A postcolonial feminist analysis of official tourism representations of Sri Lanka on Instagram

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Tourism Management Perspectives


© 2020 Elsevier Ltd Although postcolonial analyses examining the sexualized imagery of women in tourism have been conducted, previous studies have predominantly focused on gender and (post)colonialism from a patriarchal perspective. By doing so, other (neo)colonial power asymmetries, such as race, class and ethnicity, have often been neglected. This paper mobilises postcolonial feminist theory to expand the existing analyses and discourses concerning gendered representations in tourism. Through a narrative analysis of the images published in the official Instagram page of Sri Lanka's Ministry of Tourism, we contend that the images produced and circulated to promote Sri Lanka in many instances echo essentialist gendered binaries (e.g. men/women; coloniser/colonised; hegemonic/subordinated). However, as the images tend to produce and reiterate Sri Lankan national identity through a hegemonic Sinhalese Buddhist discourse, they also show the intersections between gender and other asymmetries of power (e.g. race, ethnicity, religion, and social class) – in reproducing (post)colonial gendered identities.

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