Ecotourism Development, Conservation, Labor Mobilities

militarized space

Building on my PhD research on sustainable tourism development and conservation agendas, and deeply informed by the Mobilities Paradigm, this research explores the creation of “heated spaces” in communities inscribed within Natural Protected Areas where ecotourism is promoted as an economic development strategy. Drawing from extensive fieldwork in The Biosphere Reserve Ria Celestun, Mexico, I explore the frictions caused by the commodification and spectacularization of pink flamingos among locals, experts and tourists. My research highlights the emergence of novel socio-spatial configurations resulting from these frictions. I call these configurations, contentious hotspots and define them as highly disputed environmental niches in which global flows (of people, capital, labor, objects and meaning) are condensed and in which locals fight to stay still and physically proximate to tourists. Ethnography in these hotspots evince the everyday struggles generated by neoliberal conservation and environmental managerialism.