|Title||Appropriated meanings: Megaliths and tourism in Eastern Indonesia|
Through tourism, megaliths have become an important ethnic marker of Ngadha society; together with the bhaga, ngadhu, traditional houses and nua, these elements attract tourists to the area. For the tourists these elements provide the essential backdrop to their vision of what makes 'a traditional village'. The transformation of contemporary symbols into heritage, worthy of preservation, may have the function of attracting tourists and bringing revenue into the area. However, it also has a number of other consequences. Assigning megaliths to the past by bestowing heritage status on them is another indirect yet potentially powerful way of severing the villager-ancestor relationship. Furthermore, the new symbolic meaning of the stones is of a 'primitive and unchanged society'. This meaning may be controversial, the villages may wish to contest 'primitive' and 'unchanged' labels after 30 years of 'being developed'. Furthermore, tourists view the megaliths as historic relics rather than contemporary symbols of the villager-ancestor relationship. Tourists inadvertently have a state sponsored view of the megaliths and their significance: a tourist attraction that relates to the villagers' past. Over time, the newly appropriated meaning of the megaliths, as a relic of the past, may eclipse their contemporary cultural significance. A comparative study between a village that receives significant numbers of tourists and one that does not would be interesting, to discover how far the tourists' perceptions of the megaliths influence the villagers' values.
|Journal||Indonesia and the Malay World|
|Journal citation||31 (89), pp. 140-150|
|Publisher||Taylor & Francis|
|Digital Object Identifier (DOI)||https://doi.org/10.1080/13639810304448|
|Published online||21 Jul 2010|