Tourism as theatre: performing and consuming indigeneity in an Australian wildlife sanctuary

Picard, David and Pocock, Celmara and Trigger, David (2014) Tourism as theatre: performing and consuming indigeneity in an Australian wildlife sanctuary. Journal of Tourism and Cultural Change, 12 (3). pp. 206-223. ISSN 1476-6825


This article explores the social and cultural production of indigeneity in a wildlife sanctuary on the Australian Gold Coast. We note that the human and animal characters that form the displays of the sanctuary work towards the assemblage of a largely consistent underlying theme. The latter reproduces commensurability between two main figures associated with Australian settler history, namely the country's pre-colonial indigenous species of animals and plants and the human Aboriginal population. We argue that the theatre produced in the park's highly sanitized visitor contact zone has wider social and political ramifications for Australian society and modern society in general. By ceremonially re-enacting the historical myth of separation between modern civilization and primordial indigeneity, through a tourist enterprise, the sanctuary produces ambivalent meanings about the relation between 'nativeness' in nature and society. Our analysis addresses the simultaneous emancipation of contemporary human indigeneity as a revitalized cultural value together with the social distancing of Aboriginal people as one-dimensional caricatures of primordial nature.

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Item Type: Article (Commonwealth Reporting Category C)
Refereed: Yes
Item Status: Live Archive
Additional Information: © 2014 Taylor & Francis. Permanent restricted access to published version in accordance with the copyright policy of the publisher. Free access option for up to 50 downloads:
Faculty/School / Institute/Centre: Current - Faculty of Business, Education, Law and Arts - School of Arts and Communication
Date Deposited: 30 Sep 2014 02:41
Last Modified: 04 Jul 2016 06:05
Uncontrolled Keywords: tourism; indigeneity; performance; value; Australia
Fields of Research : 16 Studies in Human Society > 1601 Anthropology > 160104 Social and Cultural Anthropology
20 Language, Communication and Culture > 2002 Cultural Studies > 200201 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Cultural Studies
15 Commerce, Management, Tourism and Services > 1506 Tourism > 150605 Tourism Resource Appraisal
Socio-Economic Objective: E Expanding Knowledge > 97 Expanding Knowledge > 970120 Expanding Knowledge in Language, Communication and Culture
C Society > 95 Cultural Understanding > 9503 Heritage > 950304 Conserving Intangible Cultural Heritage
Identification Number or DOI: 10.1080/14766825.2014.933967

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