Handbook on Ethnic Minorities in China
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Handbook on Ethnic Minorities in China

Edited by Xiaowei Zang

This much-needed volume explains who ethnic minorities are and how well do they do in China. In addition to offering general information about ethnic minority groups in China, it discusses some important issues around ethnicity, including ethnic inequality, minority rights, and multiculturalism. Drawing on insights and perspectives from scholars in different continents the contributions provide critical reflections on where the field has been and where it is going, offering readers possible directions for future research on minority ethnicity in China. The Handbook reviews research and addresses key conceptual, theoretical and methodological issues in the study of ethnicity in China.
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Chapter 13: Ethnic tourism in China

Tim Oakes


In chapter 13, Tim Oakes presents several key issues concerning the study of ethnic tourism in China today. Even though Chinese-language tourism scholarship has exploded since the mid-2000s, there remains a great deal of room for critical research on Chinese ethnic tourism. Noting the rise of independent tourism and leisure consumption in China, Oakes finds that ethnic tourism has expanded beyond the bounded geography of the ‘minority village’ and diffused into the realm of everyday consumption. Because of this, he argues, Chinese ethnic tourism can be approached and understood as a kind of urbanization. Much of his review is influenced by his own long-term experience studying ethnic tourism in one particular region of China, Guizhou Province. Oakes shows that in a clear reversal of the Mao era’s emphasis on urban centres as beacons of progressive socialist modernity in a wilderness of ‘ethnic backwardness’, cities and towns have been rebranding themselves – and reconstructing their built landscapes – as displays of village-style ethnic architecture and culture. At the same time, ethnic tourism has served as a conduit for greater state control over community-held assets, leading to alienation on multiple levels.

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