71 minutes | Dec 29th 2020

Matilde Córdoba Azcárate, "Stuck with Tourism: Space, Power, and Labor in Contemporary Yucatan" (U California Press, 2020)

The name Cancún brings to mind tourism, resorts, beaches, sun, and fun. In her book, Stuck With Tourism: Space, Power, and Labor in Contemporary Yucatan (University of California Press, 2020), Matilde Córdoba Azcárate reveals the processes of labor, extraction, and reorganization that make places such as Cancún a tourism site. Dr. Azcárate examines four tourist sites across the Mexican Yucatán Peninsula, including resorts in Cancún and Temozón, a nature preserve in Celestún, and guayabera shirt production in Tekit. She documents the ways in which tourism rearranges space in a given local in order to produce the experiences that tourists seek. Attention to labor shows how workers get stuck with tourism as a source of economic support in that it provides a wage on which to live. Yet, at the same time such work takes its toll on the body and limits the ability to imagine alternative futures. Tourism has come to act as a form of development that appears to have no way out, thus leaving us stuck with it as a means of travel as well as a means of subsistence. Azcárate moves beyond understanding tourism as an experience or a site of consumption, to demonstrate that tourism instills its own ordering processes around space and labor that operate to commodify nature, experiences, styles, and people in order to produce leisure for the few. This book would be of interest to those in Anthropology, Communication studies, Tourism studies, Labor Studies, and Latin American Studies.

Matilde Córdoba Azcárate is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Communication at the University of California, San Diego. 

Reighan Gillam is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Anthropology at the University of Southern California.

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