Music and tourism in Cusco, Peru: culture as a resource

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LaBate, Elizabeth Ann

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This dissertation explores music in Cusco, Peru found in the festivals and other performance contexts related to tourism. The central thesis considers what happen when culture becomes a resource for socio-economic development. First the historical emergence of culture as a resource is examined through the discourse of international agencies, folklorists, and travelers. Next, various contexts of music and tourism in Cusco highlight specific examples of culture as a resource, such as Inti Raymi, other raymi festivals, the pilgrimage of Señor de Qoyllur rit’i, dinner show restaurants, and nightclubs. In each example, I discuss the history of the performance context, the musical repertoire, opportunities for musicians, and how local people keep the performance relevant to their lives. While critics have called cultural tourism a devil’s bargain and proponents have called it a panacea to under-development, I conclude that the real effects of culture as a resource in Cusco are more complex. I analyze the music in conjunction with social conditions of asymmetric power as the aestheticization of poverty.




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