Academic activism and the “public good” in tourism studies: Through the looking glass (voices and position) of four researchers

In this paper four academics reflect on how they legitimise their actions as academic activists by offering their philosophical justifications for their various modes of activism in the tourism domain. The argument of this paper is that a conscious and robust personal academic philosophy that addresses issues of sustainability and social well-being is vital for grounding academic work, and that voicing such a philosophy is essentual to enacting the contested role of the university as a democratic institution acting towards the public good. The authors of this paper have diverse philosophies which reflect the depth of their experience as academics, different triggers for justification in their working life, and inspiration by different theorists. The narratives of each of the authors are offered and a discussion of the commonalties in activist justifications follows. The paper contributes to the field of tourism studies through broadening the debate about the role of activist research in tourism studies beyond individual accounts and to assist researchers in considering their positionality and purpose in their research within the neoliberal climate of universities.

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Keywords: activism, public good, research, tourism
Categories: Critical scholarship in action