Global tourism operates as both a cultural project and an economic development strategy in developing nations. Increasingly, tourism promotions and services have generated new contexts for debates over populations' legitimate membership in the nation-state. Using ethnographic data and textual analysis, this article explores how the Costa Rican state has attempted to delineate members of the nation as predominantly white and residing largely in the Central Valley in its tourism promotions. This practice mirrors the distribution of rights within the nation and produces a category of the citizen-subject in the context of international tourism. As a result, a multi-racial, multi-national group of residents from Puerto Viejo, Costa Rica deployed political strategies in which they imagined themselves as citizen-subjects. The demand for citizenship based on economic participation in tourism created positive changes in the social welfare and access to resources for Puerto Viejo's residents. However, the limits of market-based citizenship claims are also considered.


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pp. 121-143
Launched on MUSE
Open Access
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