Connecting to nature via ecotourism as sustainable development
McLane, Daniel Newell, author
Carolan, Michael, advisor
Cross, Jeni, committee member
Hogan, Michael, committee member
Cottrell, Stuart, committee member
This dissertation presents a case study of ecotourism as sustainable development focused on the potential of the tourist as agent of sustainable development when she returns to the global North. This possibility is framed in terms of a tourist "connecting to nature" and thus becoming an agent of sustainable development. This potential is investigated via the comparison of a "real" rainforest and its "simulation" and this also investigates the role of the biophysical in shaping this connection. After describing an initial period of data collection the author explains why he adopted the framework of "environmental imaginaries" as a language to describe the multiple and often conflicting natures to which tourists connect. Using this framework two forms of connecting are identified, "recruiting" and "reinforcing". The role of the biophysical is explored for both forms of connecting as well as the implications for both upon the tourist's return home.