Seasonal Lives

Overview

Gatlinburg, Tennessee, once an obscure Appalachian village, became an iconic tourist destination after the opening of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Locals found themselves living in the midst of an ever-expanding tourism economy that seemed to know no limit. Today, however, they engage in day-to-day struggles with the ills of mass-scale tourism: low-wage jobs, housing crises, and negative opinions that characterize their hometown as crowded, tacky, and low-brow. The result is a new type of poverty not ...
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More About This Book

Overview

Gatlinburg, Tennessee, once an obscure Appalachian village, became an iconic tourist destination after the opening of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Locals found themselves living in the midst of an ever-expanding tourism economy that seemed to know no limit. Today, however, they engage in day-to-day struggles with the ills of mass-scale tourism: low-wage jobs, housing crises, and negative opinions that characterize their hometown as crowded, tacky, and low-brow. The result is a new type of poverty not usually associated with Appalachia, where abandoned amusement parks sit decaying and lifeless and once-prosperous motels become halfway houses for Gatlinburg's severely underpaid workforce. Based on fieldwork as a service worker in Gatlinburg's tourism industry, this dissertation focuses on the ways tourism industries perpetuate, re-shape, fragment, and even destroy a community's "sense of place." Taking the perspective that tourism is essentially a form of placemaking, I analyze how this industry forges new relationships to place that are unique to the tourism context. I examine the ways "local" identity is defined, contested, and performed, noting how class, gender, and ethnicity intersect to create a range of "localness." I also look at the other side of tourism: the way tourism industries impact the identities of tourists. Tourism has become a way of generating "place" as a commodity for tourist consumption. I examine debates about how Gatlinburg should be marketed for an audience of consumers. Gatlinburg continues to be considered a middle class tourist resort, though community leaders want to "up class" Gatlinburg by attracting wealthier consumers. Studying how a "sense of place" is created in Gatlinburg through both personal identity and savvy marketing techniques brings an understanding of how class operates in the context of placemaking, how places shape class identities and, conversely, how class shapes place-based identities. I focus on the agency of local people as I describe their experiences in Gatlinburg, viewing tourism as a series of decisions and actions embedded in social and political contexts. As I illustrate the stories of people living and working in Gatlinburg, I explore life in this resort town as a sensual, emotional landscape shaped by the flux and flow of a seasonal tourism economy.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781243851840
  • Publisher: BiblioLabsII
  • Publication date: 9/9/2011
  • Pages: 250
  • Product dimensions: 7.44 (w) x 9.69 (h) x 0.53 (d)

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