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Florence REVELIN (in English)

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Status : PhD, associate researcher
Contact : / +33 (0) 140 793 669
Location : Plants Garden, National Museum of Natural History (MNHN)
Address : 43 rue Buffon 75005 Paris


Laboratory team
- Anthropology of conservation (in UMR 7206 : Eco-anthropology and ethnobiology)

Interdisciplinary Research Focus
- Protected areas and World Heritage sites
- Nature-based and mountain tourism
- Ethnoecology
- Tourism Studies

PhD Thesis

Nature of Tourism in World Heritage Areas. A comparative study of Laponia and Pyrénées-Mont Perdu

Doctoral School : Science of Nature and Man, ED 227, MNHN. PhD Director : Marie Roué.


The establishment of a World Heritage Site based on mixed criteria combines objectives relating both to the preservation and the promotion of natural and cultural systems. They may profoundly transform both the relationships to these places and the places themselves. This thesis addresses these dynamics through the prism of tourism. It is based on a comparative study of tourism in two European UNESCO World Heritage Sites situated in mountainous regions : Laponia (in northern Sweden), part of the ancestral land of the Sami people who practice transhumant reindeer husbandry ; and Pyrénées-Mont Perdu (a transboundary area between France and Spain), shaped by ovine and bovine agro-pastoralism.

This research is based on a comparative ethnographic approach that focuses on the practices, knowledge, know-how, representations and imaginaries of the diverse users of the sites (local tourism professionals, herders, national park agents, politicians and tourists). The analysis shows that the labelling of these regions by UNESCO took place in the context of a broader dynamic process concerning much more than just the moment of inscription on the World Heritage List, which mobilised local actors around the many diverse stakes raised by and related to the label. Tourism has a specific place in this dynamic as it intersects with all features of local development and is subject to a diversity of projected views of and visions for the region. This thesis demonstrates that, if the development of tourism is a fundamental expectation of the labelling process for some local actors, the sites’ labelling has in fact only an indirect effect on how local people adapt to and develop tourism within their territories. The analysis of this process underscores the determining character of the herders’ formation into a political body : the observed changes on the Sami territory are the result of the Sami’s commitment to involvement in the site’s governance, itself linked to the wider context of their long struggle to get their rights and culture recognised. This dynamic is not found in the Pyrenean case study.

Key words
- [Tourism, UNESCO World Heritage, Natural and Cultural Landscapes, Protected areas, Agro-Pastoralism, Laponia, Pyrénées-Mont Perdu, Labeling Process, Comparative Study, Herding, Mountain, Governance]

Scientific communication

Talks :

- 2012 Ecotourism, Mines, Hydroelectricity, Forestry and Conservation in Saami Lands. Contradictions and Continuities. EASA Conference, Uncertainty and Disquiet, 10-13 July, Nanterre.

- 2012 Nature of tourism in World Heritage Areas : the Cases of Laponia and Pyrénées-Mont Perdu Jokkmokk Winter Conference : "Transition : From Knowing to Implementing, How to Cope with (Climate) Change ?" 30 January - 2 February, Jokkmokk.

- 2011 An ethnoecological approach to study the construction of relationships to natural places by tourists : which methodological adaptations ? Tourism Doctoriales of IREST « Tourism : concepts and methods at the disciplinary crossroads » 14-16 September, Paris. (in French)

- 2011 An Eco-anthopological approach to Arctic landscapes. International Conference “The Arctic and the European Union”, 30 May-1st June 2011, Stockholm-Rovaniemi. (in English)

- 2010 Laponia in Northern Sweden. Crossed sights of tourists and inhabitants of the site. International conference « World Heritage site and tourism », 2-4June 2010, University of Laval, Québec. (in French)

- 2010 Laponia, a World Heritage site in the swedish Lappland : forming and analysing a corpus of pictures. Seminary « Tourism : research, institutions, practices, 6 May 2010, EHESS, Paris. (in French)

- 2010 Sami tourism in Laponia. Lecture within the programme of the Master 1 EDTS, MNHN, Paris. (in French)

- 2009 Adapting data collection methods to linguistic constraints in the field in ethnological research. Conference of the BDEM (Museum students and Phd-students Office), MNHN, Paris. (in French)

- 2008 Use of mental maps in ethnographic investigations. Conference of the BDEM, MNHN, Paris. (in French)

Publications :

- Revelin Florence, 2012. "Ecotourism and Extraction in Saami Lands". In Büscher Bram and Davidov Veronica (dirs.), The Ecotourism / Extraction Nexus : Rural Realities and Political Economies of (un)Comfortable Bedfellows, in review. (in English)

- Revelin Florence & Roué Marie, 2012. « Le site Laponia au nord de la Suède. Regards croisés des touristes et des résidents ». In Bourdeau Laurent, Gravari-Barbas Maria, Robinson Mike (dirs.), Tourisme et Patrimoine mondial. Québec, Presses de l’Université Laval, Collection Patrimoine en mouvement, pp.85-106. (in French)

- Revelin Florence, 2011. "An ethnoecological approach to study the construction of relationships to natural places by tourists : which methodological adaptations ?". Online publication, in Tourism Doctoriales of IREST, Tourism : concepts and methods at the disciplinary crossroads, pp. 550-565. (in French)

- Roué Marie et al., 2011 (with the participation of Richard Dumez, Delphine Gramond, Florence Revelin, Anne-Élène Delavigne, Xavier Badan, Vincent Battesti, Aurélie Druguet, Jean-Baptiste Gratecap, Sophie Lemonnier). "Natural and Cultural Landscapes : change and conservation", Final Report for the Research Programme : Landscapes and Sustainable Development, French Minitry of Ecology, Sustainable Development, Transports and Housing, 185 p. (in French)


- 23/09/2013 : PhD Defense at the MNHN.

- 02-03/2012 : Visiting Scholar at ETOUR - Department of Tourism Studies of the Mid Sweden University, Östersund.

- 06/2010 : French-Swedish Summer School on climate change, Abisko, Sweden (in partnership with the IPEV, the French Embassy in Sweden and the Swedish Polar Research Secretariat).

- 2009-2010 : Board member of the Doctoral School 227 as PhD-Student delegate.