Encounters with authentic Embera culture in Panama

D Theodossopoulos

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review


In this article I compare indigenous cultural performances for outsiders in an allegedly 'inauthentic' Embera community in Panama, which welcomes tourists on a daily basis, with similar staged events in some other less accessible communities, which receive visitors much less frequently. I will challenge the idea introduced by several travellers who seek authentic experiences that the first community is 'unreal' and its repetitive representations of Embera culture are mechanical, sterile and unoriginal. I will argue that these repetitive cultural performances constitute real lived experiences, and do not deserve to be demeaned as inauthentic. I will further maintain that in the 'tourist' community, as well as in the less accessible settlements, the Embera respond to the same set of expectations. They imagine what Western visitors would appreciate from their culture and enact very similar representations of these generalised expectations.
Translated title of the contributionEncounters with authentic Embera culture in Panama
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)93 - 115
Volume8 (1-2)
Publication statusPublished - 2007


Dive into the research topics of 'Encounters with authentic Embera culture in Panama'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this