- Japanese Society for Oceanic Studies
- People and Culture in Oceania (ISSN:13495380)
- vol.35, pp.85-108, 2019 (Released:2020-09-01)
The purpose of this paper is to consider the social impact of tourism using data from fieldwork in Aneityum Island, southern Vanuatu.
Previous research has discussed tourism in Oceania from the perspective of “sustainable development.” This series of discussions was very relevant to those on “glocalization,” in which expanding Westernization or globalization is reinterpreted by local people. However, we must bear in mind that the impacts of tourism on small societies cannot easily be localized and reinterpreted.
The social impact of tourism is changing people’s notion of tradition (kastom in Melanesian pidgin). In anthropology in Japan, unlike in Europe and America, it has been argued that kastom and skul (the Western element) cannot be syncretized, but coexist. In light of this, Melanesian societies have been referred to as “bicultural,” and “immutability” has been viewed as the characteristic of kastom.
However, with the influx of cash to islanders working in tourism, life on Aneityum is changing dramatically. The islanders themselves understand that their livelihood (numu) is not as it was before, but do not know whose lives they are currently living.
Therefore, it is dangerous to unilaterally judge these situations as good examples of glocalization or “developing tradition.” Instead, we must accurately assess the social impact of tourism.