Protected Attractions: Tourism and Wilderness in the Swedish Mountain Region
2009 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Europe's first national parks were established in northern Sweden in 1909 and this region has thus functioned as a protected and aesthetic pleasure landscape for a century. In 1996, due to the combination of spectacular natural environment and ancient Sami traditions the Laponian World Heritage Area was established here. In spite of local cultural history and contempo-rary land use practices, the Swedish northern mountains are often described as remnants of the pristine and as wilderness - defined as the opposite to culture - and for many, wilderness is an unproblematic category of nature. With a focus on touristic use of protected areas, this thesis examines the role of different interests, including power relations, in shaping dominant descriptions of landscapes. Investigated themes include how landscape values are expressed, interpreted and explained by visitors, as well as the influence of different ideas underlying nature conservation. Results show that tourists visit the mountains to experience nature, wilderness, and scenery, and to feel mental relaxation. The existence of marked hiking trails and facilities at tourist cabins are also of importance. The attractiveness of the mountains includes the combination of comfortable conditions and a perceived untouched landscape. Tourists perceive the area as wilderness and - at the same time - filled with tourist facilities and Sami culture such as reindeer herding activities. It is found that the perception of the mountains as a wild and scenic natural landscape has not changed much during the last century. In this thesis, the concept of wilderness is problematized and contested since it produces images and values that have unrecognized effects on how we perceive and manage landscapes, including their cultural attributes. This thesis applies a critical realism approach to conceptualize landscapes.
Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Stockholm: Department of Human Geography,Stockholm University , 2009. , 52 p.
Meddelanden från Kulturgeografiska institutionen vid Stockholms universitet, ISSN 0585-3508 ; 140
Landscape value and perception; nature conservation policy; tourist behavior; tourist attraction; infrastructure; visitor survey; nature-culture dichotomy; Laponian World Heritage Area; Sweden
Research subject Human Geography
IdentifiersURN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-28966ISBN: 978-91-7155-906-7OAI: oai:DiVA.org:su-28966DiVA: diva2:228248
2009-10-02, William-Olssonsalen, Geovetenskapens hus, Svante Arrhenius väg 8 A, Stockholm, 13:00 (English)
Saarinen, Jarkko, Professor
Forsberg, Gunnel, ProfessorDahlberg, Annika, ForskarassistentFredman, Peter, Professor
At the time of the doctoral defence, the following papers were unpublished and had a status as follows: Paper 2: Manuscript. Paper 4: Manuscript.2009-09-102009-07-282009-07-30Bibliographically approved
List of papers