Incorporating Social Justice in Tourism Planning: Racial Reconciliation and Sustainable Community Development in the Deep South

By Barton, Alan W.; Leonard, Sarah J. | Community Development: Journal of the Community Development Society, July-September 2010 | Go to article overview

Incorporating Social Justice in Tourism Planning: Racial Reconciliation and Sustainable Community Development in the Deep South


Barton, Alan W., Leonard, Sarah J., Community Development: Journal of the Community Development Society


Tourism can serve as a vehicle for sustainable community development by contributing to equity and social justice. This happens as tourists learn about marginal groups through educational tourism, engage in development projects with host-area residents, undertake pilgrimages that bring greater meaning and cohesiveness to an ethnic identity, or encounter stories that transform their view of social injustice and spur further action to reduce inequities. Tourism planning can produce a sense of reconciliation when it brings historically divided groups together. An example is found in Tallahatchie County, Mississippi, where a group of white and African American residents are collaborating to develop tourism projects designed around a narrative of reconciliation, while they use the process of tourism planning to work towards racial reconciliation within their community. This case illustrates strategies tourism planners employ and challenges they face when they envision tourism as more than merely a means of economic growth.

Keywords: heritage tourism; Mississippi Delta; racial reconciliation; social justice; sustainable community development

**********

The advantages of tourism to rural communities are generally painted as economic: developing a tourism industry brings in "fresh" dollars, provides jobs and offers opportunities for local entrepreneurship (National Agricultural Library, 2008; World Travel & Tourism Council, 2008). When tourism focuses on local heritage, cultural advantages can accrue as well, as local residents learn about, take pride in, and conserve their own stories (Barton, 2005; Howard, 2002; President's Committee on the Arts and the Humanities, 2005). A growing body of literature argues that tourism can also contribute to social equity and justice in rural communities, and that social and cultural factors are important elements in sustainable community development in many rural contexts (Higgins-Desbiolles, 2008; Moore & Jie Wen, 2009; Scheyvens & Momsen, 2008). Recently, the social justice aspects of tourism have received substantial attention in the media as well (see, e.g., Gentleman, 2006; Lancaster, 2007; Markey, 2007; Popescu, 2007; Rao, 2009; Weiner, 2008).

We consider one aspect of social justice, the case of racial reconciliation in the Deep South. The Civil Rights Movement that emerged in the mid-twentieth century in America made substantial progress in the extension of political rights to African Americans, but economic disparities and cultural differences continue to separate black and white residents in much of the region (Andrews, 1997; Austin, 2006; Edelman, 2005; Hill, 2007; US Commission on Civil Rights, 2001). We draw on a case study of a rural county in the Mississippi Delta to examine how tourism might contribute to or detract from equality and social justice in rural communities, and the challenges that community planners face when promoting tourism as a means of addressing ingrained racial disparities.

Sustainable community development

When assessing tourism as a community development strategy, community planners must consider how tourism will contribute in a sustainable way to community well-being (Haywood, 1988; Richards & Hall, 2000). The literature on sustainable development has emphasized three crucial dimensions: economic efficiency, environmental integrity and social equity and justice (Edwards, 2005; Klein-Vielhauer, 2009; World Commission on Environment and Development, 1987). Finding a balance among these factors that is appropriate in a given context increases the chances for sustainability, and distortions arise when one of these elements dominates the others. In the tourism industry, economic considerations frequently drive decisions, while the potential for negative impacts such as environmental deterioration and increased inequity are given less attention.

Sustainable tourism

Tourism has the potential to produce social inequities in a variety of ways. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Incorporating Social Justice in Tourism Planning: Racial Reconciliation and Sustainable Community Development in the Deep South
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.