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Research article - Peer-reviewed, 2019

Tourism and environmental subjectivities in the Anthropocene: observations from Niru Village, Southwest China

Zhang, Jundan


The increasingly popular notion of Anthropocene urges us to reflect and review the role of the human, the Anthropos, as part of the planet earth. In this context, tourism has been singled out as a global industry that is driven by neoliberal economic principles and is inevitably intertwined in the production of the Anthropocene. At the same time, tourism has been adopted also as part of environmental governance and management, aiming for a more sustainable economy. Based on the idea that ecotourism contributes to the discourse of "nature" (and Anthropocene) disruptively as well as productively in unsettling the normative ideas of "nature" and "culture", in this article I attempt to understand more specifically how ecotourism may enable individuals' subject formation in relation to the broader environmental discourse. Drawn on fieldwork in Niru Village, Shangri-La, Southwest China, I employ a political ecology approach and examine the ways individuals relate themselves to "nature", through a process of negotiation and exchange with others engaged in ecotourism activities. The tourism encounters in Niru Village, therefore are also embodied encounters of different environmental subjectivities.


Anthropocene; Shangri-La; tourism encounters; environmental subjectivities; political ecology

Published in

Journal of Sustainable Tourism
2019, Volume: 27, number: 4, pages: 488-502
ISBN: 17477646 09669582

    UKÄ Subject classification

    Economic Geography

    Publication Identifiers


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