Sea World - Gold Coast, Australia's discourse of legitimation: signage and live animal shows (2015-2018) as indicators of change in messaging

Article


Scollen, Rebecca Jane and Mason, Andrew. 2020. "Sea World - Gold Coast, Australia's discourse of legitimation: signage and live animal shows (2015-2018) as indicators of change in messaging." Journal of Sustainable Tourism. 28 (10), pp. 1686-1701. https://doi.org/10.1080/09669582.2020.1750620
Article Title

Sea World - Gold Coast, Australia's discourse of legitimation: signage and live animal shows (2015-2018) as indicators of change in messaging

ERA Journal ID5856
Article CategoryArticle
AuthorsScollen, Rebecca Jane (Author) and Mason, Andrew (Author)
Journal TitleJournal of Sustainable Tourism
Journal Citation28 (10), pp. 1686-1701
Number of Pages16
Year2020
Place of PublicationUnited Kingdom
ISSN0966-9582
1747-7646
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)https://doi.org/10.1080/09669582.2020.1750620
Abstract

Observation of Sea World – Gold Coast, Australia’s 2015 and 2018 onsite signage and live animal shows provides indication of a significant shift in legitimating rhetoric. The keeping of animals in captivity has become an increasingly contentious issue requiring zoos and marine parks to reposition themselves to remain viable as tourism enterprises to be sustained into the future. Recent protests by animal rights activists in Australia exemplifies the ideological challenges to the keeping of marine animals in captivity. To survive and thrive all organisations including marine parks must present an ideologically sustainable position which is consistent through their messaging and practices. Participant observation and discourse analysis are applied in this study to reveal the messaging employed by Sea World – Gold Coast, Australia in two separate years, and by doing so to identify the changes in legitimation framing over the period. Examples of onsite signage and live animal shows at the theme park, demonstrate that the legitimating discourses have shifted from its role in educating the public about marine animals and conservation in 2015, to highlighting its role as authorised, expert facility understood as a place of refuge to care for individual animals in 2018.

KeywordsSea World, Australia, discourse, legitimation, signage, live shows
ANZSRC Field of Research 2020470101. Communication studies
350803. Tourism management
Byline AffiliationsSchool of Creative Arts
School of Humanities and Communication
Institution of OriginUniversity of Southern Queensland
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