Sociocultural micro-realities transformed by tourism in São Miguel do Gostoso, Rio Grande do Norte, Brazil

Abstract Justified purpose of the topic: The purpose of this article was to align theoretical and methodological perspectives of microhistory with the contribution of studies in the field of tourism, in order to understand transformations of micro-realities in the municipality of São Miguel do Gostoso, state of Rio Grande do Norte, Brazil. Micro-realities are histories of ordinary people that translate and clarify microscopic aspects of a complex life style. Purpose: To analyze the social cultural transformations of place caused by the tourism phenomenon from the perspective of local micro-realities. Design, methodology and approach: In terms of methodology we combined qualitative analysis with participant observation, analysis of documents and audiovisual records on the town. Fifty-two individuals were interviewed, among those who had a certain prominence in town history. They should not have any official position, but they should have experienced the changes occurring between 1993 and 2016. Seventeen respondents were considered for this article. Results and originality: The research results highlight relevant changes in the sociocultural micro-realities of participants. The most prominent impacts mentioned are: the gradual emptying of cultural traditions, changes in food habits and in language. On the other hand, the positive contributions listed concern plurality of cultures and social engagement. We concluded that tourist flows altered sociocultural micro-realities, and thus defining tourism as the region’s most important economic activity, and relocating work force. This study relevance and originality is the link between microhistory and tourism, almost non-existent in scientific research.