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The Politics of Mobilities: Ecotourism in North-South Relations

14 & 15 January 2005

Lancaster University Conference Centre

Research Project Abstract

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Programme

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Dr. Rosaleen Duffy, Department of Politics and International Relations/Cemore

Pennie Drinkall, CeMoRe Coordinator

This workshop will explore the politics of ecotourism, as one example of increasing global mobilities. In particular it will locate ecotourism, and mobilities within the debate on globalisation and international relations, and specifically the politics of North-South relations. The workshop will analyse the ideological basis for ecotourism, which is often promoted as a ‘politics free’ development strategy for the South. It will be held under the auspices of the Centre for Mobilities Research (Director, John Urry) and funded by Lancaster University Institute of Advanced Studies in Management and Social Sciences.

The workshop will have approximately 12 speakers drawn including academics, NGO representatives and tourism practitioners, including:

John Urry (Department of Sociology, Lancaster University)

Matilde Córdoba Azcárate (Department of Social Anthropology, Universidad Complutense Madrid) When ‘local’ nature becomes a ‘global’ issue: Celestún and its Biosphere Reserve

Rosaleen Duffy (Department of Politics and International Relations, Lancaster University) The Politics of Ecotourism in Madagascar

Paulette Bynoe (Department of Geography, Sussex University) Ecotourism and Institutional Arrangements: Does it matter?

Elias Kimaru and Celia Nyamweru (Centre for African Studies, Cambridge University) Ecotourism at a sacred site: the case of Kaya Kinondo, Kwale District (Kenya)

Nicola J. Palmer (Centre for Tourism and Cultural Change, Sheffield Hallam) Conceptual dissonance, economic transition and the struggle for local control in ecotourism development: the case of the Kyrgyz Republic

Marloes Van Amerom (Geography Department, University of Durham) The rewards and punishments of being an eco tourism destination: tourism as a political instrument in Western-African relations

Jones Muleso Kharika (Department of Environmental Affairs and Tourism, South Africa) Transboundary Ecotourism in Southern Africa

Richard Sharpley (Department of Tourism Management, University of Hull)

Chasca Tywman (Department of Geography, University of Sheffield)

Michael Lomotey (Tourism Concern) Ecotourism, an Exercise in Exclusion: Why Tourism Concern is Cautious About Ecotourism

Marina Novelli (Centre for Tourism Policy Studies (CenToPS), University of Brighton)

Sian Sullivan (Centre for the Study of Globalisation & Regionalisation (CSGR),University of Warwick)

Chris Southgate (Department of Environmental Management, UCLAN)

William Wolmer (Institute for Development Studies, Sussex University)

It is hoped that a number of participants will produce a paper that will be developed for a special issue of a relevant tourism journal.

The participants will be from a diverse range of backgrounds including individuals from universities, tourism and development NGOs and those involved in the practice of tourism itself.

1. Abstract and paper title due: Friday 29 October (200 words) (this will be posted on the workshop website)
2. Draft papers due: 5 January 2005 (5000 words)
3. Workshop: starts 2pm 14 January 2005; and ends 1pm 15 January
4. Revised papers due: 18 April 2005 (6000 words)

Outline workshop timetable

  • Day one 14 January
    Start at 2pm, sessions until 5pm, Dinner at 7pm. Participants stay at Lancaster overnight.
  • Day two 15th January
    Start at 9am, sessions until 12pm, lunch 12-1pm, workshop ends and participants leave after 1pm.

Papers should address one of more of the following themes:

  • In what ways is ecotourism linked with globalisation?
  • What kinds of development can ecotourism offer?
  • Is it a politically neutral development strategy?
  • What are the power relations involved in ecotourism?
  • How does ecotourism impact on North-South relations?

Rationale
Academic work on ecotourism is one stream of broader research into the social, economic, political and environmental implications of increasing global mobilities. This workshop will seek to locate ecotourism and mobilities within debates on international relations, specifically the politics of North-South relations. Developing states are increasingly encouraged to utilise their comparative advantage in sun, sea, sunshine, adventure and landscape through the expansion of ecotourism. Ecotourism is often promoted by organisations as diverse as the World Bank, the United Nations, the World Tourism Organisation and NGOs, as a possible pathway through a seemingly intractable problem of environmental conservation with development for the South. Ecotourism is equally recommended as a ‘politics’ free option that focuses on raising hard currency for the developing world. However, this workshop will focus on the politics of ecotourism, an in particular the notion that ecotourism fits neatly within the political and economic changes brought about by globalisation, and more specifically global liberalisation, of the post Cold War order (see Rosenau, 1992; McGrew, 1992; O’Brien, Goetz, Scholte and Williams, 2000).

The increased interest in embracing tourism as a development strategy is part of the global re-emergence of neo-liberalism expressed through global governance and the shift towards a ‘liberal peace’ (for further discussion see Fukuyama, 1989; 1992). The interest in tourism can be related to neo-liberal theories of modernization and their emphasis on the importance internal factors as facilitators or inhibitors of business-oriented development. The ideological basis of development through tourism growth reveals that tourism is very much a political process and part of a global shift towards political and economic liberalism, rather than a private or individualized activity (Matthews and Richter, 1991; for further discussion and critiques of neoliberal development see Escobar, 1995 and Hoogvelt, 2001). The renewed emphasis on outward oriented growth and the rise of neo-liberal development strategies has focused attention on tourism as a potential growth sector. The central core of neo-liberal development strategies is an emphasis on economic diversification, particularly a commitment to non-traditional exports, such as tourism.

Through taking an expressly political look at ecotourism, and mobilities, this workshop will enhance research on ecotourism which has often focused on the management practices of global and local businesses from a strict policy formulation or business angle; as a result, much academic writing on ecotourism is confined to studies that do not take a critical political line on ecotourism as development policy and development practice.

Conference Organiser:

Pennie Drinkall, CeMoRe Coordinator

Booking details will be available shortly.

 

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