Representations of Tropical Forests and Tropical Forest-Dwellers in Travel Accounts of National Geographic

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Abstract:

As one of the most widely read genres of literature, travel writing plays a crucial role in forming popular images and understandings of foreign places and foreign peoples. This essay examines the dominant images of rainforests and rainforest peoples portrayed in accounts of travels in tropical America published in National Geographic. Special attention is paid to the issues of how particular representations are privileged in this magazine's travel accounts and how these representations relate to questions of authority and power. The analysis shows that the prevailing representations of the tropical forests and tropical forest-dwellers in the travel accounts of National Geographic rely on historically changing, but equally categorical distinctions between 'good' and 'bad', and 'natural' and 'unnatural'.

Keywords: images; representations; travel writings; tropical forests; tropical peoples

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.3197/096327106779116140

Publication date: November 1, 2006

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  • Environmental Values is an international peer-reviewed journal that brings together contributions from philosophy, economics, politics, sociology, geography, anthropology, ecology and other disciplines, which relate to the present and future environment of human beings and other species. In doing so we aim to clarify the relationship between practical policy issues and more fundamental underlying principles or assumptions.

    Environmental Values has an impact factor (2013) of 1.739.
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