Women, Fishermen and Community-based Tourism in Senegal

Authors: Aby Sene-Harper, Clemson University, Lauren Duffy*, Clemson University
Topics: Tourism Geography, Indigenous Peoples, Gender
Keywords: community-based tourism, Senegal, rural livelihoods, community participation
Session Type: Paper
Day: 4/6/2019
Start / End Time: 9:55 AM / 11:35 AM
Room: Maryland B, Marriott, Lobby Level
Presentation File: No File Uploaded


The community-based tourism (CBT) model holds promises of local economic growth, inclusive development processes, and flows of benefits to local communities. While CBT has delivered on economic promises in some cases, researchers have questioned the viability of its impacts, often citing inequitable distribution of benefits as a critical debilitating factor. CBT is often based on normative principles that assumes all actors have equal aspirations, power, voice, and access to resources. Yet tourism activities are embedded in the same uneven social structure that envelopes and define local livelihoods. Within this structure, formal and informal institutions mediate different actors’ access to livelihood resources as well as decision-making processes around use of these resources. Livelihood studies within the CBT literature have mostly focused on the formal institutions and how these affect the distribution of tourism benefits. Less emphasis has been placed on the social and cultural norms and values shaping livelihood strategies and their effects on how certain actors are restricted or choose to participate in tourism. In this qualitative case study of a fishing community outside of Djoudj National Bird Park in Senegal, we analyze the way a CBT project fits within women’s and fishermen’s livelihood strategies, focusing on the informal institutions structuring their participation in tourism. We found that socially constructed norms and cultural identities about women and Black Moorish fishermen, justify and normalize their nonparticipation in certain positions within the CBT project. Through this analysis, we highlight norms shaping other livelihood activities and spillover into the CBT sphere.

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