From a Blind Spot to a Nexus

Building on Existing Trends in Knowledge Production to Study the Copresence of Ecotourism and Extraction

Author: Veronica Davidov
Volume 3, Number 1 (2012)

Entrance from Q’eqchi Maya village of Conejo, Belize, to the country’s second largest national park. SATIIM (Sarstoon Temash Institute for Indigenous Management) works to protect the park from threats such as oil drilling and overharvesting of trees like rosewood (photograph by the Advocacy Project, via Flickr, CC BY-NC-SA 2.0).


Ecotourism is primarily perceived and studied as an alternative to resource extraction, even though increasingly the two coexist side by side in a nexus. This article investigates how such instances of copresence are marginalized in literatures about ecotourism and extraction, constituting a “blind spot” in academic literature. An extensive literature review focuses on the existing knowledge trends and paradigms in the production of knowledge about ecotourism and extraction, and analyzes whether they contribute to the “blind spot” or can be mobilized by the nexus perspective. Finally, the article briefly outlines two methodological approaches for studying ecotourism and extraction as a nexus.

is assistant professor and graduate program director of anthropology at Monmouth University. Her research interests include the production of normative and contested discourses of nature and human-nature relations, the transformation of nature into natural resources, the impact of globalization and “development” (including “sustainable development”) on indigenous cultures, and indigenous ethnoecology. She has done long-term fieldwork in Ecuador since 2002 and has also worked on a project in northern Russia.

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