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Title: The Politics of Paradise: Aesthetic Fantasies of Otherwise within Tourist Economies in Northeast Brazil
Authors: Cansino, Harriet
Issue Date: 2022
Publisher: Newcastle University
Abstract: This thesis asks how the concept of paradise offers an insight into the formation of political communities in tourist locations. I argue that ideas of paradise underpin the fantasies through which residents of Praia da Pipa, a paradisial beach town in northeast Brazil, cope with the changing demands of touristic economies as the town grows. Through their embodied engagements with paradisial space, I argue residents produce, reproduce, and challenge inequalities inherent to the developing tourist industry and persisting colonial social hierarchy through the political communities they form. Using ethnographic data, I explore the multiple and contrasting ways in which residents make sense of the world around them through the sense that life in Pipa should somehow be different and the way their engagements with the town both impart this expectation and challenge it, creating paradise as they do. To do this, I trace four interconnected modes of paradise as residents sense and enact it in the town to demonstrate the often-surprising ways in which its fantasies form the basis for possible social relations there. Firstly, I look at the way spatial conflicts engender governance through rendering the space one of consumption; secondly I explore the temporal framings through which residents craft their worlds through attachments to paradise; thirdly I consider how Edenic understandings underpin resistance; and finally I explore how the circulation of touristic capital in the form of mobility prompts chance connections and solidarities. Fantasies of paradise enable unexpected communities of sense within expected hierarchies of colonial power and capital, through which residents enact a critique of the limits of utopian promises of touristic development and its economies of dispossession. Overall, this interdisciplinary thesis contributes to understandings of the role of fantasies in the production of and challenges to touristic development and the political relations therein.
Description: PhD Thesis
Appears in Collections:School of Geography, Politics and Sociology

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