More authentic than thou: Authenticity and othering in Fiji tourism discourse

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Abstract

This article explores the ways that othering and differentiation in Fiji tourism discourse cater to international tourists' presumed quest for authenticity. In addition to tapping into western discursive practices differentiating Polynesian and Melanesian ‘primitivity’, Fiji tourism promoters market their destination as a site to experience the ‘genuine friendliness’ of indigenous Fijians as the native, ‘authentic other’. ‘Genuine’, is about ‘real’ friendliness which, as a qualifier, also becomes a subtle reference to what other ‘others’ that are also the focus of a western tourist gaze are relatively not. This process of differentiating indigenous Fijians from alternative others occurs internationally as an implicit albeit significant theme in Fiji tourism. Yet, differentiation also occurs domestically as indigenous Fijians become specificated as the group more ‘touristically marked’ in Fiji, particularly in relation to Fiji Indians, whose erasure from tourism imagery is consistent with the prevailing themes of Fiji tourism discourse.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)25-49
Number of pages25
JournalTourist Studies
Volume7
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Apr 2007

Keywords

  • Fiji
  • Fiji Indians
  • Fijians
  • South Pacific
  • authenticity
  • noble savagery
  • othering
  • primitivity
  • tourism discourse

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