Abstract. – CBT (Community-Based Tourism) is a very unspecific label behind which lies, in fact, a varied array of models and practices. The main reason of this empirical variability lies in the fact that CBT depends on the also multivocal and highly ideologically and politically biased concept of community. This article develops a new theoretical framework for CBT whereby the empirical diversity of the conceptual pair Community-CBT is spread along a continuum spanning from very “open” to very “closed” models. Being the different models of community nothing but societal ideologies, this continuum has also an inescapable political dimension, which cannot be separated from the CBT models themselves. The open-to-close continuum is, at the same time, a right to left one, to use the classical political terminology.
After having introduced the theoretical framework, the article focuses on analyzing the far left pole of the continuum, showing how communitarian movements are currently using CBT projects as a political tool, and how this phenomenon is particularly strong in Latin America. As an illustration of how this is taking place, the article will present the study case of Prainha
do Canto Verde, Brazil, which is widely known throughout Latin America, and where the authors have done extensive fieldwork research. [Brazil, social theory, community-based tourism theory, communitarian social movements, ethnogenesis processes]