Le voile exotique : la gestion de la perception des touristes de l'histoire nationale et de l'Etat d'Oman
Titre original :
The exotic veil: Managing tourist perceptions of national history and statehood in Oman
This article explores how and why some national governments seek to manage and control tourist-oriented narratives about historic sites and artefacts. Discussing ethnographic research among tour guides, tourists and government representatives in Oman, the paper reveals how the country's historic sites are overwhelmingly staged and presented without historical information. Instead, history is displaced by sanitised presentations of cultural heritage, the display of which draws an "exotic veil", crafted to enchant and deflect tourist attention from politically sensitive historical events and legacies. The study examines reasons for this policy, and its implications for tourists and those working in the tourism industry. Many of Oman's tour guides and site representatives are from marginalised groupings, experiencing inequalities due to historical family, tribal and former slave status. The state-sustained exotic veil on history means that such workers are obliged to collude in denying the historical reasons for their own experiences of injustice and inequality.
Senija Causevic, Mark Neal