Polynesian, cultural tourism, performer agency, heritage and identity
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.
Master of Arts (M.A.)
College of Sciences
Length of Campus-only Access
Masters Thesis (Open Access)
Dissertations, Academic -- Sciences; Sciences -- Dissertations, Academic
Hoback, Brittany, "Sharing Aloha on the mainland: Cultural Identity and Connecting to Heritage through Commercial Luau Shows in Central Florida" (2014). Electronic Theses and Dissertations. 4808.