Touring Povertyaddresses a highly controversial practice: the transformation of impoverished neighbourhoods into valued attractions for international tourists. In the megacities of the Global South, selected and idealized aspects of poverty are being turned into a tourist commodity for consumption.
The book takes the reader on a journey through Rocinha, a neighbourhood in Rio de Janeiro which is advertised as "the largest favela in Latin America". Bianca Freire-Medeiros presents interviews with tour operators, guides, tourists and dwellers to explore the vital questions raised by this kind of tourism. How and why do diverse social actors and institutions orchestrate, perform and consume touristic poverty? In the context of globalization and neoliberalism, what are the politics of selling and buying the social experience of cities, cultures and peoples?
With a full and sensitive exploration of the ethical debates surrounding the ‘sale of emotions’ elicited by the first-hand contemplation of poverty, Touring Povertyis an innovative book that provokes the reader to think about the role played by tourism – and our role as tourists – within a context of growing poverty. It will be of interest to students of sociology, anthropology, ethnography and methodology, urban studies, tourism studies, mobility studies, development studies, politics and international relations.