Leisure and Labor in New Orleans' "Number One Factory": Work, Culture, and the Political Economy of Tourism
Date of Award
Anthropology and Sociology
As the symbolic and functional heart of the New Orleans tourism industry, the French Quarter has been described as the city's "number one factory". Using this evocative image as a starting point, this paper explores workaday life within this factory. I argue that the political economy of tourism brings together the world of work and the world of leisure in such a way that neither can be meaningfully understood apart from each other. To get at this point, I examine the commodity which at the heart of the tourist economy, which, I contend, is the touristic experience. Drawing on data gleaned from interviews, participant observation, and analysis of tourist discourse, I show that the production of this commodity – immaterial as it may appear – is in fact quite labor intensive. Furthermore, as tourism has become the driving sector of the New Orleans economy, the social and economic arrangements that the industry entails have extended out from the factory, integrating a broader swath of the city's geography into its structure than is generally supposed.
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Freemole, Dylan Hogan, "Leisure and Labor in New Orleans' "Number One Factory": Work, Culture, and the Political Economy of Tourism" (2019). Senior Honors Theses. 136.
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