Cultural Turn of Tourism Studies: The Chinese Voice

There is currently much debate about how knowledge of tourism can and indeed should be produced. Tourism knowledge production is criticised to rely too much on Western values which is Anglocentric and Eurocentric, with a crucial role played by the tourism’s academic gatekeepers (male, first generation scholars grounded in the Western, Anglocentric traditions and located in business, geography or recreation departments) who determine the scope and direction of tourism knowledge. Although tourism, as a field of study is considered as demonstrating a notable “critical turn” in recent years with the evidence of several books and journals published in response to this trend, the situation is not really as optimistic as it seems to be. Whilst it might not be too difficult to achieve changes in terms of paradigm and methodology, the cultural and ideological turn in tourism studies lags behind. Recent research indicates that tourism knowledge production is still Anglocentric and Eurocentric and dominated by researchers from the developed world while voices from the developing countries are suppressed. This study seeks to redress this issue. Findings of a historical analysis of published articles in three leading tourism journals Annals of Tourism Research (ATR), Tourism Management (TM), and Journal of Travel Research (JTR) from 1986 to 2012 indicate an overlooking of Chinese value-based voices and a positive growing trend. Five possible reasons are attributed to the phenomenon and five suggestions are proposed to improve the situation. This study contributes to the cultural turn of tourism studies by encouraging alternative ways of tourism knowledge production.

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Keywords: Chinese voice, critical turn, cultural turn, tourism knowledge production
Categories: Critical scholarship in action