CONTOURS: Conservation, Tourism, Remoteness
706 000 EUR
University of Oulu
- Kukka Haapaniemi
Tourism is the world’s largest industry, and it a popular tool for development at international, regional, and local levels. Particularly in remote parts of the world, tourism is promoted as a path towards sustainable social (e.g. economic) and ecological development, and for developing or regenerating remote communities. But in creating protected areas across much of the globe, ecological conservation initiatives frequently conflict with some of the more radical directions of tourism development. CONTOURS looks across Europe and Western Russia to understand how conservation and tourism practices and processes intersect, and how they are understood, implemented and at times resisted. The project seeks to set out a conceptual and methodological pathway for linking applied studies of nature tourism and conservation practices with critical research on human-environment relations. Our team of historians, anthropologists and environmental humanities scholars bring together several disciplinary approaches and methods (e.g. historical interpretation of archival sources, visual ethnography, walking methods, and soundscape ecology) to study how tourism might be used in effective ways to serve the communities in remote regions. We use participatory research that builds on different stakeholders’ experiences and knowledge practices as they pertain to rural and peri-rural landscapes, to encourage senses of belonging, equality and trust, while hopefully leading to social innovation and more inclusive opportunities. CONTOURS works to show how rapidly changing nature tourism and conservation imperatives shape culture, economy and ecology, and how conservation efforts engage with socio-cultural and ecological change.