Power and empowerment in community based tourism: opening Pandora's box?

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

14 Citations (Scopus)


Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to highlight the different realities blended together in community-based tourism, and how storytelling can help us understand the resulting entanglement of actors and power. This paper combines a discussion of power and empowerment in community-based tourism with storytelling. Design/methodology/approach – The fictional narrative of Pandora’s box is used as a metaphor for power and empowerment in community-based tourism, which can leave communities worse off than before the introduction of tourism. Findings – However, the last thing remaining in Pandora’s box after all hardships had flown out, was hope. This paper also presents a hopeful perspective for community-based tourism in the form of another metaphor: the rhizome, which puts power and empowerment in a more dynamic and holistic frame. Just like in the original story of Pandora’s “jar” which gave voice to Pandora herself, within a rhizome, other players are regarded as valuable sources of tacit contextual knowledge. Originality/value – Storytelling and dialogue are recommended methods to obtain this knowledge. Using a storytelling perspective can encourage untold and unheard stories within a dialogue to be heard.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)72-84
Number of pages13
JournalTourism Review
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2015


  • Community-based tourism
  • Empowerment
  • Myths
  • Power
  • Storytelling
  • Tourism


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