Representations of “Race” and “Space” on Hawaii’s Tourism Landscape

Authors: Ines Miyares*, Hunter College
Topics: Ethnicity and Race, Tourism Geography, Landscape
Keywords: Representation of "race", social construction of identity, tourism
Session Type: Paper
Day: 4/6/2019
Start / End Time: 5:00 PM / 6:40 PM
Room: Maryland B, Marriott, Lobby Level
Presentation File: No File Uploaded


The concept of “race” in the Hawaiian vernacular has a very different social construction than on the mainland. “Race” is deeply intertwined with Hawaii’s sugar labor history and the ethnic identities of contract laborers who came to work in the cane fields. This paper examines how “race” is portrayed, whether Native Hawaiian identity or “local” (sugar labor) identity, and how these groups perceive space, on Hawaii’s tourism landscape. The image of Hawaiian identity that has been constructed by the tourism industry in Waikiki and the resort areas of the Neighbor Islands differs significantly from the representation constructed for the social reproduction of identity for school children and local residents in places outside of the typical tourist areas. While tourists do occasionally find their way to these locations, the dominant tourist perception of what it means to be “Hawaiian” is the one invented by the tourism industry.

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