n Africa Insight - The institutional commodification of heritage tourism in Ghana

Volume 42, Issue 2
  • ISSN : 0256-2804


This article develops the concept of institutional commodification in relation to heritage tourism. The concept of commodification has been widely used in tourism research and is mostly linked to notions of authenticity, whereby the private sector commodifies culture through touristic practices, which in turn socially construct forms of authenticity. Such authenticity has been linked to notions of individual agency in terms of existential authenticity. However, we argue it is not just the private sector or the individual consumer that is involved in commodification processes; rather the state plays a significant role in the necessary institutional arrangements for commodification to occur. This process is illustrated with reference to evidence from the production and sale of tourism souvenirs in Ghana.

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