Communication, power and tourism: Postcolonial dynamics in photographic and event tourism images in Oaxaca, Mexico
The global tourism industry has expanded significantly during the last century. Some scholars argue that modern tourism retains postcolonial dynamics---emphasizing a dominant group and a subjugated Other---and a growing body of literature has examined how visual materials associated with tourism reflect and reinforce these dynamics. This study attempts to answer two questions: Do tourism images---in both postcards and a staged tourism event---from Oaxaca, Mexico reflect and reinforce postcolonial stereotypes and power dynamics? And, if so, how? To answer these questions, this study employs a two-stage qualitative analysis of tourism images within a postcolonial framework. Findings suggest that postcolonial stereotypes and power dynamics are present in both postcards and tourist responses to the staged tourism event. Postcolonial theory, therefore, may be helpful in understanding the dynamics underlying host-tourist interaction in Oaxaca. However, these dynamics are complex and cannot be explained by postcolonialism alone.