From the “hole” to the tourist attractive: a sociology of rural resignification

Abstract: This article aims to discuss the contemporary transformations of the rural based on the resignification phenomenon of nature and the environment. The article will be based on a case study about the representations of nature in Brotas, city located in the central region of São Paulo state. In this city, the elective affinity between the professionalization of adventure tourism, environmental issues and the discursive resignification of the rural was responsible for an important transformation of the locality from the 1990s to the first decade of the 21st century. The specific theme to be discussed in this case is the creation of an “object of nature” which has begun to characterize the rural in Brotas – namely the waterfalls, that previously was stigmatized as “holes”, and later transformed into environmental attractions endowed with economic value.