Cultural Capital Possession

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In the Philippines, the tourism industry flourished and became one of the outstanding industries in the country. Over the years, it has been playing a vital role to our economy and our country. It is used as an instrument of national and economic development through reducing poverty and conservation of our own natural and cultural resources and tourist attraction. For many regions and countries, it is the most important source of welfare. The ability of the national economy to benefit from tourism depends on the availability of investment to develop the necessary infrastructure (DFID, 2001). Tourists are human beings, and according to the study of Economics, their wants are insatiable and can only be limited by their imagination (Understanding Economics, 2012). Back in the days, tourists were content just by travelling to places, taking pictures and buying souvenirs; but as human beings, tourists keep on wanting for more. They want to take their travel to a next level and to have opportunities to participate actively and to interact with the environment or the place where they travel and dig deep into their culture.

The focus of this research is creative tourism. Creative tourism is a tourism that offers visitors the opportunity to develop their creative potential through active participation in courses and learning experiences on topics that are typical of the destination (Richards & Wilson, 2006).

Pottery represents an example of way of life. It had been an important part of human culture for thousands of years. It started from prehistoric storage jars to tiles on the space shuttles, pottery and ceramics have played a key role in innumerable human endeavors. "Pot" is a term used for any number of container forms. Both words derive from the Old English potian, "to push”. As early as 9,000 - 10,000 B.C potteries started to be a part of the human culture.

On the other hand, pottery industry or the pottery making in the Philippines dates back to the days of our Filipino ancestors who have been around since the beginning of time because of the need to have plates and bowls to eat. It is one of the earliest arts practiced by Filipinos. Pottery can be functional as for domestic use, as cooking vessels and storage containers or even as a decorative art form. In early periods, pottery in the Philippines is sacred because it was served as burials and used in religious rituals. (Jeffrey Hays, 2013)

Historical evidence points to two facts about pottery in the Philippines- (1) that there existed traditional forms of pottery making by different tribal communities in the thousands of islands of the Philippines, and (2) that these traditional forms have been influence by the Chinese traders who taught us their cultures, arts, beliefs and how they make their own ceramic and we Filipinos adapted that to our daily lives (Mendoza, 2008).

Pottery in Taboc, San Juan also encountered different problems that shaped them into what they are today. Firstly, when the Japanese invaded the Philippines, they sent Filipinos into hiding. They left their houses, schools were closed and classes were cancelled; many businesses were bankrupt. Even the pottery in Taboc, San Juan was affected. Secondly, when the Filipinos finally gained the independence within the help of Americans and regained its shine as the Pearl of the Orient Seas, the pottery in Taboc, San Juan reclaimed its golden beauty. However, during the martial law in the Philippines, the Filipinos started to live in fears, and pottery making was affected as well. The potters in Taboc, San Juan resumed making pots during the reign of the first female president, Cory Aquino. She established the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Law that promote social justice and industrialization. It helped the pottery industry back on track again (Martin et al., 2016).

However, today’s pottery struggles in an era where new technologies introduced to make life much easier. Potters are now using a more advanced technology and create more numbers of products in short period of time. Primarily, pottery-making needs skills, talent and dedication in creating one.

With this struggles in mind, the researchers wanted to find a way so that pottery industry in the Philippines will remain and let the future generation experience it. The researches cannot simply include all the sectors of the tourism industry. They choose creative tourism as it would help the pottery industry.

San Juan, La Union known once as “The Golden Town of Pottery in La Union” a very long time ago that shaped especially the pottery industry of Taboc, San Juan. This tag line gives the researchers the notion to generate the idea of creating a research to explore San Juan’s rich culture in pottery, to highlight their talent in creating pottery not just the surfing industry. (Martin, Obille, Apigo,Gongora, Labsan, Navalta., 2016)

Every country has their own products and assets that promote tourism in their country. It also showcases their uniqueness to capture the attention of different types of tourists. Examples include the Italy’s glass industry, China’s and Syrian’s ceramics, Persia’s carpets and Belgium’s lace making, which they use to capture the interest in creativity and arts of the tourists.

The topic of this research arises from the small historic towns that can position themselves on an increasingly demanding tourism market only on the basis of an indigenous offer and creative tourism. In developing a creative destination brand, the research relies on the situation analysis. The analysis of the current situation provides a critical overview of small historic towns and their position on the tourism market, pointing to the unfortunate lack of awareness about the possibilities of creative tourism development and the lack of research on the topic.

This research aimed to provide information about the tourism industry in the country on a specific place focusing on the status, the activity program to be proposed, and the specific concrete ways of innovating strategies with the help of creative tourism in creating the destination brand. Local residents and businesses need to evolve into key creators of a new tourism offer and a new, personalized view of tourists as active co-creators and promoters of an indigenous proposal and a unique experience.

Theoretical Framework

The researchers used the theory of “Cultural Capital” by Pierre Bourdieu, which defines that concept of cultural capital refers to the collection of symbolic elements such as skills, tastes, posture, clothing, mannerisms, material belongings, credentials, etc. that one acquires through being part of a particular social class.

Cultural tourism is a form of tourism where you travel or seek for cultural experiences, in line with the creative tourism to enhance the visit experience of a tourist in a certain destination.

The studies that linked cultural capital to creative tourism had converging concerns and mentioned these in distinct ways. Nonetheless, Rui Carvalho extracted three major references. These shows how this connection was made and how it has influenced creative tourism studies.

Figure 1: Rui Carvalho’s Presence of cultural capital theory in creative tourism

Cultural capital accumulation. A direct connection is established between tourism consumption and the acquisition/accumulation of cultural capital, both by cultural and creative tourists (Richards & Wilson, 2006; D’Auria, 2009). In addition, cultural capital is something tourists want to acquire but, at the same time, exhibit through tourism (Pappalepore et al., 2014). The same authors explain that cultural capital accumulation is done by a cosmopolitan consuming class in search of status. Culture and tourism share a close relationship in which creativity and the acquisition of cultural capital is an alternative to regular cultural tourism (D’Auria, 2009).

Cultural capital possession. A sociological perspective is used within this theme in the articles mentioned in the present study. Both supply and demand sides possess the cultural knowledge of places in tourism production (Karlsson., 2005). Not only do tourists themselves own cultural capital as intellectual property (Richards & Wilson, 2006) but so do various social groups stationed in particular tourism destinations: local habitants, entrepreneurs, cultural institutions (Akerlund & Mueller, 2012), residents and visitors (Pappalepore et al., 2014).

Cultural capital application. This study focused on the use of this kind of capital within the framework of creative tourism. Local cultural capital was used to boost the event bid for Umea – European Capital of Culture 2014, and cultural capital was pointed out as a major outcome of event organization (Akerlund & Muller, 2012). This capital is used in the design of experiences contributing to long-term sustainable development (D’Auria, 2009) in which creative tourism is seen as a credible strategy for urban development. According to Pappalepore et al. (2010), cultural capital refers to the use of insider knowledge about commodities and consumption practices not yet available to the mainstream. This allows visitors and creative tourists to detach themselves from regular tourists (Pappalepore et al., 2014), thus converting individual evaluations and establishing social status as important aspects of creative tourism’s practical applications. Cultural capital refers to the knowledge of new trends in tourism services, such as ‘off the beaten track’ tours, and as a form of distinguishing between types of tourists and ‘cool’, vibrant places (Pappalepore et al., 2014). This may concern tourism service providers, as they have to design the right experiences for the right tourists. Creative tourists want deep transforming experiences requiring skill development on both sides of supply and demand. Co-creation plays here a crucial role, as visitors co-create their experiences, influencing the final outcome of tourism consumption.

Authentic experience. It can be gained through cultural capital accumulation whereas the tourist can learn and participate in the creative and cultural tourism site in search of an “authentic” experience. The potters of Taboc’s cultural capital of making pots can be gain, learn and acquire by the tourists through active participation/ direct interaction within each other.

Tourism value. It can be acquired through cultural capital possession because cultural capital possession can be used as a notion for locals to recognize the importance and worth of their own tourism site. Tourist and locals having social interaction in which they share their own cultural capital possession and can learn from each other. Both the tourists and locals possesses cultural capital, it may or may not have the same experience, cultural, and socio-economic possession, but what is clear is that they both have cultural capital possession of their own which show that it can be a powerful tool that can be used to become a successful tourism destination and their own tourism value. In line with the cultural capital possession of Taboc, which is their pottery making that can be used as a tool in attracting tourist and be the tourism value of Taboc.

Cultural Significance. It is embodied in the place itself, its setting and have those “historical asset” that have historic, scientific, social and spiritual value that had been on the past, currently at the present and also for future generation which shows that it is a great cultural capital of a creative and cultural site. Culture shares a close relationship with creative and cultural tourism in which it accumulated by the potters of Taboc.

Socio economic Impact. It can be gained through cultural capital application when the cultural capital of both locals and tourists has a system of exchange, which the experiences, culture, and socio-economic profile of a tourist possession is accumulated by the locals and vice versa. In which they can use monetary value in exchange to this cultural capital possession and help the each other to improve their social status through supply and demand. With the use of cultural capital application, the locals and potters of Taboc can have interaction with the tourist and at the same time earn monetary value that will eventually help in their socio economic development of the said community.

Figure 2: SWOT Analysis

According to “Strategic Management” , is a framework for analyzing the internal and external environment of an industry by determining the industry’s strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats (Dess, Lumpkin, Eisner, McNamara, 2012). These factors may alter or even derail an industry’s strategy, and only when you can prepare for these factors can you adapt to change and be successful. Success realistically lies in resurgence from change, which is why the researchers need to have a plan for building on strengths, working around weaknesses, taking advantage of opportunities, and protecting the industry from threats.

The culture capital and SWOT analysis were used as a foundation in this study of pottery industry in Taboc, San Juan La Union as a creative tourism destination.

Conceptual Framework

Figure 3: Conceptual Framework

Figure 3 shows the Conceptual Framework that determined the flow of the study. Each box has different definition of problem to be answered after conducting the study. The first box shows the assessment of pottery industry in terms of authentic experience, its tourism value, cultural significance, and socio-cultural impact. From the assessment, the researcher determined the strengths, weakness, opportunities, and threats of the industry. Also, from the assessment, the researchers determined the significant difference between the assessment of the tourist and local residents. After knowing the strengths, weakness, opportunities and threats of the industry, and the significant difference between the assessment of the tourist and local residents, an Activity Program was proposed for the Pottery Industry in Taboc, San Juan, La Union. The last box shows the output or the solution to the problem, which would be the proposed activity program to be proposed.