Tourism and the forbidden zone: the underserved power of qualitative inquiry

Tourism and the forbidden zone: the underserved power of qualitative inquiry Journal Article

Tourism Management

  • Author(s): Jamal, T., Hollinshead, K.
  • Published: 2001
  • Volume: 22
  • ISBN: 0261-5177

Abstract: The canons of good praxis in the social sciences are changing. Along with the linguistic and hermeneutic (interpretive) challenges to ontology and epistemology exerted by continental philosophers and social theorists in the 20th century, have come dynamic changes in travel and tourism. We start this paper by tracing five important dynamisms in the phenomenology and constructive power of tourism and travel. These five encompass tourism as an agent of seeing, an agent of being, an agent of experience, an agent of cultural invention and an agent of knowing. But are tourism studies equipped with the research tools, approaches, strategies and techniques to explore the proliferation of new communal orders, marginalized voices in the third spaces in-between cultures and spaces, the overstimulation and fluid images cast by media, technology and urban intrusions, and the rapidly changing margins of tourist–host encounters in performative sites? The paper goes on to outline some of the twists and turns that qualitative research has undergone in its attempts to shake itself free of the inheritances of positivism and scientism. The confusion in the meaning of `interpretive research’ is one of the several challenges that are discussed and related to qualitative inquiry in tourism studies. The loss of the `body’ in tourism is another such issue. While foundationalist assumptions of truth, objectivity, and validity are being slowly relinquished, how are qualitative researchers to deal with the new textualities, multi-vocalities and `situated knowledges’ of participant voices and experiences in the ambigious and uncertain interstices of human–societal/tourist–touree encounters? In relating the above issues of and about the so-called `forbidden zone’ of qualitative inquiry to tourism studies, we focus predominantly in this paper on the place and value of `messy texts', `engaged interestedness', `locality/local knowledges’ and the `confirmability’ of qualitative inquiry.

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Jamal, T., Hollinshead, K., 2001, Tourism and the forbidden zone: the underserved power of qualitative inquiry, Volume:22, Journal Article, viewed 13 June 2024,

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