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Socio-ecological Inequalities of Global Tourism in the Mexican Caribbean

Tourism growth in Latin America has benefited international corporations, land-traders, tourism pioneers, government officials, and immigrants. However, serious doubts are cast on the socio-ecological consequences of dominant global tourism models.  My research will review the socio-ecological inequalities generated by the model of global tourism implemented in the Mexican Caribbean. The main research question is: How a model which exacerbates social inequalities while degrading the environment has kept its hegemony for the last 30 years and even today is presented as the only development option? The socio-ecological inequalities generated by the local penetration of global tourism will be explored in three local communities. This exploration will unveil, first, the ways in which people seek to position themselves within power structures in order to exert control over others and the environment. Second, the personal transformations of individual agents who seek to free themselves from power structures. Attention will be placed to the interdependencies and mechanisms connecting local impacts to global tourism dynamics, including the complicities of global actors with "democratic" governance structures. Three aspects of current Latin American debates on inequalities will be emphasized: (1) the accentuation of socio-economic inequalities despite economic growth (2) acknowledging the multiple forms of power asymmetry (including cultural, ethnic, race, or gender), and (3) the growing relevance of environmental issues for social inequalities at a global level.

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