Commodifying Cultures, Negotiating Identities: The Reproduction and Performance of the Cordilleran Cultural Heritage in Tam-Awan Village
Tourism, as a practice, involves a projection and performance of identity in response to what the market desires. Museums convey a message through the collection, preservation, and exhibition of tangible and intangible cultural heritage. While the coverage of the two varies, their principles and operations often overlap, especially in the case of indigenous tourism and living museums. This study examines the reproductions of Cordilleran cultural heritage in Tam-awan Village, a “living museum” envisioned to preserve and promote Cordilleran culture and identity. Using ethnographic and historical data, it makes intelligible the complex connections among colonial stereotypes, the commodification of culture, negotiation of identity, and the emergence of paradoxical perspectives in a contemporary living museum. The study found that in the attempted preservation of culture and reappropriation of colonial signifiers, a new culture is generated—one in which the marginalized are simultaneously objectified, commodified, and empowered.
Keywords: Cordillera studies, cultural heritage, identity, indigenous tourism, living museum
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