Tourism as an ethnographic field
Michael Hitchcock (University of Chichester)
Richard Fardon (SOAS)
Henry Thomas Room
Start time:
11 April, 2007 at 9:30 (UTC+0)
Session slots:

Short abstract:

Papers by Nelson Graburn, and Jeremy Boissevain

Long abstract:

The anthropology of tourism involves ethnographic research on various levels and in a variety of sites. Amongst the existing corpus of work on the subject we have, to start with, methodologically ‘classical’ ethnographies of villages (Tucker, 2002), towns (Crick, 1989), stretches of coasts (Boissevain, 2004), and other tourist ‘destinations’. Then there are the studies of ‘tourist art’ (Graburn, 1976), museums and museum collections (Clark, 2004), tourist related objects, including souvenirs (Hitchcock, 2000) and maps (Scott, 2002). Such topics are closely related to semiological analyses of tourist imagery (Selwyn, 1996), promotional material (Dann, 1996) and other manifestations of tourist related symbolic structures and processes, including those associated with the body (Andrews, 2000). There is anthropological work on material and non-material ‘heritage’ (Palmer, 2003, Nadel-Klein, 2003) together with a genre of studies on travel related history (Adler, 1989) and travel writing (Chard, 1999). On another level, anthropologists have become increasingly involved in the analysis of the political economy of tourism both globally and locally (Meethan, 2001) and associated tourism policy related questions (Burns and Novelli, 2007). Policy studies have included research into social and environmental movements involved with tourism (Boissevain, 1998, Kousis, 2001) as well as with the relation between tourism and development (de Kadt, 1979, Harrison, 1992). Faced by the broad and complex nature of the issues involved, this plenary will consider the nature and boundaries of the field and the extent to which there is an anthropological language with which coherently to engage with it.