Justice and Fairness in Tourism: A Grounded Theory Study of Cultural Justice in Quintana Roo, Mexico
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Equity and fairness in the distribution of tourism benefits and participation in tourism decision-making are key tenets of sustainable tourism. However, little attention has been paid to the study and conceptualization of justice in tourism and robust theoretical or methodological foundations to examine fairness and justice; in particular, in regards to the well-being of ethnic, minority and/or disadvantaged groups are especially lacking in tourism studies. This dissertation reports the results of a grounded theory study of justice and equity in relation to tourism and the Yucatecan Maya in Quintana Roo, Mexico. A robust framework is offered to guide the study of cultural justice in tourism, which was developed based on theoretical contributions from environmental justice, social justice, and political philosophy, among others, and empirical data from multiple sources. Data were collected through in-depth interviews with 47 tourism stakeholders, participant observation, and examination of tourism-related government reports, statistics and other data related to legislation, planning and development. Issues of justice were found to be complex and multifaceted, rooted in post-colonial and contemporary power dynamics that affect the economic, social, and cultural status of the Yucatecan Maya in society. The study identified four major issues directly related to tourism that affected the economic and cultural well-being of this ethnic group: cultural exploitation, cultural marginalization, cultural racism, and cultural domination. The extensive research also identified the positive role of tourism in providing for cultural justice, in particular, recognition and respect for cultural, ethnic and minority groups and the cultural sustainability of their cultural manifestations. Based on the above findings and drawing upon theoretical contributions in the extensive literature on justice and fairness, it is argued that discourses of justice and equity in tourism should look beyond the distribution of tourism benefits and access to political power and address intangible matters of respect, recognition, and cultural valuation. A number of key principles to help address cultural injustices are suggested and implications for tourism policy and practice discussed.
Camargo Ortega, Blanca Alejandra (2011). Justice and Fairness in Tourism: A Grounded Theory Study of Cultural Justice in Quintana Roo, Mexico. Doctoral dissertation, Texas A&M University. Available electronically from