Book Review: Romancing the Wild: Cultural Dimensions of Ecotourism

Document Type

Book Review

Publication Title

American Anthropologist

Publication Date



College of Arts and Sciences


Department of Sociology


At the sight of a group of kayakers crashing the whitewater of a Chilean river, or in the wake of disaster on the Himalayan slopes, locals might well ask: Who are these strange hordes, decked in bedazzling colors as they negotiate the razor edges of life? Robert Fletcher's answer would be as follows: middle-class, white males from wealthy countries looking for a heart-throbbing thrill but one that qualifies as “productive leisure.” In Romancing the Wild: Cultural Dimensions of Ecotourism, Fletcher acknowledges there are some variants of this profile related to gender, class, or race, but it generally describes the contemporary ecotourist scouring the globe for the next adventure.