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Front and back cover caption, volume 28 issue 5

Front cover

THE CRISIS IN MALI. Malian refugees are seen at the Mbera refugee camp in eastern Mauritanian, Mbera, Mauritania, 17 July 2012. At that point, roughly 92,000 refugees had arrived in the camp. Estimates are that nearly half a million Malians have been displaced from their homes this year with many refugees having also fled to Burkina Faso and Niger. Photo taken by award-winning photographer, Lynsey Addario (http://www.lynseyaddario.com).

Back cover

TOURISM: WORK VS LEISURE

A tourist from Hong Kong photographs a young Mursi woman with lip-plate in her lower lip. Tourists queue up orderly for each to take their turn photographing the wonders of Mursi culture.

The image demonstrates the complexity of tourist encounters, and the multifaceted aspects of leisure and work.

The Mursi prepare for their visitors well ahead of touring cars arriving at their settlements. They make themselves up and imitate the kinds of working activities (e.g. grinding) they know from experience will fascinate and elicit a response from tourists. Tourists typically ask the Mursi for permission to photograph the process and, occasionally, join in themselves with the Mursi in their ‘work’. In this sense, the Mursi imitate ‘traditional’ sociality as they simulate their own working activities for tourists who supposedly spend their leisure time in Mursiland.

As Tamàs Règi argues in this issue, instead of seeing leisure as a fixed human condition within one society, anthropologists might approach it, rather, as a process that evolves at the interface between different societies that meet. In this way, leisure is a constantly developing practice in cross-cultural encounters.