Tourism and a Telenovela: Magic and Money in Representations of Tequila, Jalisco, Mexico Open Access

Gaytán, Nayive Sarahi (Spring 2021)

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My thesis explores how ideas of the “magical” are used to magnify the existing cultural appeal of tourist destinations in Mexico. I use the Pueblo Mágico, or “magical town” of Tequila in the state of Jalisco as the primary site of my case study. My research questions center on the commodification of the culture and landscape of Tequila the town and its primary cultural product, the beverage tequila. I am particularly interested in how the discourses conveyed through state-sponsored tourism initiatives and privately funded broadcast media promote symbols associated with Mexican national identity. 

I argue that messaging about Tequila and messaging about Mexican national identity both work to privilege affect and emotion while camouflaging the role of neoliberal financial transactions. Despite highlighting the local and the traditional, these discourses ultimately affirm global capitalism. Concepts from film theory and tourism theory inform my analysis. In the first chapter, I focus on the history of the Mexican Ministry of Tourism’s Pueblos Mágicos program. In the second chapter, I explain the town of Tequila’s transformation into a tourist destination following its acceptance to the nationwide Pueblos Mágicos program. In the third chapter, I analyze the popular telenovela “Destilando Amor,” which is set in Tequila and is centered around a family-owned tequila corporation, within the context of melodrama. Throughout this project, my goal has been to show how a national strategy for fomenting tourism, by focusing on the local and the regional, on cultural traditions and landscapes, and on the magical and the emotional, is continually revealed to be following the money across the globe.

Table of Contents

Preface - 1

Introduction - 2

Chapter 1: Finding “Magic” in Mexico -9

Chapter 2: Welcome to Tequila -19

Chapter 3: Tequila on the Small Screen - 28

Conclusion - 43

Bibliography - 46




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