The tourism and handicraft industries in Xinjiang: development and ethnicity in a minority periphery
Toops, Stanley Winfield
MetadataShow full item record
This study considers a basic question--how does ethnicity impinge upon development in the Third World? Three goals are addressed: (1) the need for a culturally relevant perspective on development; (2) an examination of the policies of People's Republic of China (PRC) for the development of minority nationality areas; and (3) a consideration of the contribution of the tourism and handicrafts industries to Third World development.The setting for the research is the Xinjiang Uighur Autonomus Region. Xinjiang has a Moslem non-Han population and is located in the peripheral northwest of the People's Republic of China. The time frame of the study is during the Reform Era (1978-1990). Field work in Xinjiang (August 1985-July 1986, December 1988, and January 1989) included document research of PRC-produced materials as well as interviews with personnel in the tourism and handicraft industries in Chinese and Uighur. The local variation of national policies is revealed in the practice of the industires in areas both open (Urumqi, Turpan, and Kashgar) and closed (Korla, Kucha, and Kulja) to foreigners.With regard to tourism and handicrafts in Xinjiang, conclusions indicate that tourism and handicrafts enhance development through the use of local activities and capabilities. Tourism centers are Urumqi, Kashgar, and Turpan, while crafts centers are Kashgar, Kulja, and Kucha.Overall China's development policy for minority nationality areas is still maturing. Economic and sociocultural aspects of development are being met while political aspects of development have proved most elusive.How does ethnicity contribute to development? The experiences of different ethnic groups provide each ethnic group with a reservoir of knowledge to contribute to the development process. Knowledge of local environments, production systems and spatial organization are all important parts of an ethnic group's perspective on development. Xinjiang's example shows how ethnicity, with its attendant knowledge and experience, can be a resource in development.
- Geography