RTS Sessions

2020 Annual Meeting of the American Association of Geographers

Sponsored Sessions of the Recreation, Tourism, & Sport Specialty Group:


1. Cross-border mobility and geopolitics: an interdisciplinary discussion

2. Tourism analytics: social media, spatially distributed data and data mining in tourism research

3. Park and protected area management in the American West

4. Precarious Hospitality: Geographies of Refuge, Recreation, and Refusal

5. Intersections of Race and Tourism Geographies

6. Toward New Directions in Tourism Entrepreneurship Research

7. The changing corporate landscapes of mountain resorts.  

8. Magical Spaces

9. Emerging Trends and Challenges in Nature Based Tourism

10. Tourism, communities, and conservation: Rethinking prospects for symbiosis in an era of accelerated global environmental change

11. Geographies of Experience Economies

Full session details below.


1. Cross-border mobility and geopolitics: an interdisciplinary discussion

Session organizers:

Arie Stoffelen (University of Groningen, The Netherlands)

Federica Bono (Old Dominion University, USA)

Borders have become ever more complex, high-profile and selective in recent years. Calls to close off borders for international migrants and to install trade tariffs have recently become more and more intensive. At the same time, international tourist arrivals (UNWTO, 2018), trade figures (World Bank, 2019), migration numbers (United Nations, 2017)and cross-border labour mobility (CGET, 2018)have reached unprecedented highs. Consequently, formal and informal border-crossings of people and goods become prime avenues to negotiate geopolitical transnational and interregional relations. In practice, various forms of border-crossings simultaneously underpin different multi-scalar geopolitical processes (and vice-versa) in the same location. This results in complex integrated practices spanning different sectors, stakeholders, and discursive frames within individual borderlands, impacting everyday life in these places.

The aim of this session is to critically analyse the geopolitical construction of different border-crossings, including, but not limited to, tourism, migration, commuting/labour and trade. Simultaneously, the session tackles the way everyday border-crossings negotiate and challenge border geopolitics. The session aims to pay attention to the following elements: (i) the simultaneous opening and closing (physically and discursively) of borders and borderlands for people and goods; (ii) the geopolitical effects from the bottom up through embodied border-crossing experiences and from the top-down in the political-discursive construction of these movements; (iii) the effects of scale in the framing of border-crossings and territorial relations; (iv) the impact of border geopolitics on everyday life in borderlands and, conversely, the way everyday life in borderlands negotiates and challenges border geopolitics.

Both conceptual and empirical papers are welcome in this session. The papers may focus on one specific type of border-crossing (e.g. tourism, migration, commuting/labour, trade), including illegal or informal border-crossing. Integrative, comparative perspectives between different types of border-crossings and areas are also highly supported.

Abstracts should be submitted to Arie Stoffelen (h.j.w.stoffelen@rug.nl) and Federica Bono (fbono@odu.edu) no later than October 25, 2019. All accepted contributors need to register for the conference and provide their PIN to the organizers by November 10, 2019 in order to be included in the session.


CGET. (2018). Regards sur les territoires: Population – conditions de vie – éducation – emploi transfrontalier. Retrieved August 14, 2019, from http://www.observatoire-des-territoires.gouv.fr/observatoire-des-territoires/sites/default/files/images/Rapport_ot_2017 – moy_def.pdf

United Nations. (2017). International Migration Report 2017. New York.

UNWTO. (2018). 2017 Annual Report. Madrid.

World Bank. (2019). Trade. Retrieved March 1, 2019, from https://data.worldbank.org/topic/trade



2. Tourism analytics: social media, spatially distributed data and data mining in tourism research
Based on a successful Big Data in Tourism session held within AAG – 2019 and 2018, we are inviting oral presentations on data intensive and spatial analysis in tourism with particular interest in data mining, text mining, image recognition, user-generated content, GIS analysis and similar application outlined in Description section. This session is targeting innovative advanced data intensive research in tourism with the goal of exchanging ideas, new approaches, and potential collaborations. Please e-mail paper titles and abstracts to session organizers Andrei Kirilenko (Andrei.Kirilenko@ufl.edu) and Yang Yang (yangy@temple.edu) prior to deadline. Abstracts may not exceed 250 words.
The data revolution, which started during the past decade, brought new possibilities for decision making and innovation based on the novel methods of analysis of (typically) vary large sets of data. Tourism Analytics is a new area in tourism research and education. Evidentially, the field is highly fragmented, the methods to analyze data are not firmly set, are still evolving and very fluid. However, the following common key areas, and methods emerge:
• Spatial data analysis and visualization with GIS. Includes mapping of tourist routes, travel photo locations, geo-locations of tweets, and other spatially distributed social data.
• Analysis of social media (Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and similar platforms), online customer reviews, tourist experiences reported online and other user-generated content. Involves network analysis, data mining and text analysis.
• Analysis of unstructured data: text analysis, analysis of photos and videos
• Sentiment analysis: one of the most active research areas in natural language processing, web/social network mining, and text/multimedia data mining.
• People as sensors (digital traces, big data from sensory experiences, Google glasses and such)



3. Park and protected area management in the American West

Parks and protected areas in the American West share common management challenges as a result of their vast and often remote lands, human-wildlife conflict and landscape ecology, climatic and hydrological regimes, federal policy implementation, budget appropriation uncertainty, legacy of native dispossession, exurban demographic change, amenity-based tourism, and other place-based similarities. Furthermore, these public lands are vulnerable to the common, though misplaced, conceptual assumption of nature as commodity and nature as unpeopled and pristine (Wilson, 2014). And, despite their protected status, areas once considered to be designated in perpetuity are susceptible to downgrading, downsizing and degazettement (Golden-Kroner et al., 2019).

Geographic approaches and the inferential power of geographic thought can help us understand the spatiotemporal phenomena associated with parks and protected areas and develop the knowledge and tools that are needed to inform managers and educate visitors (Dilsaver, 2009). For instance, spatial framing is part of the synoptic gaze of state legibility in political-legal histories of recreational rationalization, value and access (Olson, 2010). Similarly, the geographic composition of multi-jurisdictional landscapes results in park and community collaborative governance in accordance with the scale of the issues at hand, be it wildland fire or visitor use patterns (Jenkins and Brown, 2020). Visitor access, interpretive experience and the guided exploration of how the park is actually interfaced can be understood through the everyday cultural landscapes of park transportation systems (Youngs, White, and Wodrich, 2008). So too does the cycle of impact between commerce, consumption, and conservation in wilderness and other protected areas plays out in spatially contradictory ways through campaigns like “Leave No Trace” (Simon and Alagona, 2013). And the advent of Wilderness 2.0 ushered in a new paradigm that has put into question what responsibility managers have to mediate the use of geospatial technology as it relates to preserving wilderness character (Stinson, 2017).

This is all to say that management of parks and protected areas has in large part become what it is today thanks to the ability of managers to frame, analyze, and interpret complex socio-ecological phenomena in geographic terms. However, while the spatial reasoning of geography is ubiquitous, if not a priori in the manger’s toolbox, attention towards the role the discipline of geography plays in park and protected area management has been insufficient in practice. This session seeks applicants whose paper topic or case study utilizes geographic theories, methods, applications and data to highlight and advance the role of geography in the management of parks and protected areas, particularly those in the American West.

Further potential topics and approaches may include:

  • Scalar processes of human and natural phenomena shaping management, including coupled systems, scale mismatches, and inter-scale feedbacks in cycles of complexity
  • Discourse coalitions and epistemic understanding in community planning and public processes
  • Role of technology in addressing management needs (e.g. GIS developed for SAR efforts)
  • Social media and new geographies of visitor use (e.g. impacted hotspots, Nature 2.0)
  • Geographic framing in preservation campaigns, management plans, and roll-back efforts
  • Political-legal designations shaping the lawscape (e.g. Wild and Scenic Rivers Act, Wilderness Act)
  • Cultural resources and histories of dispossession shaping present day debates
  • Protected area buffer zones, the wildland-urban interface, and multi-stakeholder landscape collaboratives

Interested applicants should send abstracts of 150-250 words to Jeff Jenkins (jjenkins8@ucmerced.edu) by October 14th for consideration. Accepted applicants will be notified by October 21st and must submit their abstract by the AAG paper abstract deadline of October 30th.

Works Cited

Dilsaver, L. M. (2009). Research perspectives on national parks. Geographical Review, 99(2), 268-278.

Jenkins, J. and M. Brown. (2020). Giant Sequoia – Forest, Monument, or Park?: Political-legal mandates and socio-ecological complexity shaping landscape-level management. Society and Natural Resources.

Golden Kroner, R. E., Qin, S., Cook, C. N., Krithivasan, R., Pack, S. M., Bonilla, O. D., … & He, Y. (2019). The uncertain future of protected lands and waters. Science, 364(6443), 881-886.

Olson, B. A. (2010). Paper trails: The Outdoor Recreation Resource Review Commission and the rationalization of recreational resources. Geoforum, 41(3), 447-456.

Simon, G. L., & Alagona, P. S. (2013). Contradictions at the confluence of commerce, consumption and conservation; or, an REI shopper camps in the forest, does anyone notice?. Geoforum, 45, 325-336.

Stinson, J. (2017). Re-creating Wilderness 2.0: Or getting back to work in a virtual nature. Geoforum, 79, 174-187.

Youngs, Y. L., White, D. D., & Wodrich, J. A. (2008). Transportation systems as cultural landscapes in national parks: The case of Yosemite. Society and Natural Resources, 21(9), 797-811.

Wilson, R. K. (2014). America’s public lands: From Yellowstone to Smokey Bear and beyond. Rowman & Littlefield Publishers.



4. Precarious Hospitality: Geographies of Refuge, Recreation, and Refusal


Jennie Germann Molz (College of the Holy Cross), James Riding (University of Newcastle), Jen Bagelman (University of Newcastle), Kirsi Kallio (University of Tampere), Nick Gill (University of Exeter)

Sponsors: Recreation, Tourism, Sport Specialty Group, Hospitality & Society journal

During the summer of 2019, acting Director of U.S. Citizen and Immigration Services Ken Cuccinelli sparked controversy when he commented in a media interview that The New Colossus, the Emma Lazarus poem that hangs in New York’s Statue of Liberty museum, was originally referring to immigrants from Europe and should now be revised from “Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free …” to read instead “Give me your tired and your poor who can stand on their own two feet and who will not become a public charge.” The debates that followed in the wake of his remarks pivoted on the American ethos of welcoming immigrants, but of course New York’s Statue of Liberty is not just an icon of immigration. It is also one of the most popular tourist attractions in the state, welcoming over 3.5 million visitors per year. This episode illustrates just how plural and precarious the national imaginary of hospitality is. In many cases, particular spaces and places are overlayed with different, often contradictory, connotations and performances of hospitality. The very same spaces that make some people feel comfortable, protected, and free can signal exclusion, danger, or imprisonment for others.

Because hospitality is, as Derrida (2000a, 2000b) reminds us, essentially an impossible concept, the warm welcome is rarely far removed, conceptually or spatially, from the cold shoulder of exclusion or violent inclusion. In this session we explore the fragility and fickleness of hospitality: how quickly it can turn and on what basis. Whether a sense of welcome is extended or suppressed depends not only on who is knocking at the door and who is answering it (Gill 2018), but upon a complex interplay of social norms and expected behaviours that can easily produce infringements and indictments. How, when and where hospitality turns into indifference or hostility (and vice-versa) is therefore crucially important for understanding hosting and welcoming practices in contemporary society.

Because the concept of hospitality captures the human condition in all its complexity, the term applies to a range of activities, from hosting visiting family members to sharing guest bedrooms with strangers to managing hotels, from urban tourism development to national immigration policies, from religious ethics to political ideologies, and from spas to detention camps to sanctuary cities. The contested spaces of refuge, recreation, sanctuary, and incarceration implied by these different relations raise important questions about the ethics and politics of welcoming the “other”. Our focus in this session is particularly on the social, political and cultural dynamics in these spaces and the triggers that give rise to rapid or gradual changes in the atmospheres of hospitality within them.

This session intends to explore the messy empirical and interdisciplinary intersections that emerge in these places of precarious hospitality. What kinds of contested geographies of hospitality arise in a world shaped by tourism and migration? How is hospitality transformed to hostility, and vice-versa? And, following Butler (2003), how is our own precarity intertwined with the precarious welcomes or unwelcomes offered to others?

In this session, we invite short papers that explore these (in)hospitable spaces from various angles, ideally engaging with the wide range of human and non-human mobilities that characterize our late modern world. The lightening round table format of the session will allow us to come at these questions from a variety of perspectives to generate new ideas, new disciplinary junctures, and new lines of inquiry.

The session is sponsored by the Recreation, Tourism, Sport Special Interest Group and the journal Hospitality & Society.

We imagine papers in this session might touch on some of the following topics through a critical hospitality lens:

  • Sanctuary cities
  • Geographies of welcome
  • Media representations of newcomers, foreigners and Others.
  • Overtourism
  • Hospitality in the gig economy
  • (In)hospitable climates
  • Human and non-human hospitalities
  • (In)hospitable infrastructures
  • Refugee hotels
  • Border detention and family separation
  • Homelessness and hotel districts
  • Immigration policy
  • Carceral spaces

Expressions of Interest

If you would like to propose a 5-minute presentation for this lightning paper session, please email an abstract of 150-250 words to both Jennie Germann Molz (jmolz@holycross.edu) and Nick Gill (N.M.Gill@exeter.ac.uk) by 11 October 2019.


Butler J (2006) Precarious Life: The Powers of Mourning and Violence. London: Verso

Derrida, J. 2000a. Of Hospitality. Anne Dufourmantelle Invites Jacques Derrida to Respond. Trans. By Rachel Bowlby. Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press.

_____. 200b. “Hostipitality.” Angelaki: Journal of Theoretical Humanities 5(3): 3-18.

Gill, N. 2018. “The Suppression of Welcome.” Fennia 196(1): 88-98.



5. Intersections of Race and Tourism Geographies

The effects of tourism reach further than into the pockets of those who travel and those who run the travel-related businesses. People connected to the tourism complex are also affected by psychological, emotional, social, and cultural processes that play out in both tourist sources and destinations. The global tourism industry also affects those who live in destinations (but don’t actively participate in the industry itself), those who labor to produce goods utilized in the industry, and even the natural environment that is the setting for all travel and tourism. As a result of the industry’s pervasiveness, scholars of travel and tourism have argued for the inclusion of humanities and other disciplines that have embraced critically-oriented theories. Investigations of the intersections of race and tourism have been particularly advocated for, given the historical legacies of racialized enslavement, segregation, and discrimination and the contemporary rise of nationalist politics that villainize racial “others.”

Increasingly, scholars are exploring the multifaceted relationships between race and tourism. For example, Carolyn Finney (2014) has written about the relationship between African Americans and nature, including ecotourism, while scholars such as Philipp (1994) and Lee & Scott (2016) investigated racial motivations for visiting (or not visiting) certain tourism destinations. Research has also revealed the racialization of narratives interpreted at tourism destinations; perhaps the most discussed example of this phenomenon is found at former plantation sites that are open to the public (e.g. Carter et al. 2014). Scholars have also shown that tourism can be used to combat racism and perform a healing role for communities of color (Drew 2011; Skipper 2016). As these example pieces evidence, the intersection of race and tourism is expansive, yet geographers and others continue to call for the inclusion of race in tourism research (Alderman 2018).

This paper session seeks to address Alderman’s (2018) call by bringing together scholars who are actively researching the intersections of racial geographies and tourism geographies. This session calls for a broad array of papers from all aspects of tourism geographies (tourism development, tourism promotion, visitor motivations, interpretation at tourism destinations, etc.) that engage with geographies of race. Papers from a variety of geographic locations are encouraged to submit, and both empirical and theoretical works are welcome as well.

Potential themes that papers could be presented on include (but are not limited to):

  • Inclusion/exclusion of people of color in tourism promotional literature
  • Dispossession through tourism development
  • Violent politics of tourism
  • Resistant/resilient forms of tourism
  • Resistance to tourism development
  • Interpretation of racialized landscapes at tourism destinations
  • Travel patterns and behavior
  • Emotional and affective aspects of travel
  • Racialized souvenirs

If you would like to participate in this session(s), please email your abstract to Ethan Bottone (ebottone@vols.utk.edu) by October 25th, as well as any questions or comments that you may have.


Alderman, D.H. (2018). The racialized and violent biopolitics of mobility in the USA: An agenda for tourism geographies. Tourism Geographies 20 (4): 717-720.

Carter, P., Butler, D.L., & Alderman, D.H. (2014). The house that story built: The place of slavery in plantation museum narratives. The Professional Geographer 66 (4): 547-557.

Drew, E.M. (2011). Strategies for antiracist representation: Ethnic tourism guides in Chicago. Journal of Tourism and Cultural Change 9 (2): 55-69.

Finney, C. (2014). Black Faces, White Spaces: Reimagining the Relationship of African Americans to the Great Outdoors. Chapel Hill, NC: The University of North Carolina Press.

Lee, K.J. & Scott, D. (2016). Bourdieu and African Americans’ park visitation: The case of Cedar Hills State Park in Texas. Leisure Sciences 38 (5): 424-440.

Philipp, S.F. (1994). Race and tourism choice: A legacy of discrimination? Annals of Tourism Research 21 (3): 479-488.

Skipper, J. (2016). Community development through reconciliation tourism: The behind the Big House Program in Holly Springs, Mississippi. Community Development 47 (4): 514-529.



6. Toward New Directions in Tourism Entrepreneurship Research

Organizer: Dimitri Ioannides (Dimitri.Ioannides@miun.se)

Several studies have been produced over the last two decades ever since Page et al. (1999) pronounced that the research on the role of small business firms in tourism was “terra incognita”. Researchers have revealed a growing understanding of the key role that entrepreneurial activity plays in place commodification. Specifically, entrepreneurship can play a key role both in the early stages of tourism development but also in stages of maturity when larger organizations might be in a position to invest in major innovations. When it comes to small-scale entrepreneurial activity, which is especially dominant in rural regions, we note examples of ecotourism and adventure tour outfits, or farm stays among others. Especially visible in such contexts are so-called LOST entrepreneurs (lifestyle oriented small tourism firms) whose owners are driven by motivations that extend beyond their profit-making expectations. Nevertheless, despite the now relatively large volume of extant tourism entrepreneurship literature there still remain gaps in our understanding of the phenomenon (Shaw, 2014). In this session, we call for papers that offer fresh ideas in terms of addressing several questions revolving around the issue of tourism entrepreneurship. These questions include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • How can we better conceptualize the geography of tourism entrepreneurship?
  • How do we integrate the geography of tourism entrepreneurship into the general entrepreneurship framework?
  • How does the tourism geography entrepreneurship literature relate to the rise of cultural and creative industries?
  • What are the different spatial typologies of tourism entrepreneurship?
  • Do evolutionary stages of entrepreneurship exist?
  • How do networks of firms and knowledge spillover trigger  tourism entrepreneurship?
  • What is the role of gender, race, family and lifestyle in shaping the geography of  tourism entrepreneurship?
  • What potential connections exist between tourism entrepreneurship and issues of sustainability?

If you are interested in participating in this session, please submit your abstract to Dimitri (Dimitri.ioannides@miun.se) no later than the 27th of October.


7. The changing corporate landscapes of mountain resorts.  

Session Organizers: Rudi Hartmann (University of Colorado Denver, USA); Alison Gill (Simon Fraser University, Canada)

Changes in corporate ownership of larger mountain resorts in North America date back to the early 1990s. Since the 2008 global economic crisis the recent corporate landscape has changed more dramatically with increasing competition, mergers, and acquisitions. Competition between Vail Resorts Incorporated and the newly formed (January 2018) Alterra Mountain Company has been characterized as the ‘battle of the giants’ as they compete to acquire the most mountain resorts in North America and worldwide. Currently, Vail Resorts owns and manages 37 mountain resorts, with more than 60 ski resorts worldwide participating in their Epic Pass, while Alterra, a collective collaborating in the Ikon Pass, has 41 destinations for the 2019/20 season.

The aim of this session is to critically interrogate the implications of corporate dominance in mountain resort destinations. Important issues that could be examined in paper presentations include: implications of corporate growth agendas on community quality of life, evidenced for example, in such contested spaces as affordable housing, environmental protection, sense of place, social welfare, labour issues and more generally on the sustainable development front. Another issue that could be addressed are policies and strategies for coping with climate change. The distribution of power (and its implications) in corporate-community relationships is also an issue of critical importance. In the last few years the landscape of corporate mountain resorts has reflected influences of increasing global competition in new emerging markets. Issues of how mountain resort corporations adapt and market their amenities to attract these new lucrative markets – and at what cost to the experiences of the more established clients – are also significant in understanding the changing corporate landscape of mountain resorts.

We welcome both empirical and conceptual papers which address the above mentioned themes and topics as well as related issues of mountain resort development in a given local or regional context.

Please send your abstracts to Rudi and Alison by Monday, October 28, 2019: rudi.hartmann@ucdenver.edu   or alison_gill@sfu.ca



8. Magical Spaces

This session explores how visitors experience “magical spaces” (Lovell, 2019). It could be argued that tourist experiences are becoming increasingly imaginative. The pursuit of fantasies attracts many tourists to heightened sensations of wonder, eerieness, or uncanniness. In order to meet this demand, some destinations and sites are staging magical festivals or interventions, such as spectacular lighting installations.

Magical spaces range from the hyperreal to the everyday. Some historic environments may seem innately magical to tourists as the embodied memories of past events, or due to their associations with customs and legends. Gothic buildings have traditionally been perceived as romantic and fairytalesque, while ruins can convey the affective, haunted, geographies of absence (Edensor, 2001, 2008) and nature has long been associated with folkloric traditions. The development of “invented traditions” (Hobsbawn and Ranger, 1983) and new myths have also enhanced the magic of some destinations; connections with literature and cinema, including Harry Potter, or Game of Thrones, have proved to be powerful visitor draws (Beeton, 2016; Buchmann, 2010; Waysdorf and Reijinders, 2018). In addition, the transformational power of fantasy cos-play is an increasingly meaningful performative aspect of tourism (Everett and Parakoottathil, 2018).

Session participants are invited to contribute to this intriguing session and are encouraged to explore the essence of magic, asking questions about the nature of experience, authenticity and ownership.

Session organizer: Jane Lovell (jane.lovell@canterbury.ac.uk), Canterbury Christ Church University



9. Emerging Trends and Challenges in Nature Based Tourism

Session Organizers:

Jeremy Sage, Norma Nickerson, Keith Bosak (University of Montana)

National Parks are frequently at the center of interest and research on nature based tourism. Parks like Yellowstone and Yosemite face challenges of balancing the protection of the resources that make them special with the need to provide quality visitor experiences to all those who wish to make the journey to them. Multiple parks across not only the US, but the world are faced with the decision of how to, and whether to, manage visitation levels and movement throughout their major attraction areas. This balancing act inherently raises the question of the most appropriate metrics, from social to the biological, to make those decisions. Visitors can be remarkably tolerant of high volumes of other visitors, yet also stress the management’s resources to effectively and safely provide for those visitors. These challenges are not isolated to the parks themselves, but also to the gateway communities that surround them. While these amenity rich communities show strong opportunity for economic development, multiple risks also present themselves as their character is stretched and evolving with changing housing, employment, and demographic conditions.

As the positive socioeconomic outcomes of amenity rich areas are touted, other communities are looking to take advantage the nature based tourism opportunities of their yet untapped and developed amenities. Such communities are tasked with identifying methods and approaches to sustainably develop a nature based tourism footprint while being cognizant of both the effect that will have on culture and their natural resources.

This session(s) looks to critically examine the challenges and opportunities faced in the expanding realm of nature based tourism. The goal is to bring together empirical research that spans the trends and challenges of both those fully developed tourism areas and those seeking an entry point and opportunity to develop. We welcome papers from across specialties and methods of approaching the topics.

Please send you abstracts to Jeremy (he will coordinate with other organizers) by Monday October 28, 2019: jeremy.sage@umontana.edu




10. Tourism, communities, and conservation: Rethinking prospects for symbiosis in an era of accelerated global environmental change

Joint sponsored session by the AAG Recreation, Tourism & Sport Specialty Group and IGU Commission on Geography of Tourism, Leisure and Global Change

Session organizers: Jarkko Saarinen, University of Oulu (Finland)/University of Johannesburg (South Africa) and Sanjay Nepal, University of Waterloo (Canada)

Despite four decades of research and huge investments in conservation and tourism-focused projects worldwide, local communities impacted by conservation efforts at various scales remain largely disenchanted with such projects. Literature on incentive-based conservation programs, such as the Integrated Conservation and Development Projects (ICDP) of the 1980s, community-based conservation and/or tourism practices since the early 1980s, and community-oriented projects on environmental services (e.g., payment for ecosystem services) since the turn of this century, all point to significant gaps between conservation (and/or sustainable tourism) rhetoric and local level practices. Recent conflicts associated with tourism development and resource conservation efforts

indicate the problems to be much more widespread (geographically, but also species-wise), complex and broader (politico-ecological linkages, accelerating global environmental change concerns), and in critical need for lasting, practical, and “closer to the ground” solutions.

This session invites papers exploring the conservation-tourism-community nexus, interpreted here as broadly as possible to include conflicts between park and people, and between livestock and wildlife; impact of tourism on biodiversity conservation, conservation-livelihood dilemma (including tourism and ecotourism); poaching and wildlife trade; resource scarcity, stress and biodiversity conservation threats; and other relevant topics.  We are inviting papers that are conceptual and/or applied, based on empirical data (quantitative, qualitative, or both), place and context-specific, and in diverse (geographical and social-cultural) settings.

If you are interested in participating in the session: Please send abstract (max. 250 words) to Jarkko Saarinen (jarkko.saarinen@oulu.fi) and Sanjay Nepal (snepal@uwaterloo.ca) no later than October 30, 2019. Please note that all accepted contributors will need to register for the conference and provide their PIN to the session organizers by November 10, 2019.



11. Geographies of Experience Economies
Organizer: Jonathan Bratt, Arizona State University
This session brings together critical research at the intersection of geography and experience economies. The notion of ‘experience economy’ indexes the commodification, production, and consumption of experiences in late capitalism. Pine and Gilmore’s seminal article identifies the experience economy as a fourth stage in the “progression of economic value,” surpassing the service economy to become a distinct economic offering based on “staging experiences” (1998: 97-98). Böhme similarly conceptualizes the “aesthetic economy” (2003) or “aesthetic capitalism” (2017) as the production of “staging value,” a third value category surpassing use value and exchange value, derived from the “aesthetic qualities of the commodity.” Such aesthetic values serve to “stage, costume and intensify life” (2003: 72).
Experience or aesthetic economies operate according to spatial logics of access, proximity, and exposure, giving them a fundamentally geographical dimension that is integral to their functioning. Rather than, or in addition to, goods or services, consumers of experience acquire access or admission to framed and curated environments or environmental qualities, often in exchange for a fee or for exposure to marketing. These processes, long integral to tourism and museum industries, increasingly appear in more overtly goods- and service-based settings such as restaurants and stores (e.g. Pine and Gilmore 1998: 99). Growth of digital technology has further facilitated these processes, ubiquitizing transmission of experiential ‘content’ (e.g. Degen, et al. 2017).
What is now called the experience or aesthetic economy, Böhme notes, received critical attention throughout the twentieth century, in, for instance, Veblen’s writing on “conspicuous consumption” (1899), Horkheimer and Adorno’s work on the “culture industry” (1947), and Haug’s work on “commodity aesthetics” (1971), among others. Conceptualization of ‘staging’ as economic production per se, and its identification with new stages of capitalism and value, represents a recent evolution of this critical trend.
A number of avenues for further critical inquiry are available. Attention to ‘atmosphere’, now a fixture of cultural-geographic scholarship, has often downplayed or ignored Böhme’s connection of atmosphere to “aesthetic labor” (2003: 72) or to its function in providing an “aesthetic supply” to meet “aesthetic needs” (1993: 125). Distinctions between service and staging also trouble notions of ‘care work’, implying that care might dissolve to become atmospheric (e.g. Kitson and McHugh 2015). Consumers themselves co-create staging value in what Cova, et al. call “collaborative capitalism” (2011: 231). Experience and demand for experience are bound up with emotions, particularly emotions of boredom (e.g. Anderson 2004).
Papers related to any of the above are welcome. Please send submissions to Jonathan Bratt at jbratt@asu.edu by the AAG submission deadline.
Anderson, Ben. 2004. “Time-Stilled Space-Slowed: How Boredom Matters.” Geoforum 35(6): 739-754.
Bille, Mikkel, Peter Bjerregaard, and Tim Flohr Sørensen. 2015. “Staging Atmospheres: Materiality, Culture, and the Texture of the In-Between.” Emotion, Space and Society 15: 31-38.
Böhme, Gernot. 1993. “Atmosphere as the Fundamental Concept of a New Aesthetics.” Thesis Eleven 36: 113-126.
Böhme, Gernot. 2003. “Contribution to the Critique of the Aesthetic Economy.” Thesis Eleven 73: 71-82.
Böhme, Gernot. 2017. Critique of Aesthetic Capitalism. Mimesis International.
Cova, Bernard, Daniele Dalli, and Detlev Zwick. 2011. “Critical Perspectives on Consumers’ Role as ‘Producers’: Broadening the Debate on Value Co-Creation in Marketing Processes.” Marketing Theory 11(3): 231–241.
Debord, Guy. 2002. The Society of the Spectacle. Translated by Ken Knabb. Canberra: Hobgoblin Press.
Degen, Monica, Clare Melhuish, and Gillian Rose. 2017. “Producing Place Atmospheres Digitally: Architecture, Digital Visualisation Practices and the Experience Economy.” Journal of Consumer Culture 17(1): 3-24.
Edensor, Tim. 2015. “Producing Atmospheres at the Match: Fan Cultures, Commercialisation and Mood Management in English Football.” Emotion, Space and Society 15: 82-89.
Edensor, Tim and Shanti Sumartojo. 2015. “Designing Atmospheres: Introduction to Special Issue.” Visual Communication 14(3): 251-265.
Haug, Wolfgang Fritz. 1986. Critique of Commodity Aesthetics: Appearance, Sexuality, and Advertising in Capitalist Society. Translated by Robert Bock. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press.
Horkheimer, Max and Theodor Adorno. 1972. Dialectic of Enlightenment. Translated by John Cumming. New York: Herder and Herder.
Kitson, Jennifer and Kevin McHugh. 2015. “Historic Enchantments – Materializing Nostalgia.” Cultural Geographies 22(3): 487-508.
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