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Wilderness and the media politics of place branding

Citation

McGaurr, L and Tranter, B and Lester, L, Wilderness and the media politics of place branding, Environmental Communication, 9, (3) pp. 269-287. ISSN 1752-4032 (2015) [Refereed Article]


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Copyright Statement

Copyright 2014 Taylor & Francis

DOI: doi:10.1080/17524032.2014.919947

Abstract

It is 30 years since the Australian environmental movement enlisted the term "wilderness" to protect Tasmania's remote Franklin River from hydroelectric development. Environmentalists deployed "wilderness" strategically during the conflict to build public support for their no-dam campaign, aided by national and international media who used the term liberally, while Tasmanian news media and pro-development elites acknowledged the term's inherent political qualities by suppressing its use. Our interest is in the political and media framing of "wilderness" since the concept was "branded" by government and industry at the turn of the twenty-first century. Drawing on continuing environmental conflict over Tasmania's remote Tarkine region as a case study, we ask to what extent media portrayals of "wilderness" have changed since the Franklin dam was stopped and the Tasmanian World Heritage Wilderness Area was created in 1982. Using content analysis of related articles in the local media and qualitative analysis of international travel journalism about Tasmania published over an extended period, we find that place branding has contributed to the routinization of "wilderness" and to a shift in the focus of mediated conflict from "wilderness" to "tourism." The Tasmanian experience demonstrates that while the actions of the environmental movement can valorize place, branding can depoliticize contested natural areas. Yet brands that incorporate or allude to "wilderness" may have the unanticipated consequence of valorizing "wilderness" transnationally, in a manner that the environmental movement would struggle to emulate.

Item Details

Item Type:Refereed Article
Keywords:wilderness, branding, news media, Tasmania, politics, tourism
Research Division:Studies in Creative Arts and Writing
Research Group:Journalism and Professional Writing
Research Field:Journalism Studies
Objective Division:Cultural Understanding
Objective Group:Communication
Objective Field:The Media
Author:McGaurr, L (Dr Lynette McGaurr)
Author:Tranter, B (Professor Bruce Tranter)
Author:Lester, L (Professor Elizabeth Lester)
ID Code:95393
Year Published:2015 (online first 2014)
Web of Science® Times Cited:1
Deposited By:Social Sciences
Deposited On:2014-10-01
Last Modified:2017-11-10
Downloads:261 View Download Statistics

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