IKMAS Seminar Series 10/2022

Macao East-West sociocultural crossroads: Global tourism, gastronomy, and identity imaginaries

Speaker: Dr Marisa C.Gaspar (Universidade de Lisboa)
Date: 30 June 2022 (Thursday)
Time: 3.30pm – 5.30pm
Zoom Meeting: https://ukm-edu-my.zoom.us/j/91350684633

For any inquiries, you may contact the secretariat farizankhatib@ukm.edu.my or call 0389213949



The Macao Special Administrative Region of the People’s Republic of China, designated as the Macao SAR once it was reintegrated into China in 1999 under the ‘One country, Two systems’ policy, has an important role to play in China’s contemporary worldwide economic power history. The Macao SAR has been one of the cities in the world with the highest income generated by the tourism sector, in particular, by the gambling industry. It can thus be said that Macao naturalizes an urban imaginary which corresponds to that of the consumer who seeks a cosmopolitan culture, luxury circuits and goods and the target audience par excellence in achieving China’s macroeconomic objectives.

In my ongoing post-doctoral project, «Feasting and power: the economy of culture in Macao, China», I seek to research how Macao’s tourism promotion and its East-West identity construction is based on a cultural hybridity, from a Portuguese inheritance, that has led to UNESCO’s recognition as tangible and intangible world heritage and to a destination where gastronomy shines bright. Macao’s food potential for intercultural dialogue, exchange, and the creation of fusion cuisines – such as secular Portuguese based Macanese culinary practices – while still preserving local ancient mixed western identity, constitutes a significant part of the current political agenda. Cultural promotion, likewise, has been developed to diversify tourism economy beyond the gambling sector, and to reflect the city’s mixed cultural identity that justifies its role as a platform between China and Portuguese-speaking countries.

In this seminar, I’ll base my presentation on the case study of Macao’s membership to the UNESCO Creative Cities Network in the field of gastronomy, in order to approach public policies for cultural tourism, heritage, and identity implemented in Macao, in articulation with the Chinese Belt and Road Initiative of economic expansion and creation of global alliances.

KEYWORDS: Macao SAR; China; tourism; gastronomy; identity, economic development; global model: Portuguese



Marisa C. Gaspar holds a PhD in Social Anthropology. She develops
research activities as a Postdoctoral Research Fellow at SOCIUS/CSG –
Research Centre in Economic and Organizational Sociology of the Lisbon School of Economics and Management (ISEG), Universidade de Lisboa, and as Visiting Researcher at the Institute of European Studies of Macao. Her current research interests are on cultural and gastronomic tourism in Macao, Macanese community, social change, identity and ambivalence, intangible heritage, anthropology of economy and politics. She is the author of several academic articles and of her most recent book, Heirs of the Bamboo: Identity & Ambivalence among the Eurasian Macanese (2020) published by Berghahn Books.