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Ethnic tourism advertisements: the power dynamic and its effect on cultural representation in the ‘Kingdom of Daughters’

O'Connor, Colleen (2012) Ethnic tourism advertisements: the power dynamic and its effect on cultural representation in the ‘Kingdom of Daughters’. Undergraduate Thesis, University of Pittsburgh. (Unpublished)

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This thesis explores ethnic tourism concepts of authenticity and cultural commodification using tourism advertisements aimed at the Mosuo ethnic group in China. One of the preliminary steps in attracting tourists to visit a tourist destination is advertising. Since advertisements are integral to the ethnic tourism process, consequently, one must question how cultural producers represent Mosuo culture to prospective customers? What images and language patterns do advertisers commonly use to portray the Mosuo? By examining previously published works, studying sociological and anthropological concepts, and incorporating previous fieldwork, this thesis explores how a Chinese ethnic group is advertised and how this affects their society. A substantial amount of anthropological work has focused on the Mosuo’s matrilineal kinship system, pairing system, and tourism culture. However, there has yet to be an in depth socio-anthropological analysis of Chinese media images of the Mosuo and its influence on local ethnic identity. This research is considered a case study and adds to the work of other ethnic tourism scholars conducting content analysis on advertising’s role in constructing perceptions of ethnicity, culture, sexuality, and authenticity. Though the sample is small, the results suggest that certain language is closely associated with Mosuo media portrayal and that imaged locals and Lugu Lake are often utilized as a sexualized commodity.


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Item Type: University of Pittsburgh ETD
Status: Unpublished
CreatorsEmailPitt UsernameORCID
ETD Committee:
TitleMemberEmail AddressPitt UsernameORCID
Thesis AdvisorCohen,
Committee MemberScaglion, Richardscaglion@pitt.eduSCAGLION
Committee MemberBrown, Lauralcb32@pitt.eduLCB32
Committee MemberLi,
Date: 13 September 2012
Date Type: Publication
Defense Date: 8 August 2012
Approval Date: 13 September 2012
Submission Date: 12 August 2012
Access Restriction: No restriction; Release the ETD for access worldwide immediately.
Number of Pages: 77
Institution: University of Pittsburgh
Schools and Programs: David C. Frederick Honors College
Dietrich School of Arts and Sciences > East Asian Studies
Degree: BPhil - Bachelor of Philosophy
Thesis Type: Undergraduate Thesis
Refereed: Yes
Uncontrolled Keywords: Ethnic tourism; authenticity; cultural commodification; Mosuo; China; advertising
Additional Information: This thesis is preparation for my 2012-2013 China Fulbright grant. This research will be further expanded on as I continue higher education. Please send comments and suggestions to
Date Deposited: 13 Sep 2012 19:23
Last Modified: 15 Nov 2016 14:01


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