Davydd J. Greenwood on the commodification of culture

“Worldwide, we are seeing the transformation of cultures into ‘local color’, making peoples’ cultures extensions of the modern mass media. Culture is being packaged, priced, and sold like building lots, rights-of-way, fast-food, and room service, as the tourist industry promises that the world is his/hers to use. All the ‘natural resources’, including cultural traditions, have their price, and if you have the money in hand, it is your right to see whatever you wish.”
–Davydd J. Greenwood, “Culture By the Pound”, from Valene L. Smith’s Hosts and Guests: The Anthropology of Tourism (1977)

Posted by | Comments (2)  | February 24, 2003
Category: Travel Quote of the Day


2 Responses to “Davydd J. Greenwood on the commodification of culture”

  1. LeGrace Benson Says:

    Dear Prof. Greenwood, Your comments on tourism and culture prompt me to mention that I have been trying to think though this problem especially as it affects Haiti, in particular the painting and sculpture. Later this week I expect to give a paper on this subject at the Haitian Studies Association conference in Miami. In Haiti the erosion of local, historical culture sadly compares with the severe deforestation of the hillsides. In my judgement, this cultural erosion has direct effects on the political and economic problems the country now suffers.
    Regards, LeGrace Benson

  2. Sigourney hitchins Says:

    Dear Prof. Greenwood,

    As a final year student completing my undergraduate studies in tourism management, I was faced with the task of examining tourism’s true impact on Jamaican culture. While your work exposed the negative repercussions of commodification culture, my research has highlighted that these negative repercussions are specific to a particular country or people. For the Jamaican society I have recognized that commodification is just another avenue for the promotion of a culture so rich, that the people it identifies deems this strategy as a necessity to ensure their comparative advantage on the world stage.