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At Home and in the FieldEthnographic Encounters in Asia and the Pacific Islands$
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Suzanne S. Finney, Mary Mostafanezhad, Guido Carlo Pigliasco, and Forrest Wade Young

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9780824847593

Published to Hawaii Scholarship Online: November 2016

DOI: 10.21313/hawaii/9780824847593.001.0001

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“They Came for Nature”

“They Came for Nature”

A Political Ecology of Volunteer Tourism Development in Northern Thailand

Chapter:
(p.209) “They Came for Nature”
Source:
At Home and in the Field
Author(s):

Mary Mostafanezhad

Publisher:
University of Hawai'i Press
DOI:10.21313/hawaii/9780824847593.003.0035

This chapter examines the sometimes contradictory perspectives of Thai host-community members, nongovernmental organization (NGO) practitioners, and volunteer tourists, using a political ecology framework. A political ecology framework can highlight the complex historical, political, and economic context of environmental conservation in Mae Nam Village. Using this perspective, the chapter argues that the Northern environmental goals (goals that originate in the Global North or those countries identified by the World Bank as “developed”) and the strategies of Farang volunteer tourists and NGO practitioners tend to overlook preexisting local environmental knowledge, values, and practices that have allowed Mae Nam Village residents to maintain their “pristine forest” over the centuries. In this way, the sometimes disparate perspectives of volunteer tourism participants converge in ironic, contradictory, and complex ways, resulting in some goals that become privileged while other goals become marginalized.

Keywords:   political ecology, environmental conservation, Mae Nam Village, Thailand, environmental goals, Farang volunteer tourists, volunteer tourism, local environmental knowledge

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