This study aims to look at how tourism is affecting the Mosuo culture, specifically their walking marriages. I lived with a Mosuo family around Lugu Lake and conducted in-depth interviews with 14 Mosuo people. Tourism is changing the Mosuo's perception of themselves and their culture, while also economically developing the region around Lugu Lake. Through these interviews I found that the Mosuo's walking marriage is not how the media portrays the Mosuo. Tourism is economically developing the region, while commodifying Mosuo culture and the presentation of authentic Mosuo culture. The Mosuo perform their culture to tourists around the lake, while away from the tourist town the Mosuo practice a different authentic culture, which is creating a front and back stage. Tourism is commodifying the Mosuo's walking marriages through prostitution and is also changing the dynamic of the Mosuo's matriline.


Frese, Pamela

Second Advisor

Wang, Rujie


Chinese Studies; Sociology and Anthropology


Social and Cultural Anthropology | Tourism

Publication Date


Degree Granted

Bachelor of Arts

Document Type

Senior Independent Study Thesis



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