The Impact of National Park Tourism on the Concept of Nature 

I am interested in how representations of the concept of nature are created in relation to the Swedish national park tourism. I focus on how the concept of nature is imagined and constructed by the touristic operations that take place in the national parks. Through my dissertation, I would like to create an understanding of how the national parks and the tourism within them affects societal imaginaries about nature.

Swedish national parks are touristic destinations that attract nature-interested tourists each year. Nature is the focus and to be able to explore nature in the parks is the goal of many tourists. They want to be able to explore nature that is described as both pristine and unique, but also as valuable, of conservation value, and important to preserve. Peoples’ imaginaries about nature in the national parks are affected by how it is described, communicated, and portrayed by different actors related to the parks but the tourists’ own experiences and how they talk about nature with other people affects how it is understood.

The national parks and the tourism within them have a pedagogical orientation, where knowledge and imaginaries about nature are communicated to tourists in different ways. Via brochures, websites, and social media, the tourists can get information about nature before visiting a national park. When they visit a park, they can go to a pedagogical visitor center that communicates information about nature in the park, follow a nature path with signs that tell them what to look at, participate in a guided tour with a focus on narrating, or visit exhibitions that portray different nature types.

Signs illustrate to the tourists what they shall look at while visiting Tivedens national park.Something as simple as signs illustrate to the tourists what they shall look at while visiting a national park, while places without signs can be understood as less interesting and not worth looking at Photo credit: Emelie Fälton
The pedagogical orientation is of special interest in my dissertation and during the next couple of years, I will focus on the pedagogical operations in and in relation to the national parks. Visits to the national parks will be combined with analyses of, for example, marketing material, and other media. Another major focus of my dissertation is to work with visual material and analyses, where, for example, picture, films, and photographs will be analyzed by visual discourse analysis.
Emelie Fälton and Johan Hedrén  are trying a version of visual discourse analysis of pictures in the Norrköping Decision Arena. To analyze visual material is of major focus in my dissertation. In the picture, my supervisor Johan Hedrén and I are trying a version of visual discourse analysis of pictures in the Norrköping Decision Arena. Photo credit: Emelie Falton

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Research programme & network
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Academic degree

  • 2016
    PhD Student at Environmental Change
  • 2016
    Master’s degree in environmental science with focus on sustainable development
  • 2014
    Bachelor’s degree in tourism science with focus on nature environments and cultural heritages




  • Environmental Science Program, bachelor program
  • Social and Cultural Analysis, bachelor program
  • Culture, Society and Media production, bachelor program
  • Science for Sustainable Development, master program


Fälton, Emelie (2018) “Welcome to your Finest Nature: The Touristic Discourse on Nature in Information Materials about Swedish National Parks”. The article was presented during the 27th Nordic Symposium on Tourism and Hospitality Research in Alta, Norway.


  • Coordinator for the Norrköping Decision Arena
  • PhD student in the Postgraduate studies committee

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Blog post about the Drivhuset Climate Festival 

A Climate Festival that Crossed Boarders

"It has almost been three months since I, together with two colleagues, could enjoy the climate festival that we had been planning for almost half a year. It was pure pleasure to finally being able to harvest the fruit of our work. I would lie if I said it was easy to organize a climate festival, but I would also lie if I would say that it was not one of the most inspirational things I have done. Now, with some distance to it – I will share my experiences and invite you to take part of one of my latest projects, The Drivhuset Climate Festival".

To The Seed Box Blog

Maher and Sousou Cissoko played world music on Climate Festival

Maher and Sousou Cissoko played world music with roots from both Sweden and Senegal Photo credit: Emelie Fälton

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About Environmental Change
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