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Title: The impact of technology on the wilderness experience: A review of common themes and approaches in three bodies of literature

Author: Shultis, John;

Date: 2012

Source: In: Cole, David N., comp. Wilderness visitor experiences: Progress in research and management; 2011 April 4-7; Missoula, MT. Proc. RMRS-P-66. Fort Collins, CO: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station p. 110-118.

Publication Series: Proceedings (P)

   Note: This article is part of a larger document. View the larger document

Description: In the last decade, increasing concern has been expressed about the impact of new technologies - especially communication technologies - on the wilderness experience. Many authors have suggested a tipping point has been reached, with new technologies changing the very nature of the 'traditional' wilderness experience in various ways. The loss of direct experiences creating new perceptions of risk among wilderness users has been a common complaint. As very few wilderness researchers have conducted empirical studies on this issue, I review these anecdotal, deterministic concerns in this body of literature. Then I identify key debates and approaches in two other literatures that consider the complex relationship between technology and recreation: leisure studies and science and technology studies. Within the latter field, I concentrate on Albert Borgmann’s discussion of focal practices, which shows promise as a conceptual foundation for this issue. Common themes within each of these three distinct literatures are identified, providing some indications of the key issues and topics that might be assessed by much-needed future research.

Keywords: management frameworks, recreation management, research methods, solitude, technology, visitor density, wilderness experience

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Shultis, John. 2012. The impact of technology on the wilderness experience: A review of common themes and approaches in three bodies of literature. In: Cole, David N., comp. Wilderness visitor experiences: Progress in research and management; 2011 April 4-7; Missoula, MT. Proc. RMRS-P-66. Fort Collins, CO: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station p. 110-118.

 


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