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Marketing Mardi Gras: Commodification, Spectacle and the Political Economy of Tourism in New Orleans

Marketing Mardi Gras: Commodification, Spectacle and the Political Economy of Tourism in New Orleans Recent urban scholarship on the rise of the tourism industry, place marketing and the transformation of cities into entertainment destinations has been dominated by four major themes: the primacy of `consumption' over 'production'; the eclipse of exchange-value by sign-value; the idea of autoreferential culture; and, the ascendancy of textual deconstruction and discursive analyses over political economy critiques of capitalism. This paper critically assesses the merits of these four themes using a case study of the Mardi Gras celebration in New Orleans. The analytical tools and categories of political economy are used to examine the rise and dominance of tourism in New Orleans, explore the consequences of this economic shift and identify the key actors and organised interests involved in marketing Mardi Gras. 'Marketing' is the use of sophisticated advertising techniques aimed at promoting fantasy, manipulating consumer needs, producing desirable tourist experiences and simulating images of place to attract capital and consumers. The paper points to the limitations of the 'cultural turn' and the 'linguistic turn' in urban studies and uses the concepts of commodification and spectacle as a theoretical basis for understanding the marketing of cities, the globalisation of local celebrations and the political economy of tourism. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Urban Studies: An International Journal of Research in Urban Studies SAGE

Marketing Mardi Gras: Commodification, Spectacle and the Political Economy of Tourism in New Orleans

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References (53)

Publisher
SAGE
Copyright
Copyright © by SAGE Publications
ISSN
0042-0980
eISSN
1360-063X
DOI
10.1080/0042098022000002939
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

Recent urban scholarship on the rise of the tourism industry, place marketing and the transformation of cities into entertainment destinations has been dominated by four major themes: the primacy of `consumption' over 'production'; the eclipse of exchange-value by sign-value; the idea of autoreferential culture; and, the ascendancy of textual deconstruction and discursive analyses over political economy critiques of capitalism. This paper critically assesses the merits of these four themes using a case study of the Mardi Gras celebration in New Orleans. The analytical tools and categories of political economy are used to examine the rise and dominance of tourism in New Orleans, explore the consequences of this economic shift and identify the key actors and organised interests involved in marketing Mardi Gras. 'Marketing' is the use of sophisticated advertising techniques aimed at promoting fantasy, manipulating consumer needs, producing desirable tourist experiences and simulating images of place to attract capital and consumers. The paper points to the limitations of the 'cultural turn' and the 'linguistic turn' in urban studies and uses the concepts of commodification and spectacle as a theoretical basis for understanding the marketing of cities, the globalisation of local celebrations and the political economy of tourism.

Journal

Urban Studies: An International Journal of Research in Urban StudiesSAGE

Published: Sep 1, 2002

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