Animal viewing in postmodern America : a case study of the Yellowstone wolf watchers
The purpose of this thesis is to examine the American relationship with wildlife by way of a case study of the Yellowstone wolf watchers. The American relationship with nature and animals changed at a never before seen rate during the modern era because of capitalism and industrialization. Our relationship with animals is now idealized and distorted, and we constantly mourn their loss from our everyday lives. Although we keep the animal in a state of perpetual dying by representations in mass media globally, zoos, parks and pets, these actions are more to further enforce their marginalization and subjugation to human authority. The Yellowstone wolf watchers seek out their contact in the more authentic setting of Yellowstone National Park, even though this is not the definition of wilderness they believe it to be. Even though the wolf watchers are under the same cultural influences that occur throughout society and result in their scopophilic fascination with wolves, this voyeurism also facilitates a contribution to a unique scientific study of this historically mythologized and only recently reintroduced animal.