Mutual Imaginaries: Perceptions of Otherness and the Performance of a Cosmopolitan Identity in Arambol
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In this research we have explored the mutual imaginaries between tourism workers and travellers in Arambol in order to shed light on (post)colonial imaginaries in a hybrid tourist place. Specifically, we have looked at mutual imaginaries of the West and India, situating these imaginaries in post-colonial discourse such as Orientalism and Occidentalism and linking these imaginaries to the construction of the national and the authentic Self. In addition, we have looked at the ways in which these imaginaries shape the performance of a cosmopolitan identity for both groups. In this thesis, we argue that Arambol functions as a third-space (Bhabha 2004) in which both tourism workers and travellers can engage in cross-cultural encounters with an Other, but at the same time find familiarity. In addition, although this third-space is perfect for cosmopolitan engagement, we argue that this engagement is informed by structural power relations as well as a mutually constructed univocal narrative in which the West is demonized and the East romanticized. Hence, we argue that in a tourism destination like Arambol, processes of cultural hybridization go hand-in-hand with the reinforcement of fixed notions of cultures.