Slumming It – the book

slumming it title page

Slumming It: The tourist valorisation of urban poverty

Slumming It: The tourist Valorization of Urban Poverty
Zed Books London, June 2016
Paperback: £16.99
ISBN: 9781783604432

This book addresses the touristic valorisation of areas of urban poverty and tourism’s curious role in making slums must-see attractions, places of tourist attention and intervention, places of discovery and meaningful experience. Tourism in slums takes the form of organized tours, hospitality and other services provided to tourists, as well as the related imaginaries and representations of slums as they circulate among tourists.

Based on two years of research in Rio de Janeiro, Bangkok, various cities in South Africa, Kenya and India, the book develops a comprehensive account of tourist valorisation in slum tourism throughout the global south. Slum tourism is not a new phenomenon and has been discussed to some extent both in historical and contemporary perspective. The book, building on existing research, points to aspects and effects of slum tourism that have so far been overlooked.

In more general terms the book shows how slum tourism provides an apt lens to shed light on the sociological and political questions of global justice and equity in an increasingly mobile world . It opens up new perspectives on the political role of tourism and mobility, and enhances the understanding of processes of urban development and gentrification. It does so by comparing different historical and contemporary examples of tourism in slums, and embedding the empirical analysis in a theoretical framework of urban development centred on the concept of valorisation. The book analyses why tourists valorise the slum, how processes of valorisation work and what effects valorisation bring.

Read an extract from the book on CityMetric

Bianca Freire-Medeiros, author of Touring Poverty
“Based on years of embedded fieldwork, Frenzel’s book cuts through the powerful mythology surrounding the so-called slums, townships, and favelas as tourist attractions to construct a revelatory narrative of the relationship between poverty and tourism, exploitation and political activism.”

John Hutnyk, author of The Rumour of Calcutta
“The reality of the slum is much fought over in commentary. Frenzel cuts through the confusion to evaluate the valorisation of poverty in tourism. With examples ranging across India, Brazil, Europe and South Africa, Frenzel offers an analysis, both comparative and detailed, that is a theoretically-informed advance on current scholarship.”

Manfred Rolfes, University of Potsdam
“Frenzel has written a very inspiring book, that is full of ideas and also deeply political. He opens up many new perspectives on slum tourism, and highlights its local and global dimensions.”

Eveline Dürr, LMU Munich
“Rich empirical evidence, expertly interrogated by notions of place valorisation, make this a fascinating piece of cutting-edge research on a fast emerging field of study. It makes a significant contribution to the available literature and is key reading for professionals and scholars alike.”

Christian M. Rogerson, University of Johannesburg
“A bold and carefully crafted analysis of slums and slum tourism. Theoretically grounded in the concepts of tourist valorization and local value regimes, it offers a nuanced and state of the art understanding of the nexus of tourism, slums and poverty.”

Imogen Tyler, author of Revolting Subjects
“This provocative and beautifully written study of slum tourism will transform your assumptions about the politics of slumming it. Drawing on rich ethnographic data, Frenzel carefully considers the activist potential of tourism to enact a relational politics of solidarity and care.”

More Reviews:

Jim Butcher, Anthropological Forum
Dagna Rams, London School of Economics
Tore Holst, Urban Forum
Steven Owen, Journal of Tourism and Cultural Change
Rebecca Anderson, Impakter
Christine Ro, Environment and Urbanization
Wade Shepard, Forbes
Yohann Koshy, Vice
Alex King, Huck Magazine
Hanna Pütz, Weltsichten (German)
Tourism Watch (German)

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