Eduardo Rodríguez Merchán

Picturesque Violence: Tourism, the Film Industry, and the Heritagization of ‘Bandoleros’ in Spain, 1905–1936

Journal of Tourism History, Vol. 6, No. 1 (2014): 38-56.

This article examines the debates about the Andalusian ‘bandoleros’ (bandits) in the context of early tourism as a state-guided policy in Spain. As we argue, the development of tourism made Spanish intellectuals reconsider the real armed activity in Andalucía as part of Spanish national heritage and a tourist attraction. Consistent with the stereotypical image of Spain coined by the Romantic travelers, such an early heritagization of brigandry reveals the role of the élites in recasting exotic imagery into modern tourism-shaped identities: in the hands of early-century writers, bandits were reshaped as part of the ‘modern picturesque’. Furthermore, the role given to brigands in early cinema allows one to see how the early heritage discourse bridged transnational and centralist interests at the expense of the regional ones, thus foreshadowing the debates about hegemony in present-day heritage studies.