perception


Article Outline
1. Introduction
1.1. Tourism(s) as Forms of Life
2. Caste, tourists, and personhood
2.1. Nepalese Classification of Self and Others
2.2. The Tourist as a Category of Person
2.3. Tourists Versus Japanese and Indians as Categories of Person
3. Conclusion
Acknowledgements
References
Vitae


1. Introduction
For many Nepalis, a "Tourist" is not a person who puts aside more lasting identities in order to travel: rather, the word often means "white person". A Tourist is a "sort" of person, as understood within the caste idiom common throughout South Asia. This term can mark a range of social categories and statuses depending on context, including race, culture, class, species, or caste. As this distinction in usage is central to this paper, the word "tourist" is capitalized if it is clear the speaker (the author or Nepali) means it as a racial/ethnic/caste designation. It is not capitalized if it is being used in a commonsensical Western way. If the meaning is ambiguous, this is represented by the hybrid form "T/tourist."

This paper illustrates how Nepalis diversely talk about and categorize Tourists (which can include some tourists) in relation to other categories of person. In doing so, it addresses the perduring questions of what "the tourist" and "tourism" are, from a vantage point which is perhaps unlikely––through the idea of "form of life" as presented by Ludwig Wittgenstein and developed by Peter Winch a few decades ago. Although he is known to many for his influence on debates concerning positivism in the social sciences, no longer headline news, a fresh re-reading of Winch offers a way to think and talk about touristic situations apart from definitional circles, to show "tourism" as encompassing and variously defined by multiple interacting social/cultural worlds.

The main work of the paper is to illustrate the context of local cultural meanings in which "tourists"––however they might be conceived in Western categories, or "forms of life"––are conceptualized differently in the forms of life of Nepalese culture(s). Thus, understanding "tourism" in Nepal (and by implication other "foreign" destinations) requires, on the one hand, acknowledging that when Western researchers recognize a constellation of activities, people, and structures, and call it "tourism," they are recognizing a "form of life" particular to their own historical-cultural context. On the other hand, researchers must also recognize that these activities, people, and structures that they call "tourism" are understood, by Nepalese (or locals elsewhere), by quite different but equally compelling local meanings. This paper suggests that instead of talking about "tourism," it might often be useful to think in terms of a range of touristic forms of life that encompass local cultural meanings, and presents a picture of tourism and tourists in Nepal that is, like all such situations, an event uniquely shaped by and situated between "forms of life" which themselves are fluid.

The questions of this paper arose during research between 1990 and 1993 on the business of painting thangkas (religious scroll paintings) for tourists in the Kathmandu Valley. The answers offered here are based on the comments of not only these painters, but also the thoughts of a wide variety of people lived and/or interacted with over the three year research period. They commonly speak no European language and thus have had little or no actual conversation with tourists, even though they have had much opportunity to observe them. Many informants are painters, however. The business––as opposed to ritual painting (Blackwood 1987; Blom 1989; Toffin 1995)––encompasses multiple ethnic groups ( Bentor 1993) and has historical depth that parallels the development of tourism in Nepal ( Blackwood 1987).

The overall project was to understand the diverse way in which people thought about tourists, and how that in turn influenced how they thought about their own lives. Fisher (1986, 1990) has described this process of mutual evaluation and admiration, and Adams (1996) the process of mimesis for the Sherpas of Northern Nepal. The focus on thangka painting was inspired by studies of tourism and ethnic arts which show that the question of authenticity as it relates to identity arises for, and is contested by, both hosts and guests. van den Berghe and Keyes (1984) and Volkman (1990) address in various ways how tourism clarifies questions concerning which attributes distinguish groups of people, and thus are "authentic", important markers of difference. Following Burland and Forman (1969) and Lips (1937), Graburn (1976) and Phillips (1999) show in various ways how "Fourth World" art, particularly art produced for tourists, is a medium around which ethnicities emerge and identities are modified. The forms of these goods reflect what tourists think is authentic, and these notions of authenticity become part of how the population thinks about what and who they are. Given the multi-ethnic domain of the thangka business (with many markers of difference at play), it seemed a potentially fertile venue to hear people talk about who and what they are, in light of their observations of the tourist clients.

Thangka painting was important in some painters' thinking about their lives and identity––even those who started recently and did not come from a painting caste––and is described fully elsewhere (Hepburn 1997). In the present article, more salient than the particular caste or occupation of the painter, is their positioning as people with very marginal incomes and little education, who have little if any contact with tourists, yet have much to say about them based on representations, rumors, and observations––usually from a distance. Quite aside from the particular reflections on identity that the literature cited above would lead one to expect to hear, these painters shared views about tourists with other Nepalis who had nothing to do with painting. Although they may be concerned with their particular identities within the Nepali state, they also think about their Nepali identities in relation to the tourists.

It took a year to recognize that tourists were not thought of only in their apparently obvious association with "modernity" or in their role, as Smith puts it, of "a temporarily leisured person who voluntarily visits a place away from home for the purpose of experiencing a change" (1978:1). Although these features had salience ( Hepburn 2000), many Nepalis thought another attribute more fundamental, their "caste". Thus, when a Nepali says "tourist" they might better be understood to mean "Tourist," a racial/caste/ethnic, and possibly class category of person/species. For example, a thangka salesman answered the question "Who buys these thangkas?" with the response "Tourists, and some Japanese." A woman who runs a lodge near the Tibetan border looked through a Time magazine (left by a tourist) from the time of the Persian Gulf war. She pointed at a photograph of three men in military uniform in the Persian Gulf, and identified them in turn as "Nepali, but I don't know where from" (a man who looked local to the Gulf) "Habsi" (the common derogatory term for Blacks), and "Tourist" (a white person in military uniform). In a similar vein, in a neighboring lodge, after recognizing that this researcher had a "Nepali name," and also a "Tibetan name," summarized "So, Chandra Maya with Nepalis, Drolma with Tibetans, " and then asked, "What is your Tourist name?" The answer was, of course, "Sharon."

These conversations at the time did not prompt the obvious questions: "Aren't Japanese Tourists?" or "How can I have a `tourist' name?" But those and similar questions directed the project thereafter. These conversations, and others like them, when heard with "Nepali ears" so to speak, suggested––after a year in the field already––that the project had been mistakenly approached on the assumption that "tourism" is a "form of life" in and of itself, and was an easily recognizable formation wherever it is studied.

1.1. Tourism(s) as Forms of Life
Peter Winch's The Idea of a Social Science (1958) and Understanding a Primitive Society (1964) spoke to and influenced a time when positivism in the social sciences, then dominant in the Anglo-American world, was being contested. The time is now passed, and his ideas––themselves in a clear trajectory from Weber's (1949) ideas of "meaningful action"––are in the view of many now passé. The same themes are being developed and articulated by others, weaving in the threads of Dilthey (1976) and Gadamer's (1975) ideas about interpretation and the nature of cultural and social life. Most well known in anthropology, for example, Geertz advocates in his widely read and cited paper "From the Native's Point of View" (1983) that the mandate of cultural anthropology should be to interpret the particularities of how people diversely understand the world, in their own terms, rather than seek "laws" or regularities, as a model based on the natural sciences would suggest.

Drawing from Wittgenstein's philosophical investigations, Winch (1958) argued that action (as meaningful behavior) must be interpreted and understood in the terms through which the actor conceives of it. He extensively uses Evans-Pritchard's ethnography (1937) to make his point. Winch agrees with Evans-Pritchard that witchcraft (as an internally rational and self-validating system) is as logical as science, but questions the need to compare it to science at all. Science is a "form of life," he says, an activity that has rules that govern behavior within a particular frame of meaning. Witchcraft, for the Azande, on the other hand, is an entirely different "form of life." It may have some similarities with science if they are sought for, but why not take their idiom for understanding the world on its own terms? Likewise, it would be making a category mistake to look for "religion" in other cultures by assuming the existence in that culture of a natural/supernatural opposition (or even these categories) as commonsensically understood in the West. The idea of a "form of life" will be discussed later. Notably for now, tourism research is generally directed by apparently commonsensical understandings of what it is and means; but this way, research on tourism is directed by the Western form of life "tourism."

Given that mass (and other kinds of) tourism as a phenomenon developed in the Western world, in a particular sociohistorical context, and given that a large number of the world's tourists are from Western countries, at first glance it seems very reasonable that research on tourism and tourists should be directed by a Western "gaze." It might be reasonable to assume that because tourism is a very Western "form of life," the commonsensical understandings would be an entirely suitable and adequate vantage point from which to observe it.

But while the tourist, as for example "modern man," searches for meaning and authenticity in the life and labor of others (MacCannell 1976), how is the tourist––his presence and activities––thought about by the person whose labor has become a spectacle? The tourist "gaze" ( Urry (1990) after Foucault (1973)), shaped by historical-cultural circumstance, meets the host gaze, also so shaped. These gazes, this labor, these lives, separately and in interaction form the context and content of virtually all touristic encounters, as diverse as "tourism" itself. While scholars ( Cohen 1979; Leiper 1979; Nash 1981; Smith 1978) have sought to define, describe, and analyze distinct kinds of tourism and tourists and even the discipline of tourism studies ( Tribe 1997), it is easy for Western scholars to approach the subject with the same gaze as the tourist, a Western gaze coming behind and with the tourists. This may be entirely appropriate when those visited are themselves clearly participants in Western forms of life. But in contexts in which the hosts are clearly culturally "Other," it might be appropriate to refocus the research gaze to look at the tourists and touristic situations from the cultural viewpoint of those who live in tourist destinations.

This paper contrasts the points of view of inhabitants of two forms of life, each of which encompasses a notion of what a "tourist" and "tourism" are. In the dialogue between these two points of view, those in the Western form of life hold to and defend their interpretation of situations involving tourists, to which is offered, from the Nepali side, a recasting of the situation.

__________________
Die Schönheit ist da;
man muß nur ein Auge dafür haben
oder es wenigstens nicht absichtlich verschließen. - Theodor Fontane
Mit Zitat antworten
  #2  
Alt 07.02.2003, 13:40
Benutzerbild von Bjoerk
Bjoerk Bjoerk ist offline
schreibt viel
 
Registriert seit: 18.01.2003
Ort: Berlin
Beiträge: 253
Galerie: 0
Standard Re: Touristic forms of life ....

2. Caste, tourists, and personhood
A tourist is, of course, a person. But what a person is can vary cross-culturally (Shweder and Bourne 1984). South Asian civilization has been presented by Dumont (1980), Marriott (1976), and Daniel (1984) as the antithesis of Western society. In the latter, the person is above all an individual, in the former the person is "dividual." Although this may not be an absolute opposition, and Dumont's position that the individual self is not recognized may be extreme ( McHugh 1989; Parish 1994), the overall point is sound. In South Asia a person is very definitely located by many (even most) within a particular category of persons––called a caste or jaat, a polysemic term that marks their identity in many cases more than any individual characteristic or role would. Although there is some opposition to the caste system today, the fact that so many hold that it should be maintained is some indication that (for whatever reason) the categories are held to be real by many. Furthermore, Marriott's idea that people are "dividual" in that their bodies/persons are not coterminous with the boundaries of their flesh seems to hold true in its implications, in practice, in Nepal today. For example, many who would contest the caste system would still not invite lower caste people into their homes, for fear of contamination by contact with less pure dividuals.

2.1. Nepalese Classification of Self and Others
The Nepalese state was created in 1769, founded by Prithvi Narayan Shah, who sought to organize his newly conquered and consolidated lands by creating a caste system in which to place the disparate people who inhabited the territory that was to be the new Nepal (Stiller 1973). He modeled the new social order on the four-fold classification of people common throughout South Asia. His Dibya Upadesh (treatise on government) describes Nepal as a "garden" with 36 species of "flower," or jaat (caste), organized into four varnas. The crucial organizing principle of the caste system is that a person's caste denotes their purity relative to members of other castes. The varnas are, in descending hierarchical order of purity, the Brahmins (priests), the Kshatriyas (warrior/rulers), the Vaisyas (merchants/artisans), and the Sudras (servants). Below these even are the Untouchables (sometimes thought of as a fifth varna). They do work judged within the Hindu world to be ritually polluting, such as butchers, tailors, sweepers, and blacksmiths. Every jaat has a place within one of the varnas. A person's jaat influences the kind of work socially prescribed for them, as in the descriptions above. Jaat identity also prescribes and proscribes who a person may eat or not eat with, accept or not accept water from, how they will interact in a wide variety of settings, and their rights and penalties under the law (Hofer 1979).

Jaat (meaning species, type, sort) is often used interchangeably––by English speaking Nepalis and foreigners alike––with the word caste. Dumont suggests that the word caste comes from the Spanish and Portuguese "casta" which means "something not mixed" (1980:21). Marriott and Inden trace the word to origins in an Indo-European verbal root meaning "genesis," "origin," or "birth," as it can be used to describe any kind of living thing including, among humans, "a distinct sex, a race, a caste, or a tribe; a population, the followers of an occupation or a religion, or a nation" (1977:349). Quigley points out that the word jaat derives from the Sanskrit verbal root jan/ja "generate, be born". Further, it is commonly used in Sanskrit texts to "denote generic qualities or properties constituting a class such as gotva, cow-hood, or suklatva, white-ness, which refer to the classes of all cows and all things white respectively" (1993:5). Gellner notes that the term jaat is so broad that it can be taken to mean "type" or "kind" (1995:3). Thus, the new state of Nepal created a caste system based in the idea of separate types or kinds of people sharing an essential quality, and arranged hierarchically in terms of purity: the Brahmins, being pure, were at the top, and the impure untouchables at the bottom did the ritually defiling work of society ( Sharma 1997:478–9).

In these ways, the word jaat is polysemic and the nature of its complexity is integral to understanding the contexts of the usages of the word Tourist––to designate a caste, class, race, ethnicity, or nationality, or any combination of these. In Hofer's (1979) analysis of the Muluki Ain, the legal code drafted in 1854, based on Privithi Narayan Shah's vision of the caste system in Nepal, he notes at least four meanings of jaat. One, it can be a "taxonomically distinct group ... within the hierarchy" which would be a group of people identifying themselves with one of the named categories in the code. Two, a jaat can be a group within, but not sharing most food with similarly defined groups within the same caste as defined in the first group. Three, a jaat can be an ethnically (culturally and linguistically) distinct group which can embrace several castes in the sense of the first group. Four, a jaat can refer to a legal status in general (Hofer 1979:113). All these meanings still have salience today in Nepal. These days, however, jaat in the first, second, and third senses can also be referred to as jaati, "ethnicity" thereby turning castes into ethnic groups, inspired say some Nepali scholars (Sharma 1997), by exposure to Western political discourses. In line with the definitions of Marriott (1976) Nepalis also speak of the "women's jaat" (equating "jaat" with biological sex) or the "Nepali jaat" (equating "jaat" with citizens of a realm). Nepalis often also use the term to distinguish between people who evidence a constellation of physical features that might be called a race. For example, Habsi jaat, refers to those who in North America would be called Black. Thus, jaat, depending on context, can mean caste, ethnicity, a group sharing cultural or linguistic features, nation, sex, or race.

At the time of the drafting of the Muluki Ain, Europeans in Nepal were almost entirely "white," and were included in the hierarchy of jaat drawn up in the code, even though their number was small. Europeans were given the name mlecch , a Sanskrit word meaning "barbarian" or "pagan" (Hofer 1979:52). The mlecch were placed along with Muslims next to the Sudras (servants) at the very bottom of the hierarchy of varnas, only just above the untouchables who many consider non-human (Gellner 1995:11; Hofer 1979:14, 137). Accordingly, the place of Europeans in this world-view was/is the opposite of where they generally placed themselves in The Great Chain of Being (Lovejoy 1961); that is, they are not at the top just below the angels. Some Nepalese today have rationales for this, echoing the arguments of European social/racial evolutionists. "Look at the monkeys at the temple," said one man, "they eat with both hands, like Tourists, whereas Nepalis eat with one hand. Look at their faces: their skin is pink with freckles, their hair is light. This shows that tourists are between the monkeys and Nepalis." When tourists talk "their language sounds like the monkeys: like broken bottles––`shi-shi,'" offered another. A village women once, having seen turn-of-the-century pictures of European bustles, asked to see my "tail" as confirmation of her belief that bustles functioned to enclose tails, of which the Europeans were "ashamed," she thought.

Privithi Narayan Shah's vision of the state, as noted earlier, became formalized with a legal code in 1854, the Muluki Ain , which not only specified rights, responsibilities, and penalties under the law according to caste, but also specified rules for commensuality and physical contact (Hofer 1979). It is here that the notion of the "dividual" becomes salient. As Daniel (1984) eloquently describes, people are composed of substances of various measures of purity, but also character; and these can split off from a person, mingle with the substance of other people and things, and thereby change their own character and purity/impurity. Also hierarchy is defined by level of purity among social/caste categories. In this light, a legal code determining who can eat with or come into contact with another is entirely congruent with this notion of social life comprised of "dividuals." People did not, of course, rely on the law to protect their purity. Jang Bahadur Rana, a prime minister of Nepal, for example, visited Europe from 1850–1851 and took along with him sufficient water for the trip, to avoid drinking any that was potentially touched, or bore the substance or character of presumably "dividual" Europeans ( Whelpton 1983). The Muluki Ain, in an amended form (1963) still lives on in practice, shaping social life in Nepal today, carrying forward concerns about the vulnerable purity of dividuals.

Nepal maintained an isolationist policy, with respect to Europeans in particular, under rule by a family, the Ranas, for a century until 1951. Until then, the isolation previously largely determined by mountains to the north, east, and west, and malarial belt to the south, intensified and became almost absolute. Except for a few British officials, Europeans were denied entry; resident missionaries were deported; all newspapers and radios were banned. However, aided by the Indian Congress, the Ranas were overthrown in 1951 and Nepal began opening to the world, including allowing foreign visitors, now grown to numbers sufficient to make the present tourism industry a mainstay of the Nepalese economy.

In the social world of Nepal today, the categories of the Muluki Ain are both upheld and contested, and other forms of identity are being asserted and recognized. Non-caste understandings of jaat such as class and gender are seen by some as politically salient along with, or instead of, jaat/caste identity. So, too, the identity of "European" from the Muluki Ain is also transforming, although vestiges of it still remain (Hepburn 1997). Even though included in the Muluki Ain , Europeans were not and are not thought of as a Nepali jaat proper. Given the polysemy of the word jaat, it makes sense that all named groups were jaats. Thus, it was recognized that Nepalis were also of the Nepal (realm) jaat, whereas Europeans were of a different (realm) jaat. In fact, the code may have first been instituted as part of an effort to mark Nepal as uncontaminated by foreigners. Hofer suggests that the Muluki Ain might have been "... a security screen against the outside world ... [and] ... demarcated the country's society against foreign societies and cultures by defining it as a specifically `national' caste hierarchy" (Hofer 1979:40). The Muluki Ain explicitly held that the Brahmins "of the unsullied Hill Country", being untainted by the rule of foreigners (such as the British) were "... superior to the Brahmins of other countries and kingdoms" (Burghart 1984:117).

Therefore, although Europeans were given a place in the caste-based code, their placement, at the bottom just above the untouchables along with other outsiders, is indicative of their status as defiling outsiders. While they have caste-like qualities––the ability to pollute––they are not of a Nepali caste. What is most pertinent here is that a "tourist" or a "European" is, like any other person in Nepal, viewed by many Nepalis in terms of a notion of personhood that entails ideas of jaat as caste/ species. That is, discrete categories of "dividuals" share some essence, whose "individual" boundaries are not coterminous with those of the flesh as is generally understood in Western culture. In respect to Jang Bahadur's nineteenth century concern (avoiding water touched by a European), he was concerned with defiling himself by consuming something touched by someone ranked lower in the Muluki Ain. This indicates that he believed that Europeans, like Nepalis, were dividuals––whose substance essence could mix with others' substances. In the late 20th century, while doing research, this European herself ate meals with higher (than herself) caste Nepalis, in restaurants and homes, and was assured that this commensuality was not a problem because a priest could always perform a purification rite. Although for some, Tourists might not be a Nepali caste, they are thought about in the logic that underlies the caste system. In sum, a "tourist" or "European" is not in general viewed primarily in terms of a temporary role, as an individual with agency. They are variously classified by Nepalis as members of jaats––as that term is variously used by Nepalis. When they come to Nepal, Tourists are seen to be members of a jaat (caste, species, sort, race, nationality etc., depending on context) entering into a social landscape populated by other jaats, also variously conceived.

__________________
Die Schönheit ist da;
man muß nur ein Auge dafür haben
oder es wenigstens nicht absichtlich verschließen. - Theodor Fontane
Mit Zitat antworten
  #3  
Alt 07.02.2003, 13:43
Benutzerbild von Bjoerk
Bjoerk Bjoerk ist offline
schreibt viel
 
Registriert seit: 18.01.2003
Ort: Berlin
Beiträge: 253
Galerie: 0
Standard Re: Touristic forms of life ....

2.2. The Tourist as a Category of Person
Along the trails and in the towns of Nepal, Tourists encounter other people. By markers such as clothes, language, and behavior, they may quickly identify and remember some people they meet: the Australian couple, the group of Israelis just out of the army, the Japanese ecotourists, that "alternative" Canadian family, the German man who raved about the raves in Goa, the medical student from Ohio, the American Peace Corps volunteers.

Tourists may also recognize and remember different kinds of Nepalis. They may know the names given to people in areas they go through, and the caste of their porter or guide. They may recognize someone to be a "Tibetan" of some sort, or a generic "Nepali" or "Sherpa." But often their knowledge of Nepalis––as expressed to the author and her research assistant––was limited and fragmentary. Often it is just the gleanings of guidebooks and talk with other tourists, or it is based on their familiarity with a thin slice of the country.

Likewise, when a Nepali walks along those same streets and trails, they encounter a landscape populated with people that they recognize––from their particular vantage point––as members of different jaats, or castes. By markers such as clothes, language, behavior, or a direct questioning of a companion's view, a Nepali may be quick to recognize and remember some of the people they see: the Brahmin village school teacher, the soldier in the Gurkha regiment returning from Hong Kong on leave, the young Tamang women on their way to visit a sick sister, the Newari civil servant on way to make a pilgrimage. They might also recognize "Japanese" and "Tourists." Some Nepalis might differentiate between types of Tourist: they might remember the man drawing buildings for his "research," the German volunteers living in their village, or those "hippies" on the bus. But more commonly, just as a Tourist's basis for recognizing difference among Nepalis is often limited, so is the knowledge by which a Nepali will identify and contextualize individual Tourists.

Often this usage of "Tourist" is not congruent with the tourist's perception. Many Tourists, hearing what they are called, are amused or indignant. When long term Tourists in Nepal, such as researchers, aid workers, or missionaries, hear themselves being called Tourists, particularly by Nepalis they know, they tend towards indignation rather than amusement. They question whether Nepalis can differentiate among types of whites, and why Japanese and Indians are not considered tourists. But for some Nepalis, a "white person" equals a "Tourist"––their complex jaat designation.

The people in the described encounters––the lodge keepers, porters, and thangka salesman––all work with Tourists for their livelihood, and it might be easy to suspect that the term "Tourist" comes easily to them, based on their experience, but less easily to others. But the word as a marker of a kind of person––white, that is––has in fact come into wide usage, by people other than those who work in tourism. For example, a clothes washer in Kathmandu, who does not generally deal directly with tourists, explained his seemingly high prices by saying he charged the same to rich Nepalis too, and "... to another Tourist like you," who lived also in Nepal for a long time and spoke Nepali.

The straightforward examples of Tourist meaning a white person could be endless, but cases of confusion make the meaning clearer. A Nepali woman in Patan (a city in the Kathmandu Valley) asked whether there were Tourists at the Patan (mission) hospital. On the assumption that she was thinking that if tourists go there, it must be a good place, the answer was "Yes, tourists go there, it's a good hospital". The woman seemed confused and perhaps irritated at the researcher's slowness to comprehend what she meant, as if this Tourist did not understand what she was. "No," the woman rephrased her question slowly, "there are Tourists who work there, aren't there, Tourist doctors?"

Similarly, the early days of this research involved telling Nepalis that the project was about tourism. The response was usually a cautious nod, presumably acknowledging the researcher's education and understanding of unfamiliar things, rather than indicating their own comprehension. In contrast, later in the research, the response to an alternative description of the project as about the Tourist jaat, was immediate and often mixed with pleasure and amusement: "Ah, good, the Tourist jaat," and the recognition was often followed by a story, about the Tourist jaat. These cases of confusion highlight the differing usage, and clarify the alternative Nepali meanings. So do the three ways Tourists object to what they are called.

An anthropologist friend almost jokingly complained about her research assistant. "I heard her call me a tourist! I can't believe it! I set her straight on that one right away. I am not a tourist!" She perhaps found it "frightening" as Dumont (1977:225) suggested anthropologists would when realizing any resemblance to tourists. The thought might have been a "painful experience", as Crick (1985:76) observed. It could have raised for her van den Berghe's question of whether the anthropologist is "an in-depth tourist or an entirely different breed of sensation seeker" (1980:376). But her objection and vexation is born of misunderstanding context. Tourists see themselves as white and foreign too. But they define themselves through roles or careers––anthropologists, doctors, US Peace Corps Volunteers––which they have chosen to be and do. In this culture, people meeting quickly follow "How do you do?" with "What do you do?". This achievement is (theoretically) more important than their birth conditions. Whites tend to take their colouring for granted, because this is an unmarked category at home. For a white, "tourist" is a less real role with subcategories such as ecotourist, budget tourist, pilgrim, educated drifter, traveler, and package tourist as Cohen (1984), Graburn (1977, 1983) Errington and Gewertz (1989) and others have considered. For them, a "tourist" usually has more lasting identities, briefly travels away from home, and may also just happen to be white. Thinking this way in Nepal, they might readily object to being called "Tourist". "Can't they see the difference between us, that some just visit, but others live here, and work here, and speak Nepali, and aren't ... just tourists?" They are mainly irritated because––in a form of racism––their whiteness is primary and what they do secondary.

Further examples confirm this mixed understanding. The woman talking about Patan hospital realized that "Tourist doctors" do more than simply be white. A villager who knows a Peace Corps Volunteer teacher calls him a "Tourist Master." A lodge keeper who regularly hosts scholars calls them (and this researcher) "Research Tourists." A thangka painter met his first tourist in his village ten years ago when UNICEF installed water pipes and the project director was "a Tourist, a German." A lodge keeper recalled the first tourist in the area: "about 20 years ago she came. She lived in that house, she dressed like us, she ate like us, she spoke our language and asked lots of questions." To Nepalis, diverse Tourists also happen to do different things, stay different lengths of time, and enter into different kinds of relationship with Nepalis. To many, there are different kinds of Tourists: those who come and go quickly, those who stay a while, and some who come and work. But underlying this diversity is a common factor: Tourists are all able to "come and go," a further point that will be returned to later.

To complicate matters, Nepalis do not all call white people Tourists. Sometimes, just as some white people might recognize a Nepali to be a Gurung or a Brahmin, a Nepali might call a white person a German, American, or Canadian––or even a researcher, volunteer, or perhaps even a tourist. Sometimes they might use a specific term such as gora (white man) or gori (white woman). In areas where many men have served in the British army, many people call all whites "British," or Angrez gora (English white person). Thus, different names are used to refer to white people. Just as each Nepali has had a unique constellation of experiences and associations with individuals who they identify as members of other Nepali named groups, so too each Nepali has come to conceptualize white people in terms of their own situation and experience, in particular contexts in which whites have played a role.

"Kuire", a term often applied to white people, warrants particular consideration here because it is a label that most Nepali-speaking Tourists dislike, yet it is a term which some Nepalis say is not derogatory. Some Nepalis when asked the meaning call it purely descriptive, of blue, brown, green, or even yellow eyes; others elaborate that it describes a person with "fuzzy" coloring (the word derives from the Nepali for fog or mist), such as lighter blond, red, or brown hair, and pale or freckled skin. When Nepalis use this term to describe another Nepali, this word is descriptive. Yet applied to Tourists, the term is also somewhat derogatory and socially distancing. Indicative of the word's ambiguous nature, Nepalis might call it purely descriptive, but then be taken aback at hearing researchers use the term self-referentially––advising "That's not the right way to talk, better to say `foreigner' or `British'". Or Nepalis might say Kuire among themselves, then moments later substitute "foreigner" or "Tourist" when addressing a Tourist in an otherwise Nepali language communication.

Tourists resident in Nepal associate Kuire with American usages like "spic" (for Spanish speakers) and "nigger" (for Blacks). Others say "nigger" is not analogous as it is used by the powerful over the powerless, and the reverse situation often holds in Nepal, so "honky" (for white) is a closer parallel. In any case, the term marks undeniable social distance. Paraphrasing one Nepali man now living outside Nepal, "Kuire ... are those alien white people, who go to Nepal and are so bizarre, so erratic, who go seeking who knows what, who are these so `other' in every way, very not-like-us, white people." Kuire , in this view, are like a separate species. This understanding of the word is congruous with the idea, elaborated on above, that the Europeans of the Muluki Ain are in the caste system, but not of it.

Returning to the main point here, many Nepalis call whites "Tourist" much of the time, with alternative terms such as American and Kuire often used interchangeably. For instance, interviews with Nepalis (mostly of the Tamang caste/ethnicity), who paint thankgas for sale illustrate a variety of terms used interchangeably with "Tourist." According to one painter, "All Kuire are called Americans. We know they have different countries and languages. But the face is the same, so it's easy to say American. Only Kuire looks like a Tourist". According to another painter, "Because of eyes and bodies, all Kuire are called American". Commenting on art theft, another believes "Because of Tourists, Nepali people steal gods and goddesses. Otherwise they wouldn't think of doing it. Tourists even give them weapons to do it. If Kuire did not encourage them, Nepalis wouldn't do it". Still another thinks that tourists "come from many places. This includes Japan. But the words Kuire [and American] and Tourist come very easily together".

__________________
Die Schönheit ist da;
man muß nur ein Auge dafür haben
oder es wenigstens nicht absichtlich verschließen. - Theodor Fontane
Mit Zitat antworten
  #4  
Alt 07.02.2003, 13:43
Benutzerbild von Bjoerk
Bjoerk Bjoerk ist offline
schreibt viel
 
Registriert seit: 18.01.2003
Ort: Berlin
Beiträge: 253
Galerie: 0
Standard Re: Touristic forms of life ....

This last comment nearly answers the Tourists' objection, "What about the Japanese and Indians. Aren't they tourists too?" But the racist objection holds for T/tourist, because it refers foremost to whiteness. Some Nepali friends have told this author of their surprise to learn––by word or visiting the USA––that Black people (and "so many Black people&quot can be Americans. For example, a Black marine guardsman was posted outside the USA embassy in Kathmandu for some time. A Nepali friend asked if the United States, like the United Kingdom and India, hired mercenary soldiers for their army, because that man, being Black, could not be American. This all needs to be clarified.

Nepal was never politically colonized by white people, yet most whites visit in a position of power over Nepalis, due to wealth, echoing Nash's (1978) description of tourism as neo-imperialism. In contrast to some wealthy Nepalis, every white tourist visiting the country has access to wealth far beyond most Nepalis' expectations. In the research project, over one hundred people were asked about their views on T/tourists and most put near the top of the list "rich vs. poor." One painter sums up a common set of understandings:

Tourists have a lot of money. Nepalis don't. [Their] government gives them money for eating, studying, going and coming [travel]. Tourists are free and free to go anywhere, and do anything. Some might be more poor––we can see that some spend less––but even though poor they can still visit many countries.

Instead of someone who travels somewhere to visit, many Nepalis see "Tourist" as intrinsically tied to whiteness, and epitomized by wealth. Tourists do not travel and thereby become a tourist, they travel because they are Tourists. Again stressing wealth, another painter says:

Tourists have many ideas about what to buy, not what to sell. Nepalis think about what they can sell, and want to sell things. Tourists buy curios (thangkas, carpets, pots, etc.) whereas Nepalis don't. They only sell these things. This is how they are different. The main difference is this buying interest.

It is easy to understand from daily conversation, how this image of Tourists as consumers, holders of wealth, and channelers of the wealth of their governments, gained prominence. White people in the past and today come to Nepal to work for their embassies, and they live, supported by their "governments," in a style only the very wealthiest Nepalis can afford. Many foreign aid workers, also funded by and bringing the wealth of their governments, live in similar style. Mountaineers and their sponsors, and on a lesser scale the thousands of trekkers who come to Nepal each year, bear great expense (in local terms) and hire Nepalis to do much of their work. Researchers too are often, and are known to be, funded by their governments, to such a degree that they can afford staff and assistants. Further, tourists, no matter how poor appearing, even those who spend their days in the haze of hashish are obviously able to afford an expensive airfare. They are seen to be not working and yet to pay for restaurant meals, beers, hotels, souvenirs, and carpets. All whites are believed to be in positions of economic power. Their wealth also facilitates access to other kinds of power denied to many citizens of the country. The relationship of Tourists to Nepalis is only possible because economic circumstances allow them to visit Nepal, and these circumstances define the nature of the relationship between the two. It is usually a relationship of disparity in economic power (perhaps "class&quot as well as of ethnicity, race, caste, nationality, or any other form of jaat.

__________________
Die Schönheit ist da;
man muß nur ein Auge dafür haben
oder es wenigstens nicht absichtlich verschließen. - Theodor Fontane
Mit Zitat antworten
  #5  
Alt 07.02.2003, 13:43
Benutzerbild von Bjoerk
Bjoerk Bjoerk ist offline
schreibt viel
 
Registriert seit: 18.01.2003
Ort: Berlin
Beiträge: 253
Galerie: 0
Standard Re: Touristic forms of life ....

2.3. Tourists Versus Japanese and Indians as Categories of Person
Tourists––when hearing that they are called as such because they are white––often wonder whether Indians and Japanese are not also tourists.

To start with the Indians, many Nepalis hesitate to call them tourists. Many trace their ambivalence to physical coloring and behavior, particularly how the T/tourists spend money. Peoples' musing about differences are often complex, they shift among points of comparison and their terms for referring to people. These situations demonstrate that such thinking involves multiple dimensions of difference and multiple categories, and that these are not static.

The following pastiche includes excerpts from conversations with painters and/or their families and friends about Tourists. Asked where they come from, if they omitted India from the list, they were asked if Indians were tourists. A Sikkimese painter said:

Tourists are white, though I've only met Germans. Indians are tourists because they spend money, but they don't buy thangkas except for businessmen. Indians––Madeshis––are T/tourists but it's hard to call them so because we are the same as people from India, so ... "Indian Tourist" is not what we would say.

One woman offered that tourists come from the United Kingdom, France, Japan, and Korea, perhaps indicating an understanding of the word as "visitor." She was then asked if Indians are Tourists:

Indians are also T/tourists. They... come at the opposite time, in the warm months. But Indians are very near and we can see them every day. Their behavior is rude, that's why it's difficult to say "T/tourist". Tourists come from far away, for a short time. But Indians come and stay nearby and are here all the time .... People who stay a long time are not tourists. "Tourist" itself is a white word, so it applies to whites. It's not an Indian word, so it should only be used for whites, not for Indians. Only whites can be called American. But German, French, and British are also white, and also called American. People have no special words for Indians, only dhoti [a kind of sarong worn by many Indians] and Madeshi [generally meaning from the South of Nepal or from India]. "T/tourist" comes easily as a word to call whites. They spend lots of money. T/tourists visit many places. Indians come for their own benefit only.

According to another man: "Indians are also T/tourists but I'm not used to calling them that. They have a face and everything similar to Nepalis, so they can't be called T/tourist. They only buy for business purposes." Still another person believes that "Indians are T/tourists. Indians buy thangkas for business. Others don't... but it's hard to call them T/tourist... Nepalis are "local" (English).".

Therefore, one distinction between Tourists and Indians at first seems a straightforward recognition of coloring. But the examples reveal a range of criteria for the difference (such as behavior, proximity, duration of visit, spending, and attitudes towards Nepalis).

Are Japanese T/tourists? Again, they might be called this, and more easily than Indians. As with talk about Nepalis and Indians, so reference about the relationship between Japanese and others includes many points of contrast. Primary among these are coloring, behavior, and wealth. Some Nepalis distinctly separate groups of people on the basis of physical appearance (and national pride): "Tourists look like monkeys. Japanese are short. Indians are very black. Nepalis are handsome and beautiful." Some initially include Japanese with tourists, but then separate them according to coloring:

They come from many countries ... but whites are called "American" and Japanese can be separated .... Can't tell the difference with the others: just white is American. Japanese are different: can't say Kuire for them.

According to comments from the painters,

Tourists come from France, Germany, Japan, America, Korea. American means white with black hair, but can be from any country and we don't know which. Japanese aren't Americans .... Japanese are many and better than the others ... polite, not greedy, give the most for thangkas. As for whites ... most are greedy, and they want the thangka cheap. They always say "no money".

Here Nepalis distinguish between Japanese and white people on the basis of coloring and spending behavior. Therefore, to the question, do Nepalis call Indians and Japanese tourists too, the answer is yes and no. Whites are Tourists and tourists or something else altogether. Multiple forms of life are at work here, and white people are understood differently within different forms of life, including those they themselves do not recognize or understand.

__________________
Die Schönheit ist da;
man muß nur ein Auge dafür haben
oder es wenigstens nicht absichtlich verschließen. - Theodor Fontane
Mit Zitat antworten
  #6  
Alt 07.02.2003, 13:44
Benutzerbild von Bjoerk
Bjoerk Bjoerk ist offline
schreibt viel
 
Registriert seit: 18.01.2003
Ort: Berlin
Beiträge: 253
Galerie: 0
Standard Re: Touristic forms of life ....

3. Conclusion
Winch's contribution is in his thinking about how to understand a "primitive" society, and in providing a vocabulary with which to talk about it. In understanding the forms of life of another culture, or one's own, the key is understanding "what counts as doing the same kind of thing" and knowing "how to go on" within the form of life in question. A simple example is the form of life "going for a walk." Most all natives of Western culture have a shared sense of what counts as doing the same kind of thing in "going for a walk". This means heading out to the hills for a few hours to walk, or strolling the neighborhood count as doing the same kind of thing. Were the hill walker to stop at a pub at the base of the hill for few hours and then return home, or were the stroller to meet a neighbor within a few minutes and both head off to a movie, neither would be counted as doing the same kind of thing as someone going for walk. Natives of Western culture know how to go on within the form of life understood as going for a walk. If someone said "I'm going for a walk" and then went to the garage to fix the car for the afternoon, the native (or Winch, at least) would say he did not know how to go on in the form of life "going for a walk." Simple enough, but this is a culturally specific form of life.

By contrast, Nepalis do not "go for a walk," and there is no parallel form of life. They might go visit a relative, or go to the temple, or go on pilgrimage, but to "go for a walk" might raise suspicions that the walker is up to no good, or, if a woman were to go by herself, really up to no good. The fact that so many tourists come to go for extended walks on difficult routes (trekking) is a matter of some perplexity to many Nepalis. Having said this, however, it does happen that some fairly well off people in the city––often a middle age couple––have recently taken to dressing up in the evening and "going for a walk" (they say, in English), stepping into a Western form of life. But even so, their motive is to be "modern" or "developed," and certainly to be seen as such. On the one hand, it might seem that they know how to "go on" in a foreign form of life called "going for a walk". On the other hand, the walk's ideas and social context make it a different form of life than the Western one, even if the name is the same. Thus, actions must be understood in terms of the forms of life that make them meaningful, and it is often easy to mistake similarities of behavior, and even word or phrase, for similarities in meaning.

Studies of tourism can be both expedited and limited by the fact that this phenomenon is a form of life in which tourists and scholars alike share. Both groups in general, like the Tourists in Nepal, basically know how to "go on" and what counts as "doing the same kind of thing," and share a meaningful vocabulary to discuss ambiguities. An educated drifter (as tourist) knows how to go on as that type of person. Were she to settle into a job for a few years it would be clear that she was no longer doing the same kind of thing as an educated drifter tourist. A person on a bus tour knows that when he at last arrives home, he is no longer doing the same kind of thing as he was on holiday. In much the same way, an anthropologist who began studying beach tourism in Thailand, but who then devoted his time to learning Pali language in order to translate fifth century Buddhist texts in situ , would no longer be doing the same kind of thing, would no longer be "doing research on tourism" (and might well be asked to forfeit the remainder of his research grant). In this sense tourism is, as Abram and Waldren suggest (1997:2) rather like Needham's "polythetic classifications" (1975:36), a phenomenon without neat boundaries but with "family resemblances" that can be recognized as "the same kind of thing" within the same form of life.

Like the Tourists in Nepal, it is easy for scholars to commonsensically comprehend tourism within Western frames of understanding that include ideas of individuality, agency, and the wider structures of work and leisure. Nepalis by and large understand "tourism" in their country in terms of very different frames of understanding. When Nepalis talk about or recognize tourists, on the trail or in the city, they are "doing the same kind of thing" as when they identify the caste/ethnicity/species of other people on their social horizons. They do this assuming the existence of social categories of "dividuals" sharing essential qualities, as set out above. Although they might not call Tourist a caste category, they may well be thinking according to the same cultural logic. This is not at all "doing the same kind of thing" as a Westerner talking about, recognizing, studying, or even being tourists. Members of Western society are not talking of something akin to a biological species, or race, when they talk about tourists; that is, they are not talking about Tourists.

Neither of these perspectives––tourist or Nepali––exists entirely from its own side. Instead, they are two sides of the same coin. Tourism in Nepal cannot be fully understood without both. The Western form of life "tourism" can be fruitfully studied, as to the motivations to visit Nepal, representations of the country, the organization of tourism, the growth of the hotel business, patterns of labor, and environmental effects. But in many cases a richer analysis would entail acknowledging, as Wilson begins to, that "... several different situations may co-exist at any given moment in time" (1993:40). Put another way, several different forms of life may co-exist simultaneously. Just as Nepalis conceptualize tourists within their forms of life that are foreign to Western experience, perhaps all the aspects of "tourism" listed directly above configure differently in the Nepali world from Western commonsensical understandings. To study them adequately, researchers might well heed Nash's advice "... to free themselves from taken-for-granted views of the world" (1981:479).


Acknowledgements
The dissertation research on which this article is based was generously funded by the United States National Science Foundation (Doctoral Improvement Grant N. BNS-9100365); the Joint Committee on South Asia of the Social Science Research Council and the American Council of Learned Societies with funds provided by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation; the Social Science and Humanities Research Council of Canada; and the Cornell Graduate School and Center for International Studies. The author wishes to thank the following for comments on all or part of this paper: Davydd J. Greenwood, John Forester, Berndt Lambert, Ritendra Tamang, Stacey Leigh Pigg, Kathryn White, Kate Devine, Don Messerschmidt, and participants in the 1996 CASCA conference.

__________________
Die Schönheit ist da;
man muß nur ein Auge dafür haben
oder es wenigstens nicht absichtlich verschließen. - Theodor Fontane
Mit Zitat antworten
Antwort

Lesezeichen


Aktive Benutzer in diesem Thema: 1 (Registrierte Benutzer: 0, Gäste: 1)
 
Themen-Optionen
Ansicht

Forumregeln
Es ist Ihnen nicht erlaubt, neue Themen zu verfassen.
Es ist Ihnen nicht erlaubt, auf Beiträge zu antworten.
Es ist Ihnen nicht erlaubt, Anhänge hochzuladen.
Es ist Ihnen nicht erlaubt, Ihre Beiträge zu bearbeiten.

BB-Code ist An.
Smileys sind An.
[IMG] Code ist An.
HTML-Code ist Aus.



Alle Zeitangaben in WEZ +1. Es ist jetzt 09:04 Uhr.


© by Andreas Pflügler, 2001-2009

Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.1 (Deutsch)
Copyright ©2000 - 2014, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.
Template-Modifikationen durch TMS