"It's <italic>so</italic> <italic>Pura</italic> <italic>Vida</italic>": The Tourism Global Value Chain and Ethnoracial Stratification in Costa Rica

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Date

2011

Authors

Christian, Michelle Marie

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Bonilla-Silva, Eduardo
Gereffi, Gary

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Abstract

Over the last thirty years successful national economic development is considered participation in global industries, particularly in global value chains. Frequently, however, inclusion in these chains brings forth varied socioeconomic benefits for chain actors, acutely different ethnic and racial groups. Costa Rican participation in the tourism global value chain while heralded as a success story shows varied impacts for ethnoracial groups who are incorporated, excluded, and stratified in various forms. By comparing two communities in Costa Rica, Tamarindo and Cahuita, three main practices are apparent in determining the position of foreigners from the global North, Costa Ricans from the Central Valley, Afro-Costa Ricans, and Guanacastecans in the industry as workers or entrepreneur suppliers: (1) the role of governance structures, i.e., power dynamics between firms along the value chain and the importance of standards, formal and subjective; (2) institutions, including global private travel fairs, national tourism boards, and specific development policies; and (3) the dominance of environmental imagery and rural democracy narratives to market Costa Rica. Concretely, the development of global tourism in Costa Rica and its impact upon different groups is nuanced and it is a testament to both opportunities for local economic and social empowerment and stratification and marginalization.

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Christian, Michelle Marie (2011). "It's so Pura Vida": The Tourism Global Value Chain and Ethnoracial Stratification in Costa Rica. Dissertation, Duke University. Retrieved from https://hdl.handle.net/10161/5010.

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