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Toxic Tourism: Rhetorics of Pollution, Travel, and Environmental Justice (Rhetoric Culture & Social Critique) Hardcover – February 4, 2007

1 customer review
ISBN-13: 978-0817315504 ISBN-10: 0817315500 Edition: 1st Edition

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Editorial Reviews


"This volume pushes the literature on tourism into new directions, with progressive ends. Noting that the largest industry in the world, tourism, is itself often invasive, destructive, corrosive, and offensive, Pezzullo (communications, Indiana Univ.) demonstrates how noncommercial tours can serve as a rhetoric of resistance to mobilize public sentiment against toxic patterns and practices. That is, 'By weaving together social critiques of tourism and the responses of communities to the burdens of literal chemical toxicity, this book aims to bring into focus and hold accountable deeply embedded and highly problematic assumptions about travel, pollution, and democracy.' In particular, such experiential explorations of polluted areas serve to challenge the binary assumptions of society and environment and focus on racial, economic, and gendered cultural politics; that is, to shift the usual tourist gaze on the picturesque and nostalgic to that which is disgusting and grotesque as part of a revolutionary mission. After two introductory chapters that define terms, Pezzullo follows three case-study chapters with a conclusion and epilogue. The volume is well illustrated, referenced, and footnoted. Summing Up: Recommended. Upper-division undergraduates and above."

“Pezullo’s topic and approach are as fresh as her subject matter is fetid. . . . Her exposure of corporate cooptation of environmentalism (‘astroturfing’) is eloquent. The discussion of AstraZeneca’s manufacturing cycle of making cancer causing herbicides, cancer treatment drugs, and sponsorship of Breast Cancer Awareness is revelatory and awful. . . . Pezullo throws the political work of the tour into sharp relief, not merely toxic tours, but potentially all tours. This is excellent work because it points to the possibility of a more active and engaged type of tourism as opposed to a passive and alienated one.”

—Dean MacCannell, author of The Tourist: A New Theory of the Leisure Class


A very stimulating read. I find myself wanting to bring Toxic Tourism up in conversations, and I'm resisting the temptation to share chapters 2 and 3 early. . . . I can't think of another book that presents the modified ethnographic approach used by Pezullo so explicitly. It would be a wonderful textbook for a graduate course in qualitative research methods.
—Tarla Peterson, author of Sharing the Earth: The Rhetoric of Sustainable Development

From the Publisher

Winner of:

-The 2007 Winans-Wichelns Memorial Award
-2007 Book of the Year Award of the Critical and Cultural Studies Division of the National Communications Association
-2007 Christine Oravec Research Award of the Environmental Communication Division of the National Communications Association


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 280 pages
  • Publisher: University of Alabama Press; 1st Edition edition (February 4, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0817315500
  • ISBN-13: 978-0817315504
  • Product Dimensions: 9.1 x 6.4 x 1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.6 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,398,411 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

4 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Stacey Sowards on January 26, 2008
Format: Hardcover
This book provides excellent insight into the nature of the tourism industry as it relates to ecological awareness. Specifically, this book explores toxic tourism, or the traveling to areas that have been heavily polluted, as a form of advocacy tourism that also engages perspective, learning, and understanding about environmental pollution and its effect on various communities and the environment.

In addition, this book is grounded theoretically in understanding tourism through the visual, but also other senses: the feeling of presence through smell, touch, bodily movement, and emotion. Pezzullo explains that the toxic tour often provides the embodiment of counterexperience to our everyday lives, which shapes our process of becoming. However, as Pezzullo observes in the conclusion, we also must remember that tourism, and especially toxic tourism, provides a learning experience, but does not necessarily clean up communities, nor does one actually know the experience of everyday life in toxic areas.

In short, this book is insightful for not only those interested in environmental protection, but also those who are interested in tourism studies, advocacy tourism, environmental communication, and an understanding of how our experiences shape what we learn and know about the world.
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