Stuck with Tourism: Space, Power, and Labor in Contemporary Yucatan

Matilde Córdoba Azcárate (UC San Diego)
Winner, 2020 Society for Latin American and Caribbean Anthropology (SLACA) Book Prize; Winner, 2021 Nelson Graburn Prize, Anthropology & Tourism Interest Group, American Anthropological Association (AAA).

Tourism has become one of the most powerful forces organizing the predatory geographies of late capitalism. It creates entangled futures of exploitation and dependence, extracting resources and labor, and eclipsing other ways of doing, living, and imagining life. And yet, tourism also creates jobs, encourages infrastructure development, and in many places inspires the only possibility of hope and well-being. Stuck with Tourism explores the ambivalent nature of tourism by drawing on ethnographic evidence from the Mexican Yucatán Peninsula, a region voraciously transformed by tourism development over the past forty years. Contrasting labor and lived experiences at the beach resorts of Cancún, protected natural enclaves along the Gulf coast, historical buildings of the colonial past, and maquilas for souvenir production in the Maya heartland, this book explores the moral, political, ecological, and everyday dilemmas that emerge when, as Yucatán’s inhabitants put it, people get stuck in tourism’s grip.


“This original ethnography offers a new theoretical perspective on tourism and its impact on local communities. Rather than accepting the received view that tourism benefits the inhabitants of a place, it takes a more critical perspective that uncovers how tourism restructures every aspect of the environment and the economy through its predatory and extractive practices.”––Setha M. Low, Distinguished Professor of Environmental Psychology, Anthropology, Earth and Environmental Sciences, and Women’s Studies, The Graduate Center, CUNY


I was the developmental editor for this 275-page book. View more details about Stuck with Tourism at University of California Press.