Title: The artisan backpacker: a development in Latin American backpacker tourism

Authors: Anne-Katrin Broocks; Kevin Hannam

Addresses: Institute of Social and Cultural Anthropology, University of Hamburg, Edmund-Siemers-Allee 1 – Flügelbau West (ESA W), 20146 Hamburg, Germany ' The Business School, Edinburgh Napier University, Craiglockhart Campus, Edinburgh EH14 1DJ, UK

Abstract: This article examines the phenomenon of the artisan backpacker in Latin America based upon ethnographic research. We show that Latin American youth have developed their own way of travelling, based upon the existing mainstream Western and Israeli backpacking culture and infrastructure but using their own specific economic activities to finance their travel - selling self-made jewellery. While they share a similar value system, the so-called dominant backpacking 'code of honour', we also identify another value, namely a deeper involvement in the local, often indigenous culture and nature. Similarities could also be discerned between the ideological system of the artisan backpacker and the volunteer backpacker, particularly in terms of the need for risk creation. The lack of sufficient monetary resources shapes the ways in which artisan backpacker's travel. They use different modes of transport and accommodation than other backpackers and they need to plan their days around their economic activities: crafting and selling their jewellery. However, through trading and bargaining, the artisan backpackers are able to improve their international business skills, their English language skills, and their geographical and touristic knowledge. They additionally became more embedded with the local population in order to negotiate their own identity as Latin Americans.

Keywords: artisans; indigenous culture; lifestyle mobilities; handicraft production; ethnography; Latin America; artisan backpackers; backpacker tourism; Latin American youth; young people; self-made jewellery; self-financing; risk creation; financial resources; trading; bargaining; international business skills; English language skills; geographical knowledge; touristic knowledge; local population.

DOI: 10.1504/IJTA.2016.076853

International Journal of Tourism Anthropology, 2016 Vol.5 No.1/2, pp.152 - 164

Received: 14 Feb 2015
Accepted: 23 Feb 2016

Published online: 31 May 2016 *

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