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'A Convulsed and Magic Country': Tourism and Resource Histories in the Mexican Caribbean

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Much of the discussion of 'space' in the recent literature has been concerned to provide a more 'active' account of its role in the transformation of historical epochs. Geographical frontiers, for example, are ascribed figuratively, temporally and spatially in ways that serve to influence succeeding events. Their 'discovery' is acknowledged as an element in powerful myths, which are reworked to create environmental histories as important as the material world they describe. This article takes as an example the Mexican Caribbean, which has recently been 'discovered' as a location for mass tourism and whose early tourist 'pioneers' are beginning to be celebrated in the region. It argues that far from having been an empty space, much of the area currently devoted to tourism once played an important role within global markets, especially through the production of dyewoods, chicle (the original raw material for chewing gum) and other natural resources. The paper concludes that discourses of space can be divided into three phases, the 'analogue', the 'digital' and the 'virtual', each of which contributes to a mythology of succession.
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Keywords: Caribbean resources; space; tourist histories

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 01 February 2005

More about this publication?
  • Environment and History is an interdisciplinary journal which aims to bring scholars in the humanities and biological sciences closer together, with the deliberate intention of constructing long and well-founded perspectives on present day environmental problems.

    Environment and History has a Journal Impact Factor (2017) of 0.538. 5 Year Impact Factor: 0.792.
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