The Decaying Port City as a Tourist Destination. Valparaíso’s Commodified Decline




Valparaíso, Slow Violence, Neoliberalization, Dereliction Tourism, Heritagization


This article explores the neoliberal transformation of Valparaíso from a deindustrialised, declining city to a site of tourist appeal that commodifies, in an ambivalent but striking way, its own decay. We describe the city’s economic, social and cultural trajectory from a period of global importance as a key port city to deindustrialisation and the acceleration of the city’s decline and the imposition of violent economic policies between 1970s and 90s. Drawing on the notion of slow violence and critical literature around heritage, postcolonial, deindustrial and ‘poverty’ tourism, we trace the impact and materiality of economic abandonment into the present moment, together with the city’s contemporary reliance on tourism for economic survival through a form of dereliction tourism. In a port city like Valparaíso, which has suffered economic decline, widening inequality and precariousness, of which neoliberalism is one cause, the full plasticity and ambivalence of neoliberalization processes is revealed.


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How to Cite

Seoighe, R., & Cuevas Valenzuela, H. (2021). The Decaying Port City as a Tourist Destination. Valparaíso’s Commodified Decline. European Journal of Creative Practices in Cities and Landscapes, 4(2), 82–107.