Department or Program

Environmental Studies


Local-outsider relations are a source of conflict throughout a large area of both the Chilean and the Argentine sides of Patagonia. The purpose of this piece is to expose both sides of the conflict to improve tourist understanding and action in the future. Through the intersection of theory, literature and interviews on both sides of the conflict, and my personal experiences as a tourist in Patagonia, this paper seeks to examine the implications. The first section pertains to background information on local-outsider theory, the conflict itself and my personal story. The second section focuses on Doug and Kris Tompkins, former founder of The North Face and CEO of Patagonia, Inc. respectively, and their large-scale conservation projects throughout Patagonia. The third section looks at local perceptions of the Tompkins and the issue of their presence and work. The final section concludes my personal findings on the conflict. The central theme of the paper is the moral dilemma of privileged outsiders implementing their values and beliefs on local communities that do not want them there. The study argues that Doug and Kris Tompkins and their conservation work are well intentioned, and rather the issue lies in the structural systems that allow power, privilege and wealth to encompass decision-making processes. Doug Tompkins, as a Deep Ecologist, has a one-track mind towards his work and preservation goals, and he neglects to realize the negative implications of ignoring local criticism and interests. The study provides some suggestions for future collaboration as well as raises questions of ethics for tourists to consider.

Level of Access

Restricted: Campus/Bates Community Only Access

First Advisor

Misty Beck

Date of Graduation

Spring 5-2015

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts

Number of Pages



Available to Bates community via local IP address or Bates login.