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The Three Roots Of Panamas Cultural Heritage: The Construction Of Racial And National Identities In Theme Parks

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Chapter Summary

This chapter analyses the exploitation of Panama's diversity for tourism purposes and the resulting contradictions present in Panama's nation-building project. It discusses how culture and authenticity are intricately interconnected with politics and representation in the Latin America of the twenty-first century, where globalism and multiculturalism reign. Using an ethnographic case study of simulated cultural representations for tourist consumption in Panama-a country torn between strong nationalist sentiments and aspirations for Western modernity-it discusses how the Panamanian government and Panama City's authorities recreate, interpret, construct and reconstruct conflicting national and ethnic identities. The chapter studies the creation and use of the theme park officially called Centro Comercialy Turístico Mi Pueblito, which is informally known as Mi Pueblito and is located in the country's capital. It focuses on the expansive notions of identity and the production of cultural heritage in Panama that this centre represents.

Keywords: Centro Comercialy Turístico Mi Pueblito; cultural heritage; multiculturalism; nation-building project; national identities; Panama; racial identities; theme park; tourism; tourist consumption



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