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Sharing Aloha on the mainland: Cultural Identity and Connecting to Heritage through Commercial Luau Shows in Central Florida

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Date Issued:
2014
Abstract/Description:
The Polynesian luau is one of the most well-known examples of cultural tourism. As such, it has accrued plenty of criticism, from issues of authenticity to primitivizing stereotypes and bodily framing. Lost in these critiques, however, are the voices of Polynesian performers who have chosen to participate in this form of cultural presentation. Based on ethnographic research with Polynesian performers employed in tourist luau shows in Orlando, Florida, from 2012 to 2014, I argue that not only are performers presenting their culture in a way that is meaningful for them and their audience, but that they are also using their employment as a way of connecting to their cultural heritage and reifying their cultural identity. By looking at performers' perspectives within cultural tourism, scholars can perceive the agency those performers use to assert their cultural identity and connection to their heritage.
Title: Sharing Aloha on the mainland: Cultural Identity and Connecting to Heritage through Commercial Luau Shows in Central Florida.
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Name(s): Hoback, Brittany, Author
Howard, Rosalyn, Committee Chair
Matejowsky, Ty, Committee Member
Reyes-Foster, Beatriz, Committee Member
University of Central Florida, Degree Grantor
Type of Resource: text
Date Issued: 2014
Publisher: University of Central Florida
Language(s): English
Abstract/Description: The Polynesian luau is one of the most well-known examples of cultural tourism. As such, it has accrued plenty of criticism, from issues of authenticity to primitivizing stereotypes and bodily framing. Lost in these critiques, however, are the voices of Polynesian performers who have chosen to participate in this form of cultural presentation. Based on ethnographic research with Polynesian performers employed in tourist luau shows in Orlando, Florida, from 2012 to 2014, I argue that not only are performers presenting their culture in a way that is meaningful for them and their audience, but that they are also using their employment as a way of connecting to their cultural heritage and reifying their cultural identity. By looking at performers' perspectives within cultural tourism, scholars can perceive the agency those performers use to assert their cultural identity and connection to their heritage.
Identifier: CFE0005505 (IID), ucf:50359 (fedora)
Note(s): 2014-05-01
M.A.
Sciences, Anthropology
Masters
This record was generated from author submitted information.
Subject(s): Polynesian -- Cultural tourism -- Performer agency -- Heritage and Identity
Persistent Link to This Record: http://purl.flvc.org/ucf/fd/CFE0005505
Restrictions on Access: campus 2015-11-15
Host Institution: UCF

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