"Heritage and Romantic Consumption in China is a beautifully structured monograph possessing a reasonable balance between sharp political analysis and ethnography which demonstrates sensuous feeling and embodied practice." - Geng Li, The Asia Pacific Journal of Anthropology (2020)"Tourists come to Lijiang looking for love and romance, only to become dissatisfied and disillusioned with the place, leaving it to locals to come up with new forms of attraction and alterity. This is a story with which tourism scholars are also familiar, but it is a story that few have told as comprehensively as Yujie Zhu."- Tim Oakes, The China Journal, No. 83, January 2020"Heritage and Romantic Consumption in China presents a very intriguing and in-depth ethnographic investigation of the politics of intangible heritage and heritage tourism in China. As such, its contribution to the heritage and museum studies literature, including tourism studies, is significant and certainly stretches beyond the context of China and Asia."- Song Hou, International Journal of Heritage Studies, 26:3 2019"This most sophisticated and provocative work weaves together intangible heritage, performance and authenticity. At the hinge of ethnic tradition and (post)modern individual consumerism, this book focusses on a leading edge of change in Chinese civilization."- Nelson Graburn, Professor Emeritus of Anthropology, University of California, Berkeley"Yujie Zhu has given us an incisively grounded account of how a centralized nation-state shapes local and minority heritage and channels it into the production of commodified sentiment." - Michael Herzfeld, Ernest E. Monrad Professor of the Social Sciences, Harvard University
The drums beat, an old man in a grand robe mutters incantations and three brides on horseback led by their grooms on foot proceed to the Naxi Wedding Courtyard, accompanied, watched and photographed the whole way by tourists, who have bought tickets for the privilege. The traditional wedding ceremonies are performed for the ethnic tourism industry in Lijiang, a World Heritage town in southwest China. This book examines how heritage interacts with social-cultural changes and how individuals perform and negotiate their identities through daily practices that include tourism, on the one hand, and the performance of ethnicity on the other. The wedding performances in Lijiang not only serve as a heritage 'product' but show how the heritage and tourism industry helps to shape people's values, dreams and expectations. This book also explores the rise of 'romantic consumerism' in contemporary China. Chinese dissatisfaction with the urban mundane leads to romanticized interests in practices and people deemed to be natural, ethnic, spiritual and aesthetic, and a search for tradition and authenticity. But what, exactly, are tradition and authenticity, and what happens to them when they are turned into performance?
Yujie Zhu is a Lecturer at the School of Archaeology and Anthropology, Australian National University. He is the co-editor of Politics of Scale and Sustainable Tourism Management at World Heritage Sites.