Sun, sea and slums - UWE student learn about tourism trend

Issue date: 12 February 2010

Favela in Rio de Janeiro Seminar and lecture by Bianca Freire-Medeiros
Friday 19 February 2010 Bristol Business School, University of the West of England, Room 4B037 13.30 to 15.30

Tourism and Business students and staff from the Bristol Business School at the University of the West of England will get an insight into the growing trend for organised visits to slums tourism by a world leading researcher from Brazil.

Bianca Freire-Medeiros will lecture on 'Touring poverty in the new millennium'. Dr Freire-Medeiros is a Senior Lecturer in Sociology at Getulio Vargas Foundation (FGV, Brazil) and is currently a Visiting Fellow at the Centre for Mobilities Research at Lancaster University.

The visit has been organised by Fabian Frenzel who is about to visit Brazil as part of a UWE funded research project that will investigate how tour operators present themselves to customers and slum dwellers.

Fabian Frenzel said, “We are really honoured that Dr Freire-Medeiros agreed to coming to the Bristol Business School. She has pioneered slum-tourism research in Brazil and is now leading research projects across the world on this global phenomenon. She will first meet UWE tourism students in a seminar at 11.30 and then at 1.30 will give a guest lecture to UWE staff.”

In an abstract from her lecture Bianca explains some of her concerns, she said, “At the turn of the millennium, poverty has been framed as a product for consumption through tourism in a global scale. Which are the conditions of possibility for the emergence of this touristic poverty - a poverty consumed as a tourist commodity with a monetary value agreed upon by promoters and consumers?

“With this main question in mind, in the summer of 2005 my research assistants and I started an intensive socio-ethnographic investigation having as a main goal to understand the turning of Rocinha, the largest favela in Rio de Janeiro into a much valued attraction for international tourists. Long interviews with qualified informants, field observation, participant observation in different tours, a photo ethnographic approach, as well as brief incursions into other poverty-stricken areas which are also profitable tourist attractions - such as the Cape Flats (South Africa) and Dharavi (India) - allowed links between theory and practice to be drawn, setting Rocinha's case in a wider social and economic context.
“In my talk, I will attempt to explore the 'touring poverty' phenomenon, using it as the basis for wider discussions on the politics of places, cultures, and people as commodities in a context of globalization and inequality.”

The lecture is open to the public but places are limited. Contact

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