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The Production Of Place, Urban Development, And Public Spaces In An Emerging Tourist Economy In Northeastern Brazil

Creative Commons 'BY-ND' version 4.0 license

This dissertation asks how the town of Itacaré has developed as it has transitioned from an extractive to a tourist economy and reveals the tensions between different groups along regional, racial, and class lines. I argue that the production of place in a tourist economy creates a new emphasis on public spaces as landscapes. These landscapes, both urban and rural, then become key sites of economic value and collective identity. To examine these public spaces and changing landscapes this dissertation looks at the relationship between the legal systems of land tenure and informal systems of use and occupation, and the ongoing negotiations between local politicians, large landowners, and residents in claiming rights to these spaces. Important public spaces include conservation areas, agrarian reform settlements, parks, roads, and beaches; each of which reveal different sets of actors, unique histories, and complex negotiations. Rather than simply involving exploitation and marginalization of locals by outside developers, locals' connections to place allow them to claim rights that allow them some participation in the economic growth associated with tourism. Claims to place operate at different scales (local, regional, and national) and provide an important identity category for local residents to claim the right to use and occupy land. By exploring place based identities and their relationship to race, gender, and class, I contribute to anthropological literature on identity and regionalism in Brazil. In addition, this work contributes to debate around public spaces, urban development, and land tenure conflicts.

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