Ethnic Groups and Orientalism

Ethnic groups are made up of individuals who share a common heritage. Members of an ethnic group usually live around the same region, speak the same language, and share common religion and practices. Individuals who are tribal minded can be regarded as a hindrance to full integration since they remain attached to non-normative customs, adaptations, and languages. In the past, governments have viewed ethnic groups as a problem.

This is because their customs do not allow them to fit into national governments. Some have a nomadic lifestyle, meaning that they usually move from one place to another with little regard for borders. Their customs are considered as ‘not civilized’ by national governments. However, all this has changed as ethnic groups have become a tourist attraction. Governments are now encouraging the preservation of ethnic cultural traditions. This is going to be very helpful to these groups.

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Even though tourists bring change and sometimes, result in harmful effects on ethnic culture, their benefits outweigh their disadvantages. With increase in tourism, ethnic groups do not have to migrate in search for work. They can sell their cultural goods right in their home areas. They can also earn a living from their cultural traditions like dancing and singing. Their earnings help them to incorporate a different kind of education into their cultural learning.

Long-term effects of tourism usually result in integration of the tourists’ into the local communities. This could be of benefit to the local culture, although there are also a number of disadvantages associated with such integration. In addition, integration may result in dilution of the language, a change in customs, or a lack of practice altogether as ethnic groups are too busy taking care of tourists. This is helpful because in the long run, change is always good.

Orientalism is a term used in reference to a style of thought based on a distinction between the orient and the west. Orientalism is usually depicted by artists, written about by novelists and poets and discussed by philosophers and theorists. Orientalism is believed by some to be a stereotypical imitation of the eastern culture.

Orientalism is a big factor in our society. The orient is seen as the centre of languages and civilization in Europe. Its study borrows from the past, and integrates the present and the future. To some scholars, such areas of study areas as anthropology appears highlight how the orient differs from the west.

Orientalism is a factor in the political and economic development of the west. The study and understanding of the orient is firmly rooted in the western doctrine and as such, it grants the west control of the resources in the east. Orientalism is also a factor worth of consideration when it comes to religious prejudice. In this context, orientation endeavours to depict Islam in a negative and stereotypical way.

Orientalism affects our travel fantasies and attraction to ethnic tourism. The depiction of orientalism is usually exotic, alive, romantic, and sensual. Even though this may not be accurate representation of the orient, nonetheless, it draws many to travel to the east. In the recent past, however, the emergence security concerns on the east may be a hindrance to travel in those regions.

To push orientalism into a more positive study, we need to involve more scholars from the west in this debate. This would ensure that information is accurate and lacking in prejudice.

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