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Animals in Development and Conservation: Spectacular Portrayals of Human-Lion Interactions

Dahlman Ström, Maria LU (2015) STVK12 20151
Department of Political Science
Abstract
With nature as its main attraction, ecotourism is promoted as a savior for both development and conservation. However, neoliberal logics of turning biodiversity into commodities have resulted in an increasing amount of ecotourism operators offering interactive experiences with charismatic wildlife. Although the animals are captive and forcefully employed as labor, the encounters are claimed to support conservation. This thesis will investigate one such case: the African Lion & Environmental Research Trust (ALERT) and their ‘hands-on’ lion project in Antelope Park, Zimbabwe.
Two research questions are developed: how are interactive experiences with animals marketed, and how are animals represented in this marketing material? A qualitative... (More)
With nature as its main attraction, ecotourism is promoted as a savior for both development and conservation. However, neoliberal logics of turning biodiversity into commodities have resulted in an increasing amount of ecotourism operators offering interactive experiences with charismatic wildlife. Although the animals are captive and forcefully employed as labor, the encounters are claimed to support conservation. This thesis will investigate one such case: the African Lion & Environmental Research Trust (ALERT) and their ‘hands-on’ lion project in Antelope Park, Zimbabwe.
Two research questions are developed: how are interactive experiences with animals marketed, and how are animals represented in this marketing material? A qualitative content analysis of both textual and visual data is conducted in order to answer these questions. The analysis is based on the ‘spectacle of nature’, combined with more specific theoretical arguments on interactive experiences and animal representation. This framework concerns itself with how the conservation network produces a bewildering array of marketing material featuring spectacular representations of exotic people, landscapes and animals in order to attract funding.
This research finds that ALERT’s lion encounters in Antelope Park indeed are marketed as spectacular, and that the lions are represented in a romanticized way in order to hide the aspects of captivity and forced labor from potential visitors. Hence, the chosen case is part of an extremely influential portrayal of neoliberal conservation, while justifying a tourism industry which employs millions of animals for human benefit each year. (Less)
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author
Dahlman Ström, Maria LU
supervisor
organization
course
STVK12 20151
year
type
M2 - Bachelor Degree
subject
keywords
ecotourism, neoliberalization, conservation, wildlife, portrayals
language
English
id
5435485
date added to LUP
2015-07-14 12:39:38
date last changed
2015-07-14 12:39:38
@misc{5435485,
  abstract     = {With nature as its main attraction, ecotourism is promoted as a savior for both development and conservation. However, neoliberal logics of turning biodiversity into commodities have resulted in an increasing amount of ecotourism operators offering interactive experiences with charismatic wildlife. Although the animals are captive and forcefully employed as labor, the encounters are claimed to support conservation. This thesis will investigate one such case: the African Lion & Environmental Research Trust (ALERT) and their ‘hands-on’ lion project in Antelope Park, Zimbabwe.
Two research questions are developed: how are interactive experiences with animals marketed, and how are animals represented in this marketing material? A qualitative content analysis of both textual and visual data is conducted in order to answer these questions. The analysis is based on the ‘spectacle of nature’, combined with more specific theoretical arguments on interactive experiences and animal representation. This framework concerns itself with how the conservation network produces a bewildering array of marketing material featuring spectacular representations of exotic people, landscapes and animals in order to attract funding. 
This research finds that ALERT’s lion encounters in Antelope Park indeed are marketed as spectacular, and that the lions are represented in a romanticized way in order to hide the aspects of captivity and forced labor from potential visitors. Hence, the chosen case is part of an extremely influential portrayal of neoliberal conservation, while justifying a tourism industry which employs millions of animals for human benefit each year.},
  author       = {Dahlman Ström, Maria},
  keyword      = {ecotourism,neoliberalization,conservation,wildlife,portrayals},
  language     = {eng},
  note         = {Student Paper},
  title        = {Animals in Development and Conservation: Spectacular Portrayals of Human-Lion Interactions},
  year         = {2015},
}