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Lecture 2

SA 316 Lecture Notes - Lecture 2: World Tourism Organization


Department
Sociology and Anthropology
Course Code
SA 316
Professor
Robert Wyllie
Lecture
2

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Week 2
It begins by emphasizing the importance of the field, then proceeds to examine some definitions of
tourism and tourists. These include official definitions recommended by bodies such as the United
Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO), as well as those adopted by academic researchers. It
goes on to suggest that tourism does not qualify as an “industry” and should be regarded as an economic
sector, then considers whether there is any validity or usefulness in distinguishing between “tourists” and
“travellers.” It shows that tourism is a field of great interest to researchers in various disciplines, which
attests to its growing importance. This section of the textbook also draws attention to some misleading
emphases in the tourism research literature, e.g., the emphasis on international tourism, “Third World”
tourism, and a west-centric, male-oriented perspective. Reservations are expressed concerning some
speculative explanations and interpretations of tourists’ motives and behaviours, and it is suggested that
researchers need to engage more closely with real tourists in tourism settings.
The Franklin reading (Reading 2.1) shows how sociologists have played an important role in advancing
tourism theory and research, noting the landmark studies by people like Dean MacCannell and John Urry.
He takes issue with the use of binary oppositions (e.g., ordinary vs. unusual, work vs. leisure) by Urry
(and others) in approaching the subject, and outlines some salient features of what he calls a “New
Wave” in the sociology of tourism.
The short reading by Smith, Macleod, and Robertson (Reading 2.2) is an admirably clear and concise
summary of the key features of the anthropology of tourism. It notes some of the sub-discipline’s
landmark studies and major contributions. It also identifies the key themes or research strands within the
anthropology of tourism and is a useful preliminary orientation to the anthropological study of tourism.
Schmid’s article (Reading 2.3) describes some of the problems and peculiarities of conducting
ethnographic research with mobile subjects, even when they are in relatively confined tourist enclaves.
This is a research approach that I believe should receive more attention. It is certainly to be preferred
over armchair theory and speculative psychology of the kind offered by those academics that appear
distant from their tourist subject.
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find more resources at oneclass.com
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