Ambivalent Encounters: Childhood, Tourism, and Social Change in Banaras, India

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Rutgers University Press, Dec 1, 2012 - Social Science - 246 pages

Jenny Huberman provides an ethnographic study of encounters between western tourists and the children who work as unlicensed peddlers and guides along the riverfront city of Banaras, India. She examines how and why these children elicit such powerful reactions from western tourists and locals in their community as well as how the children themselves experience their work and render it meaningful.

Ambivalent Encounters brings together scholarship on the anthropology of childhood, tourism, consumption, and exchange to ask why children emerge as objects of the international tourist gaze; what role they play in representing socio-economic change; how children are valued and devalued; why they elicit anxieties, fantasies, and debates; and what these tourist encounters teach us more generally about the nature of human interaction. It examines the role of gender in mediating experiences of social change—girls are praised by locals for participating constructively in the informal tourist economy while boys are accused of deviant behavior. Huberman is interested equally in the children’s and adults’ perspectives; her own experiences as a western visitor and researcher provide an intriguing entry into her interpretations.

           

 

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Contents

Chapter 1 Children Tourists and Locals
3
Chapter 2 A Tourist Town
18
Part II Conceptions of Children
33
Chapter 3 Girls and Boys on the Ghats
35
Chapter 4 Innocent Children of Little Adults?
67
Chapter 5 The Minds and Hearts of Children
93
Part III Conceptions of Value
117
Chapter 6 Earning Spending Saving
119
Chapter 7 Something Extra
141
Chapter 8 Money Gender and the Immorality of Exchange
165
Chapter 9 Conclusion
182
Notes
189
References
205
Index
221
About the Author
229
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About the author (2012)

JENNY HUBERMAN is an assistant professor of anthropology at the University of Missouri–Kansas City.

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