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THE TRUTH ABOUT TOURISM John Tribe University of Surrey, UK
Abstract: This article examines the extent to which there is congruence between the theorized world of tourism (the canon of tourism knowledge) and the phenomenal world of tourism. Adopting a social constructionist approach it conceptualizes and analyses the knowledge forcefield which is demonstrated to mediate between these two worlds. The five key factors that operate in the knowledge force-field are found to be person, rules, position, ends and ideology. The tourism literature is interrogated to demonstrate how these forces contribute to a doubleselectivity in knowledge creation. Despite many truths being established, the whole truth about tourism is left untold resulting in gaps, silences and mis-constructions. Keywords: knowledge, power, truth, congruence, double-selectivity. INTRODUCTION Is it possible to tell the truth about tourism? Surely an elaborate and expensive knowledge production system (universities, research departments, journals, conferences) exists just for that purpose. But could it be that the thousands of research articles that have been published have failed to uncover the truth? Typically researchers view themselves as “lions in the jungle” untrammeled and individualist researcher/pioneers equipped to uncover the truth. But maybe instead researchers are lions in the circus - caged by role (Biddle 1979) and constrained by structure? Furthermore a Marxist critique might locate tourism research as part of the Ideological State Apparatus (Althuser 1969). Here it would not engage in critical analysis but rather be part of a system in which the existing societal power and knowledge nexus is consolidated and perpetuated leading to the uncritical reproduction of the world as is. In response to these concerns this article holds the truth about tourism up for scrutiny. It is guided by a social constructionist (Burr 1995) approach to knowledge creation which considers the influences that impinge upon how, and what, knowledge is assembled. This encourages a critical stance towards knowledge and emphasizes the fact that research is conducted in a world where language, concepts and well-formed disciplinary rules already exist. These are not universal but vary across time and place so that different cultural ensembles sustain different recipes for truth and knowledge. Since it is not possible to understand tourism prior to acculturation or outside of any culture, reflecting on cultural situatedness helps to understand the consequences of this fact. The article poses questions succinctly raised by Said: “…how does one speak the truth? What truth? For whom and where?” (1994:88). It approaches these questions around the concepts of power and product. In studying power the article conceptualizes a knowledge forcefield and its constituent dimensions that influence the creation of truth. In analyzing product, it considers the effects of these forces on the knowledge that is created. In this way the degree of congruence between the phenomenal world of tourism and its knowledge-constructed world is scrutinized. A key issue that emerges is whether there are factors at work defining the do-able in tourism research, legitimizing certain views and obscuring others. Of course there already exists much discussion of knowledge difficulties in the social sciences. Notable milestones include the interpretive turn (Geertz 1973), the crisis in representation (Marcus and Fisher 1986) and moments of qualitative research (Denzin and
Lincoln 2003). But in tourism research, Riley and Love’s (2000) study and Phillimore and Goodson’s update which found that “explicit examinations of researchers’ embodied characteristics continue to be rare in tourism studies” (2004:16), portray the limited engagement with contemporary issues of knowledge production. Furthermore, Botterill, Gale and Haven noted for UK doctoral studies that “there was little sign of any explicit engagement with epistemological debate as evidenced by the use of the term itself or its principle form of expression in the Social Sciences, that is, the terms ‘Constructivism’ and ‘Realism’ ”(2003:293). THE TRUTH ABOUT TOURISM This article is primarily conceptual and the limited empirical aspects are based upon two types of source. First data is used from the literature. Second, use is made of the CABI Publishing abstracts database (CABABS). CABABS was interrogated to provide data on published articles using search criteria relating to the ideas discussed in the paper. Either the specific year 2002 (1,127 tourism articles abstracted) or the range of years 1990 – 2002 inclusive (12,175 articles abstracted) are used to provide evidence. Three limitations to this method should be noted. First, only titles, keywords and abstracts are interrogated and therefore there may be some underepresentation of articles which declare their orientation only in the main body of their text. Second, the existence of many synonyms means that searches for concepts under a particular word may miss some potential positive cases. Third, CABABS only abstracts literature classified as tourism. Therefore literature logged elsewhere (under anthropology, management, etc.) is overlooked. The knowledge force-field It was Lewin (1935) who elaborated the theory of force-fields in order to understand those factors which facilitated and those which restrained change in organizations. For this article force-field analysis is used to understand those factors that resist and those that promote truth creation in tourism. The term “knowledge force-field” is used to describe those factors which mediate in the process where the phenomenal world of tourism is translated into the known world of tourism. This can be illustrated by the following simple transformation: Tourism Phenomenon Knowledge Force-Field Tourism Knowledge So what is of interest here is the congruence between tourism knowledge and the tourism phenomenon. A scoping of the literature reveals a long list of theories relating to power and knowledge, particularly influenced by the sociology of knowledge (Mannheim 1960), phenomenology (Husserl 1913), discourse (Foucault 1971), representation (Said 1994) and reproduction (Bourdieu 1973). In order to bring some conceptual clarity, the theories have been ordered around five over-arching factors. The five factors at work in the knowledge force-field are person, rules, position, ends and ideology. Figure 1 illustrates the relationship between the phenomenal world of tourism (circle 1) and the canon of tourism knowledge (circle 3), mediated through the knowledge force field (circle 2). Of course the five factors are not discrete forces and there are many overlaps and inter-relationships. For this reason they are not identified in separate boxes and the knowledge force field is depicted as a fluid space. Additionally, circle 1 is drawn without hard borders for we can not know what its borders are. Tourism is more than can be told. Each of the categories in the knowledge force-field will now be examined in turn and the general line of enquiry will focus on the extent to which circle 3 provides a comprehensive representation of tourism (circle 1).
Figure 1. The Knowledge Force-Field Person. Identifying person as a substantive power in the knowledge force field confronts the strange but deeply established notion that research is somehow disembodied. Perhaps it is the pursuit of objectivity in research that has been responsible for denying the place and power of what Swain calls “the corporal selves of researchers ... as primary factors in the research process” (2004:102). A deeply entrenched mind / body dichotomy has prevailed in tourism research where an objective mind has been cultivated as if it was detached and immune from any bodily impressions. The following section highlights significant aspects of embodiment including class, age, (dis)ability, gender, sexual orientation, race and ethnicity. The notion of self (Wearing and Wearing 2001) (or selves - Reinharz 1997) is initially, artificially and temporarily extracted from those aspects of nurture or culture that impress themselves upon identity. For as Hall notes, “in terms of why we research what we do, one also cannot ignore the personal” (2004:148). Hall provides examples of this notably that “a woman who [he] lusted after” influenced his choice of doctorate. Additionally he explains how good and bad relationships with colleagues, institutions and publishers and his loves of surfing, the outdoors, wine and food have influenced his research choices. Sayer also stresses the significance of self and “The realm of the 'I' - that is our capability to receive something from outside and make it our own, to make something of what we are constructed through - thus creating something different” (1999:3). In an illustration of this, Botterill (2003) deploys an autoethnographic approach which reveals the interplay of self with research. He recounts his epistemological journey from positivism (his initial received or given perspective) via social constructivism and phenomenology to critical realism. This he interweaves with a personal narrative that includes breakdown, divorce, relocation, disputation, politics, love and the discovery of his own “Welshness”. Hall and Botterill have foregrounded the importance of the self in influencing both the focus of the researcher’s gaze (Hollinshead 1999b) into circle 1 and the consequential knowledges constructed in circle 3. Ateljevic, Harris, Wilson and Collins (2005) similarly reveal their “entanglements” in the process of research whilst Galani-Moutafi (2000) explains the importance of self-knowledge in the construction of knowledge about others. It is notable that although reflexivity is becoming more common in interpretivist research, the self is generally ignored (or often banished) in tourism research. For example the “I” word is proscribed from many journals (including Annals), presumably in deference to scientific objectivity.
Analysis of the power of gender (Pritchard 2004; Wearing 1998) in the knowledge forcefield includes Aitchison’s (2001b) review of the interface between structural and cultural power in the construction of gender relations and gendered others in tourism. In an earlier paper, Aitchison (1996) found that research and consultancy, publications, professional associations, educational management, and teaching were key mechanisms by which patriarchal power and control are exerted in leisure and tourism. She showed these mechanisms to be crucial to the construction of knowledge and its communication, legitimation and reproduction. Aitchison’s (2001a) gender analysis of authors in journals in leisure and tourism studies found that male authors outnumbered female authors by four to one supporting the argument that knowledge creation has a significant gender dimension. Similarly, Pritchard and Morgan (2000) demonstrate how tourism landscapes are shaped by the discourses of patriarchy and heterosexuality and that the language of tourism promotion is scripted for a male, heterosexual audience and Johnston (2001) criticizes the hegemonic, disembodied and masculinist knowledge of tourism. It is notable that in the Meyer-Arendt and Justice (2002) review of dissertation topics only one out of a total of 377 was classified under women’s studies and there are few examples in the literature which deploy an overtly feminist methodology. Indeed CABABS reveals the term FEMINIS* (Feminist / Feminism) in the summaries of only 19 of 12,175 entries in its 1990-2002 database. Additionally Aramberri’s (2002) report notes that the delegates at the 2001 International Academy for the Study of Tourism Conference were (as in most tourism conferences) almost all male. Similarly, of the 57 contributors listed in Lew, Hall and Williams’s (2004) A Companion to Tourism only 10 are women. However despite evidence of an overwhelming patriarchal power at work and perhaps in illustration of the Foulcauldian notion of resistance, an oeuvre of gender research is evident. This includes the 1995 special issue of Annals of Tourism Research - Gender in Tourism and the 2003 special issue of Tourism Recreation Research - Gender Tourism. The editors of the latter - Hall, Swain and Kinnaird are able to state that “a transnational network of researchers focusing on gender dimensions of Tourism Studies has developed over the past decade” (2003:7) but note “relatively little engagement to date between feminist studies and tourism studies in the development of gender thinking in tourism” (2003:11). Humberstone’s introduction to standpoint research notes that the “production of knowledge and development of theory was in the past largely based upon Eurocentric research and the ideas of mainly white middle class men” (2004:119). She then adverts to the groups— “women, black people, people with disability” (2004:119)—whose perspectives and experiences have been neglected. Humberstone alludes to the “naming of a feminist standpoint epistemology” (2004:120) and it has been seen that feminist standpoints such as those of Aitchison (2001a; 2001b) provide insights into the power dynamics of tourism research. With regard to sexual orientation and research 48 articles (0.004% of total) are returned from CABABS (1990 – 2002) using the search strings GAY or QUEER or HOMOSEXUAL* (Homosexual / Homosexuality) or LESBIAN. There is only limited evidence of a literature which considers the power dynamics of sexual orientation on research and knowledge creation including Clift, Luongo and Callister’s (2002) collection on gay tourism culture and identity, Hughes’s (1997) study of homosexual identity and Chamberland’s (2000) study of Canadian lesbian travelers. In the light of such observations Valentine (1993) offers the term ‘heteropatriarchy’ to describe the sociosexual power relations that feed male, heterosexual dominance. Turning to ethnicity, race, disability and class, an inspection of the 374 (0.03% of total) titles returned from a CABABS search (1990-2002) using the search strings RACE and / or ETHNIC* (Ethnic / Ethnicity), the 69 (0.006% of total) that include the search string DISAB* 4
(Disabled / Disability) and the 4 (0.00038% of total) titles using the search strings “SOCIAL CLASS” or MARX* (Marx, Marxist, Marxian, Marxism) reveals that although these issues are researched there appears to be no research explicitly standpointed from non-white or disabled or specific class perspectives. Neither do we have a clear idea of the number of researchers / research outputs that are non-white, disabled or working class. This section is concluded by revisiting Veijola and Jokinen who noted that “judged by the discursive postures given to the writing subject of most of the analyses, the analyst himself has ... lacked a body” (1994:149). In the judgment of Swain (2004) their challenge has not been taken up in the ensuing years. Swain’s conclusion is that “if bodies are invisible or silenced in qualitative research, we are missing a very rich source of data and denying a method of investigation that acknowledges the researcher’s complicity in knowledge building” (2004:116). Of course the researcher’s body is routinely repressed in positivist research. Rules. The rules in tourism knowledge creation consist of those conventions that researchers subscribe to and work within. Concepts analyzed will include (multi/inter) disciplinarity, paradigms, postmodernity, traditions, discourse and methodology and a concern here is that knowledge may be subject to MacDonaldizing tendencies (Ritzer 1993) where standardized procedures are invoked to produce a uniform, predictable product. There may be parallel dangers of following a “recipe” approach to tourism research. For recipes militate against heterogeneity, nuances may be lost and research products may be mass-produced without due regard to their sensitivity to different contexts. A good starting point is to examine the rules supplied by a particular disciplinary approach (Tribe 1997). A discipline is often seen as a cornerstone of truth creation since its rules have been established and perfected over a long period with a view to underwriting the reliability and validity of research. However disciplines may perform a selector role determining what is included and excluded both in the framing of tourism research and its execution. Here, Aronowitz and Giroux (1991) refer to the tyranny of the disciplines. So where a particular discipline predominates in a field it can literally discipline both perception and knowledge creation. Sayer describes the parochialism of disciplines where “they tend to be incapable of seeing beyond the questions posed by their own discipline, which provide an all-purpose filter for everything” (1999:2). For Sayer then, disciplines can offer “a recipe for misunderstanding the social world” (1999:1). Jafari and Aaser’s (1988) analysis of doctoral dissertations completed in the USA found the largest contributions from the fields of economics, anthropology, geography, and recreation, in that order of importance. In Meyer-Arendt and Justice’s (2002) study of US dissertations, 26% were classified under recreation and 13% each under anthropology and geography. Economics accounted for 7% and sociology 3% of the approaches. Botterill et al’s analysis of UK dissertations “confirm[s] the influences of economics, geography, sociology, anthropology, business studies and environmental science upon the study of tourism” (2003:292). A crude analysis of the 2002 tourism research recorded in CABABS underlines the predominance of economics appearing in 38% of the title, keywords or abstract, followed by sociology with 7%, geography with 6%, psychology with 3%, and philosophy and anthropology each with 1%. Rojek and Urry identify the tyrannical role of economics which “deliberately … abstract[s] most of the important issues of social and cultural practice and only consider[s] tourism as a set of economic activities. Questions of taste, fashion and identity would thus be viewed as exogenous to the system” (1997:2). Similarly, Franklin and Crang comment that tourism has tended to be reduced to a set of economic activities, so that “our understanding of tourism has become fetishized as a thing, a product, a behaviour – but in particular an economic 5
thing” (2001:6). Mindful of such observations Coles, Hall and Duval make a case for postdisciplinarity arguing that if studies of tourism are to reflect contemporary conditions “they should move away from traditional inter- and multi-disciplinary approaches to more flexible forms of knowledge production” (2005:31). Rules can build into paradigms. For Kuhn (1970) a paradigm represents “accepted examples of actual scientific practice … from which spring particular coherent traditions of scientific research” (1970:10). Kuhn demonstrated that adherents to any period of “normal science” often fought hard to protect the coherence of an existing paradigm against emerging subversive theory. Paradigms set the rules and define the boundaries of the acceptable in knowledge creation and represent an important power dimension acting on research. But it is not possible to present tourism research as operating in the grip of a paradigm. Much of Kuhn’s analysis describes an age where patronage and the monopolization of knowledge were rife and the communication of ideas was tightly controlled. Denial and suppression of new truths was therefore feasible. This is clearly not the case in the postmodern (Lyotard 1984) truth free-for-all. Additionally the simple example of Franklin and Crang demonstrates the situation in tourism. In order to promote an angle of research which they felt has been overlooked they were able to take a simple step and launch a new journal (Tourist Studies) “which provides a platform for the development of critical perspectives on the nature of tourism as a social phenomenon” (Franklin and Crang 2001:6). Importantly for understanding the weakness of paradigms, this step did not lead to their excommunication from the tourism academy. However if Kuhn’s idea of paradigms is too strong to have explanatory power for the knowledge force field, MacIntyre’s (1985) idea of traditions does offer some insight. A tradition is a looser constellation of rules than a paradigm. Traditions arise as researchers build on precedent and attract adherents who subscribe to similar schools of thought. They differ from paradigms in that a number of different traditions may freely co-exist and they are more permeable and adaptable. Jafari (2003) identifies phases in tourism research that point to changing traditions noting that early studies concentrated on economic aspects of. The next phase focused on sociocultural aspects, scrutinizing the benefits of tourism. Thereafter, Jafari notes that research was devoted to alternative forms of tourism which were potentially more sustainable. Rules are more subtle yet no less powerful in the Foulcauldian notion of discourse (Foucault 1971; 1980). Here the rules of admissibility (what can and cannot be said) are much less overtly policed than in a paradigm. Rather they are dissipated and deeply embedded into social relations. Hall (1997:44) explains discourse as "a group of statements which provide a language for talking about ...a particular topic at a particular historical moment." Hall further explains that Foucault was interested in the rules and practices that gave statements meaning and regulated what could be said. Discursive formations perform an including and excluding function, legitimizing what counts as knowledge and what does not, so that the ideas and interests of some groups are given authority whilst those of others are not supported. Discourse thereby has the ability to construct (circle 3, Figure 1) tourism (circle 1, figure 1). In this way the discourses within which we operate can determine what we enable ourselves to know. Cheong and Miller (2000) emphasize the productive effects of power demonstrated in formation of knowledge in the field of tourism, but it appears that as a group, researchers in the field are not very Foucault aware – only 8 of the 12175 CABABS articles (1990-2002) returned the search string FOUCAUL* (Foucault / Foucauldian) in their summaries. However it is also notable that the derivative concept of the “gaze” generates a higher count being evident in 35 articles. 6
What is interesting about discourse is that it can sustain a regime of truth about tourism irrespective of any absolute truth. As an example of this Hughes (1995) shows that that the dominant approach to sustainable tourism is technical, rational and scientific. He argues that this discourse has silenced the emergence of an ethical response to sustainability. In other words the term sustainable tourism has been formed and maintained through the emergence of a particular discourse. Hollinshead (1999b) in reviewing Urry’s (1990; 1992) conceptualization of the tourist gaze explains how the Foucauldian eye-of-power acts not only through the organizations and agencies of travel and tourism but also in travel and tourism research “… that is the way its members learn to see and project preferred versions of reality, and historically the way that such seeing and projecting privileges certain persons and their inheritances, and subjugates certain others and their inheritances” (1999b:9). In this light circle 2 in Figure 1 might represent the lens of the eye of power and circle 3 its retina: the segment ABC in circle 3 “what … we repeatedly and systematically privilege in tourism representations” and the segment AZC “what we … systematically deny and frustrate” (Hollinshead 1999b:15). The Figure’s explanatory power can be extended by positing that the movement between circle 1 and circle 3 is not neutral but that the throwing of the gaze from circle 2 (e.g. from K to J) includes “entrenched a priori understandings in or of cultural, environmental matters and preformulated understandings about … a distant interpreted population” (Hollinshead 1999:17, italics added for emphasis). However the cacophony of antagonistic voices makes it difficult to maintain the case for a discourse of tourism research, although it does seem possible to identify certain dominant discursive formations. For example managerialism offers a powerful discourse disciplining tourism truth. Ball (1990:156) suggests that "management is a professional, professionalizing discourse”. In other words it provides the rules which authorize certain ways of talking about tourism and proscribes others resulting in knowledge which generally includes issues such as consumer satisfaction, efficiency and markets and excludes issues such as mobilities, gender and power-politics. However Foucault observed that “where there is power there is resistance” (1980:95) and the multiple discourses that run through tourism provide sites for resistance. It appears that Franklin and Crang wish to provide a site for resistance against managerialism when they ask contributors to Tourist Studies to (among other things) “… stimulate approaches to the study of tourism which provide an alternative to the existing positivist, managerially oriented material which predominates in the current literature on tourism. These approaches may include qualitative, humanistic and ethnographic methodologies and feminist and ethnic perspectives on tourism” (2001:15). Finally this section turns to the rules of different methods and their impact on truth telling. Typically research is divided into positivist and interpretivist approaches. It is likely that those who work in the scientific positivist traditions of tourism research will instinctively deny the idea of a knowledge force-field. They will replace the term knowledge force-field with the term “scientific method” and proffer a different transformation to the one proposed earlier: Tourism Phenomenon Scientific Method Tourism Knowledge The claim can then be made that it is precisely the careful, methodical rules and permitted moves of scientific method that ensure that there is an exact correspondence between tourism knowledge (circle 3) and that part of the tourism phenomenon it seeks to describe (circle 1). Such considerations include those of hypothesis formulation, hypothesis corroboration/falsification, validity, reliability and objectivity. Indeed it is by this process that a 7
number of truths in tourism have been established. So for example Song, Romilly and Liu’s (2000) empirical study of outbound tourism demand in the UK found that the long-run income elasticities for the destinations studied range from 1.70 to 3.90. Hard knowledge production such as this may tempt those working under the demanding rules of scientific positivism to claim their credentials as truth tellers. But methodological considerations suggest that this accolade should be qualified. Positivists must also be viewed as constrained truth tellers for two reasons. First, there are only limited parts of the phenomenon of tourism that are amenable to investigation by positivist method (mainly that which is measurable). A huge part of the potential canvas of tourism truth is left uncharted by this approach (for example emotions, aesthetics and values) so that “it becomes impossible to examine ‘reality’ in all its complexity” (Walle 1997:535). Second, positivism is not choice-free. Researchers have to choose what research to conduct and when choosing, their gaze (K J, Figure 1) is not exempt from the influence of the knowledge force-field. An important tenet of interpretivism is that “the complex social world can be understood only from the point of view of those who operate within it” (Goodson and Phillimore 2004:36). Here a common aim is to “let your data do the talking” (Jordan and Gibson 2004:215). Interpretivist methods thereby seek to offer a naturalistic voice to the tourism phenomena studied. As such they often offer conflicting, confusing and highly context-bound and messy accounts. These truths may be challenged from positivists as lacking reliability or validity. Interpretivists have responded to such criticisms by creating different truth-criteria appropriate to their approach such as confirmability, trustworthiness and transparency. As to the relative significance of these methods, some early writers were pessimistic about the direction tourism research was taking. For example, Echtner and Jamal noted that “… the evolution of tourism studies might be seen to be plagued by the same phobia that dominates all of the social sciences, namely the need to become more “scientific” and the resulting attachment to more traditional positivist methods” (1997:877). In the same year, Ryan asked whether tourism researchers are “entrenched in a positivist tradition that was blinding us to developments in other social sciences” (1997:3). Additionally, Riley and Love’s (2000) investigation into the number of quantitative versus qualitative articles appearing in four tourism journals from their inception to 1996 found the dominant method in tourism journals to be positivism. However Dann and Phillips (2001) have reported a recent trend where tourism research is moving away from pure quantification and towards a more qualitative approach and Jamal and Hollinshead note that “foundationalist assumptions of truth, objectivity, and validity are being slowly relinquished” (2001:63). The increasing presence of qualitative studies is endorsed by Botterill et al’s (2003) analysis of UK dissertations. This “confirms the prevailing influence of positivist (questionnaire) and hermeneutic (interview) epistemologies in the study of tourism” (2003:293) and that quantitative … and qualitative … methods were reported in roughly equal proportions” (2003:288). Position. The term position describes the location of the researcher encompassing physical location such as geographical situatedness, and positioning within a university department as well as location within an academic community and a wider language and cultural community. When squeezed with a critical grip the seemingly innocuous concept of geographical location yields up its underlying power dimensions. Here, ethnocentricity, departmentalism and academic tribalism all emerge as important forces at work in the tourism knowledge force-field. Ethnocentrism involves the promotion of the interests of one’s own ethnic and cultural group, and a corresponding demotion of those of other groups. This gives rise to the question as 8
to the degree to which the subaltern is allowed to speak (Aitchison 2001) and the ability of researchers to present the story of others (Spivak 1987). Hooks (1990) illustrates the subtle way in which the voice of the subaltern is inevitably subverted by researchers: No need to hear your voice when I can talk about you better than you can speak about yourself. No need to hear your voice. Only tell me about your pain. I want to know your story. And then I will tell it back to you in a new way. Tell it back to you in such a way that it has become mine, my own. Re-writing you, I write myself anew. I am still author, authority. I am still the colonizer, the speaking subject, and you are now at the centre of my talk. (1990:151-152) Metropolitanism describes the situation where the promoted interests are those of the mother country as opposed to its (former) colonies and Bhabha (1996) discusses the power of post-colonialism. Blomgren and Sorensen (1998) identify the geographic dichotomies of core versus peripherality noting that peripheral areas can find it difficult to promote or protect their interests. The dominance of core areas is illustrated by Hall, Williams and Lew’s (2004) analysis of the global distribution of tourism journal editors which found 77% of editors based in the USA, UK, Australia, New Zealand and Canada. Hollinshead (1999a) argues that the interests of certain privileged groups are served by post-modern “nationalist” tourism so that significant truths created are those relevant to the tourist rather than the host, consumers rather than workers and the industry rather than the environment. Note that each of these dichotomies identifies the interests of a dominant against a subservient group. In an earlier paper, Hollinshead (1992) attempts to counter the power of ethnocentric Western portrayals of indigenous North Americans. He does this by a process of what he terms disidentification. This involves promoting the acceptance of the validity and logic of native North Americans' own alternative visions of the world thereby recognizing (and relinquishing) the power that authors may bring from geographic situatedness. Similarly, Dyer, Aberdeen and Schuler (2003) reflect on the effects of their historical identity on the research process and the interpretation of data in their study of the indigenous Australian Djabugay community. Whittaker’s (1999) study illustrates the issue of geographic situatedness and ethnocentrism in Australia and the challenge of reclaiming knowledge for indigenous people (aboriginal Australians). He finds that the depiction of aboriginals in tourist literature is exploitative and racist, based upon and perpetuating historicized images of aboriginal groups. In other words knowledge about an indigenous people is generated from an ethnocentric (Western, developed, colonial) position. The knowledge which is offered about them is different to the knowledge they would offer about themselves. This is similar to Said’s (1978) conceptualisation of the Western view of the East as “Orientalism” where the view of the Arab and Islamic world is skewed by a Western gaze. Tuhiwai Smith (1999), a Maori researcher offers an insight about how research and the truth are viewed by the colonised: From the vantage point of the colonised, a position from which I write, and choose to privilege, the term ‘research’ is inextricably linked to European imperialism and colonialism. The word itself, ‘research’, is probably one of the dirtiest words in the Indigenous world’s vocabulary. When mentioned in many Indigenous contexts, it stirs up silence, it conjures up bad memories, it raises a smile that is knowing and distrustful (1999:1). 9
Similarly, Berno and Butler’s (1996) study of the Cook Islands adverts to ethnocentric issues in research methods and the fact that cultural differences can make it difficult to achieve a projection of reality that is meaningful to indigenous people in their cultural context. (In Figure 1, would the Cook Islanders in circle 1 subscribe to the projection of themselves offered in circle 3?). Ngugi locates language as a cause of self-othering: [t]he choice of language and the use to which language is put is central to a people's definition of themselves in relation to their natural and social environment . . . by our continuing to write in foreign languages, paying homage to them, are we not on the cultural level continuing that neo-colonial slavish and cringing spirit? (1986:4, 26). In an effort to counter ethnocentrism based around the dominance of the English language in tourism research Franklin and Crang (2001:15) set out specifically “to stimulate a wider global debate about the nature of tourism by encouraging submissions [to the journal Tourist Studies] from non-English-speaking authors.” Moving from the national to the local, the term “departmentalism” is coined here to describe the organizational effects of universities on research. Typically tourism researchers are located within Business Schools (Surrey, UK, Otago, NZ) or Geography Departments (Exeter, UK) or more purposively conceived ones such as The Department of Recreation Parks and Tourism (University of Florida, USA). These structures have immense power to direct time, supply funds and corral research to fit a particular faculty strategy and Hall laments “Academic freedom is a mirage. If I do not meet the research … performance criteria which are set … I may not get a pay rise, or perhaps in the longer term I may even lose my job” (2004:147). Botterill offers an insightful account of the impact of different University regimes on his own research. “At [Texas A&M] I had encountered the epitome of … ‘technical useful knowledge’ that emanates under institutionalized positivism” (Botterill 2003:100). Botterill explains that this approach was “so visible, so normal” that his comments often appeared as “heretic” and how a move to a “social science subject group at a small college … brought [him] up sharply against the influence of Marxian thought” (2003:103) whilst later employment at a “‘vocational’ university … [made] it difficult to retain a high profile in a critical network” (2003:103). These effects are illustrated in Hollinshead’s stinging critique which describes how “the institutionalized person cum disciplinary member is gradually generalised into homo docilis, an obedient, conscience-ridden, pliable and appropriate representative of that agency” (1999b:14). Here, Hollinshead seeks to make those involved in tourism (including researchers) more other-regarded (and also self-aware) in terms of the governing suppositions and presuppositions they work within. Researchers are also located within academic communities and Becher's (1989) anthropological investigation of "academic tribes" provides a fascinating insight into acceptable behavior patterns, rules, norms and hierarchies operating within disciplinary communities. Following Becher it is instructive to consider aspects of academic tribalism in tourism. Of particular interest are the "elders" of the tourism tribe whose headdresses are adorned with feathers of esteem – holding of chairs, editorships of key journals, keynote invitations, seats on panels of research grant and assessment bodies, publishers’ advisory positions, and positions on the executives of learned and professional associations. For “elders” one could also read “powerbrokers” for this group act as commissioners in the creation of, and gate-keepers in the dissemination of tourism knowledge (McKercher 2002). 10
Ends. The purpose of knowledge also exerts an important influence on what truths researchers seek. Ideas at work here include questions of demand (the “for whom?” question), funding and ends. A useful starting point here is the notion of the commodification. This describes how research is packaged just like any other commodity in response to the needs of the market so that it is produced to take advantage of its exchange value. Commodification of research may result from the increasing influence of commercialization agendas on universities where they are expected to move towards greater self-financing. Habermas’s (1978) theory of knowledge constitutive interests offers a useful mapping around the idea of commodification. Habermas argued that the pursuit of knowledge is never interest-free but rather that human enquiry is motivated by one of three interests. The technical interest seeks control and management, the purpose being improving technique. Next, the practical interest seeks understanding, the purpose being deep insight. Third, the emancipatory interest seeks freedom from falsehood and emancipation from oppression, the purpose being improvement of the human condition. Habermas additionally explains that each of these interests is served by a different research paradigm. Scientific positivism serves the technical, interpretive methods seek understanding and critical theory seeks emancipation. Following Habermas it may be assumed that research for the tourism industry mainly serves a technical interest. But the influence of business and on tourism research is far from clear. Whilst Ritchie (2000) notes that the academic literature has had few links with or impact on tourism practitioners, Franklin and Crang argue that “… tourist studies has been dominated by policy led and industry sponsored work so the analysis tends to internalize industry led priorities and perspectives” (2001:5). Cooper explains how in Australia “the Cooperative Research Centre for Sustainable Tourism … has taken the lead … [in] working out detailed commercialization and diffusion strategies for research projects” (2002:43). Research driven by a technical interest necessarily concentrates on a small part of the tourism phenomenon. Its main concerns will be consumer satisfaction and the planning and management of resources. Lyotard’s (1984) concept of performativity further illustrates commodification. He argues that as science becomes more complex its research requires increasingly technologically sophisticated laboratories. The importance of this is that "… an equation between wealth, efficiency and truth is thus established. … The production of proof ... thus falls under control of another language game, in which the goal is no longer truth, but performativity - that is the best possible input / output equation” (1984: 45/46). The implication is that performativity favors knowledge which has a clear exchange value in order to pay for the expensive technologies of scientific research. But performativity cannot be readily applied to tourism. Here, research does not require expensive laboratories or the construction of costly prototypes. So whereas scientific research can readily fall under the influence of tobacco companies, the defense industry or powerful pharmaceutical interests, tourism research is not so dependent upon its industry for financial assistance. Its relative cheapness offers some respite from the power of performativity. Another aspect of purpose relates to the funding of university research. In the UK publicly funded research is dependent on the regular Research Assessment Exercise (RAE). Here Tribe (2003) has alluded to the “RAE-ification” of tourism research. One important aspect of this is that tourism research is forced into “units of assessment” supplied by the RAE. For RAE 2008 these include Business and Management Studies, Geography and Environmental Studies and Anthropology (but not tourism). The point here is that the structure supplied by the RAE exerts power on the type of tourism research carried out militating against a free-ranging multidisciplinary tourism studies approach in favor of business and management studies, geography etc. The RAE thereby performs a selector role in generating tourism research that fits with its own structuring of knowledge. 11
Ideology. This section examines two aspects of ideology (Althuser 1969; 1984). Ideology can refer to the common sense set of beliefs (often implicit) permeating society which guides thought and action. However the term is also used to describe specific, coherent subsets of beliefs (generally “–isms”, or faith systems). Taking the first meaning, Apple (1990:5) explains how ideology "saturates our very consciousness" so that it becomes the taken for granted way of thinking and doing. Marx viewed ideology as important first because it frames thinking in a particular way and therefore distorts understanding and acts as a barrier to truth telling and second because the dominant ideology is that of the dominant class. This idea was expressed by Gramsci (1971) as hegemony which describes the empowerment of the cultural beliefs, values, and practices of a dominant group and the suppression and partial exclusion of those of others. A key question is whether tourism research falls under the hegemonic influences of the ideology of Western capitalism and consumerism. Picard appears to support this view noting that “. . . research [becomes] subject to the imperatives of policy, in the sense that one expects the researcher to assume as his own an objective of social control that will allow the tourist product to be more finely tuned to the demands of the international market” (1996:103). But ideologies are permeable and just as Marx managed to slip the traces of his ideological harness and write the most damning and enduring critique of capitalism (Marx and Engels 1985), so a number of tourism researchers (including Picard) have made similar successful bids for intellectual freedom. Turning to ideology’s meaning as coherent belief systems, these range from political systems such as communism, through idea systems such as pantheism, utilitarianism, liberalism and Confucianism to religious faiths such as Judaeo-Christianity, Mohammedism and Hinduism. This raises two important issues. First, individual researchers need to consider the extent to which they operate within particular ideologies. Here it is instructive to examine liberalism. For many, its commitment to truth seeking, its skepticism and its pursuit of the good and just life appear to elevate it beyond ideology. Accordingly liberalism is often proffered as a seal of approval for disinterested knowledge. However a closer inspection reveals liberal values to coincide with particular interests (intellectual, metropolitan, Judaeo-Christian, Western, middle and upper class). Second, the tourism community as a whole needs to question whether its canon of knowledge (circle 3) reflects a full range of ideological positions. For example are there many examples of research generated from Islamic or Hindu standpoints? Finally, Desmond argues that “tourism is not just an aggregate of commercial activities; it is also an ideological framing of history, nature and tradition; a framing that has the power to reshape culture and nature to its own needs” (1999: xiv). In other words he suggests that tourism itself is an ideology. Barnett raises concerns about universities as sites of knowledge production noting that “ideologies have entered the university from several directions, within and beyond the university. Ideology has gained such a grip in universities that it is no longer clear that the idea of the university – as pointing to a site of reason – can be realised” (2003:1-2). Barnett argues that universities are undermined not only by external ideologies such as entrepreneurialism, competition, quality and managerialism, but also that their own activities such as teaching and learning are becoming ideologies. Given the power of ideology, critical theory has the important job to expose its presence in research. "The job of critical theory is initially to identify which particular ideological influences are at work. Ideology critique then asks whose interests are being served by a particular ideology" (Tribe 2001:446). However, Botterill et al’s survey of doctoral theses suggests that little tourism research foregrounds ideology. Their survey found “few abstracts that indicated the influences of critical theory” (2003:293). This point is supported by perusal of the 12
CABABS database where the term “CRITICAL THEORY” only occurs in summary details of 4 of the 12,175 articles abstracted between 1990 and 2002. CONCLUSION Tourism research carries with it a subtle power to define: to skew: to objectify: to foreground some issues leaving others untouched: to legitimize some methods casting others to the periphery: to privilege some groups whilst excluding others and to tell stories in particularistic ways. This is not to say that lies are being told about tourism, nor is it sought to denigrate positivist or applied research: Both make significant contributions to the developing canon of knowledge. Rather it is concluded that tourism research has the generative power to construct and to frame tourism. Figure 1 illustrates the double selectivity that operates in the construction of tourism knowledge. Selectivity operates initially when the researcher casts a gaze into the world of tourism (KJ, Figure 1). Which parts are illuminated by the beam of that gaze are predetermined by the actions of the knowledge force-field on the researcher. Not all parts have an equal chance of attracting the researcher’s gaze. A second selectivity occurs when research is carried out. The processing of research (JCircle 3, Figure 1) also comes under the influence of the knowledge force-field. The story that is told will be inevitably skewed by person of the researcher and their situatedness. Circle 3 in Figure 1 can therefore never offer what Rorty (1979) refers to as an accurate “mirror to the natural” (circle 1) and knowledge cannot provide a faithful representation of reality. Rorty notes that: …no description of how things are from a God's-eye point of view, no skyhook provided by some contemporary or yet-to-bedeveloped science, is going to free us from the contingency of having been acculturated as we were. Our acculturation is what makes certain options live, or momentous, or forced, while leaving others dead, or trivial, or optional (Rorty 1991:13 ). Rorty’s analysis thus underscores how the factors highlighted in the knowledge force-field act (often unconsciously) to legitimate and suppress knowledge about tourism. The force-field demonstrates how the canon of tourism knowledge is heavily contingent on the power of those who speak for tourism, their spatial and temporal situatedness and the social practices that sustain their position and authority. So while individual researchers attempt to tell the truth about tourism, collectively they do not tell the whole truth or indeed nothing but the truth. This is inevitable despite their individual efforts to achieve validity and reliability or transparency and plausibility. The canon of tourism knowledge is therefore partial, illustrated in figure 1 by a bunching of tourism knowledge creation into the segment ABC of circle 3. A large segment AZB is uncharted and is subject to only sporadic research forays. Returning to a question posed at the beginning of this article, circle 3 does not, on this reading, provide a comprehensive or congruent representation of tourism (circle 1). Not all aspects of the phenomenon have an equal chance of establishing themselves in the canon of knowledge. Permission to narrate may be denied to peripheral groups and there are many gaps and silences in research. However the discussion demonstrates that a simple Marxist critique of tourism research is clearly inaccurate. The knowledge force-field offers a more nuanced and subtle critique. Nor is tourism research in the grip of a restrictive paradigm. It is hardly affected by performativity. Even disciplinary strictures are yielding, possibly as Smith notes, towards post-disciplinarity which “requires even more flexible and creative approaches to investigating and defining objects than inter-disciplinary approaches by further stripping away the inhibitions associated with 13
disciplinary parochialism” (1998:311). Indeed, there is good reason to agree with Tribe that “the totality of tourism studies has now developed beyond the narrow boundaries of an applied business field and has the characteristics of a fledgling post-modern field of research” (2005:1). Signs include the emergence of more reflexivity and evidence of research which complements tourism as a business practice and which encourages innovative and radical lines of enquiry. This may point to the establishment of “new tourism research” (Tribe 2005:1), a turn that is showing signs of organization and dissemination through journals, texts and conferences. Tourism knowledge is pushing out from the segment ABC in figure 1. This confirms the findings of Goodson and Phillimore who in their post-1996 review of journals found that “ The horizons of tourism research are widening” (2004:41). To encourage the pushing of the boundaries of knowledge in circle 3 perhaps (as noted by Urry 1990) tourism researchers should ensure that their explorations include journeys into proximate mental territories as well as forays deep into distant lands. It seems that the lure of exotic settings often beckons more strongly than that of the library and that the other is inspected more readily than the self. Indeed Edward Said’s popular, tightly-packed epigram provides the most fitting last words for this article. Tourism researchers must be prepared to “speak truth to power” (Said 1994:xvi). But perhaps at the same time they should seek to speak truth of power and facilitate the speech of the powerless. ■
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