Planting Trees in a Forest: Frictions and Resistance in Puerto Princesa, The Philippines
Abstract: The expansion of ecotourism around the world brings about certain structural transformations as it moves. When ecotourism is conceptualized as frictions, the transformations open up the analytical perspective for a broader understanding. Seemingly dispersed acts can be connected to wider structural shifts in the social reproduction. Studying global process like ecotourism ethnographically requires a vantage point from which the global can become visible in the local. This thesis examines what happened when the city of Puerto Princesa adopted ecotourism. By observing ecotourism as frictions, participant observation and interviews yield a greater richness in the ethnographic data, contextualizing otherwise peculiar behavior and sentiments. The adoption of ecotourism gave rise to new constellations of power and culture in which individuals are trying to navigate the new social terrain. Ecotourism has altered the sensation of place for the inhabitants of Puerto Princesa. The disruptive transformations of place have created a culture of subtle acts of resistance against the new elites and the ecotourism project they are connected to.
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