Cultivating authenticity : Perceptions of Zanzibari culture and history within the heritage management of Stone Town

University essay from Stockholms universitet/Kulturgeografiska institutionen

Abstract:

The aim of this thesis is to acquire a deeper understanding of the relationship betweenheritage management, the tourism industry and perceptions of authenticity in the worldheritage site of Stone Town in Zanzibar, Tanzania. This is a case study within the field ofheritage studies with a focus on planning and the production of authenticity. In this study Iintend to shed light on the ideas and perceptions on authenticity that shapes the conservationand promotion of the world heritage of Stone Town. Furthermore I wish to examine how thetourists in Stone Town interact and relates to this imagery. This study contains number ofqualitative interviews with planners, heritage officials, policy-makers and tourists in StoneTown who gives their perspective on culture, history and perceptions on authenticity. Theconcept of authenticity will be discussed using a constructivistic approach in order to revealinherent power relations within Zanzibari interpretations on authenticity. One of the keyfindings in this study is that the focus on historic cosmopolitanism, which is seen as a majorpart of the Zanzibari heritage, is believed to be threatened by new influences from heritagetourism and immigration from East Africa. This results in a exclusionary policy-making andnarrow perspectives on Zanzibari culture.

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