This study adopted a symbolic interactionist perspective to examine representational dynamics of a given contested space in which social agents and institutions interact to commodify cultural identity for touristic purposes; it does so by examining the toured Puerto Rican neighborhood of Humboldt Park, Chicago. Interviews conducted with 14 Puerto Rican community members revealed that the awareness of past gentrification experiences as well as current impending gentrification have shaped how agents residing in Humboldt Park represent their neighborhoods' cultural identity for tourism purposes in three main ways. First, respondents invoke historical detail to represent themselves to tourists as the legitimate residents of Humboldt Park. Second, respondents call on elaborate architectural features to construct representations that affirm their cultural identity through space demarcation. Third, respondents favor tourism representations that focus on the neighborhood's rich legacy, presence, and persistence in Humboldt Park.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)322-332
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Travel Research
Issue number3
StatePublished - Feb 2007


  • Contested spaces
  • Identity
  • Representation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • Transportation
  • Tourism, Leisure and Hospitality Management


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