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

Anja Nygren

Environmental Values 15(2006): 505-525. doi: 10.3197/096327106779116140


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: Travel writings, representations, images, tropical forests, tropical peoples

REFERENCES to other articles in Environmental Values:

Environment as Discourse: Searching for Sustainable Development in Costa Rica. Anja Nygren

CITATIONS in other Environmental Values articles

The Politics of Justification: Newspaper Representations of Environmental Conflict between Fishers and the Oil Industry in Mexico. Liina-Maija Quist, Pia Rinne

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