cover of book

Toxic Tourism: Rhetorics of Pollution, Travel, and Environmental Justice
by Phaedra Carmen Pezzullo
University of Alabama Press, 2009
eISBN: 978-0-8173-8855-3 | Cloth: 978-0-8173-1550-4 | Paper: 978-0-8173-5587-6
Library of Congress Classification G155.A1P47 2007
Dewey Decimal Classification 338.4791

Winner of the:
2010 Jane Jacobs Urban Communication Book Award, sponsored by National Communication Association
2007 James A. Winans-Herbert A. Wichelns Memorial Award for Distinguished Scholarship in Rhetoric and Public Address, sponsored by National Communication Association
2007 Best Book of the Year for Critical and Cultural Studies, sponsored by National Communication Association
2007 Christine L. Oravec Research Award, sponsored by Environmental Communications Division of the National Communication Association

The first book length study of the environmental justice movement, tourism, and the links between race, class, and waste
Tourism is at once both a beloved pastime and a denigrated form of popular culture. Romanticized for its promise of pleasure, tourism is also potentially toxic, enabling the deadly exploitation of the cultures and environments visited. For many decades, the environmental justice movement has offered “toxic tours,” non-commercial trips intended to highlight people and locales polluted by poisonous chemicals. Out of these efforts and their popular reception, a new understanding of democratic participation in environmental decision-making has begun to arise. Phaedra C. Pezzullo examines these tours as a tactic of resistance and for their potential in reducing the cultural and physical distance between hosts and visitors.
Pezzullo begins by establishing the ambiguous roles tourism and the toxic have played in the U.S. cultural imagination since the mid-20th century in a range of spheres, including Hollywood films, women’s magazines, comic books, and scholarly writings. Next, drawing on participant observation, interviews, documentaries, and secondary accounts in popular media, she identifies and examines a range of tourist performances enabled by toxic tours. Extended illustrations of the racial, class, and gender politics involved include Louisiana’s “Cancer Alley,” California’s San Francisco Bay Area, and the Mexican border town of Matamoros. Weaving together social critiques of tourism and community responses to toxic chemicals, this critical, rhetorical, and cultural analysis brings into focus the tragedy of ongoing patterns of toxification and our assumptions about travel, democracy, and pollution.

See other books on: Environmental justice | Hazardous waste sites | Pollution | Rhetorics | Tourism
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