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Critical Tourism Theory Essay

5694 words - 23 pages

Tourism research has evolved from the time when studies on tourism were based in other disciplines to become an academic research field of its own. Tourism critical theory is the pinnacle of that development. Today research in tourism is done using both qualitative and quantitative approaches. If the research is designed to prove a theory it takes the deductive strategy while on the other hand inductive strategy is used to generate theory. The developments are not only in the approaches and strategies but ar also found in the data collection tools and analysis techniques used to collect and interpret data. The study ended by concluding that there is no bad or wrong methodologies, ...view middle of the document...

Critical theory is traced back to the German thinkers and sociologist who referred to themselves as the Frankfurt School. The term critical theory is sometimes referred to as social theory because it focuses on critiquing for the purpose of changing society as a whole as opposed to the traditional thinkers who were only interested in understanding and explain society (Wodak and Meyer, 2009). In other words critical theory is about going beyond the surface of social life with the aim of understanding how the real world works (Jonathan, 1995). Therefore critical theorists can be seen as promoters of equity, humanity as well as advancing the idea of feminism.
As earlier stated critical theory has had some influence in contemporary tourism research. Or as Kevin and Knox (2010) stated that in the 21st century tourism is playing a significant role in people’s socio-cultural and economic lives, therefore it should be studied from the critical theory perspective. However, as the analysis done Richards and Munster (2010) indicate that research in tourism as a field of study is diversified, as most of the early research in the tourism phenomenon was more descriptive, focusing more on the socio-economic and demographic characteristics of people that participate in the consumption of tourism products. Graburn and Jafari (1991) provided the historical developments of tourism research and identified various topics and themes that were central in influencing the study of tourism in particular periods. Before the 1930s tourism research was dominated by historians whose main interest was to document the development of particular places. However, in the 1930s and later years tourism grew in importance as an economic activity and tourism studies started to scholars from the geography and economic disciplines (Mavric and Urry, 2009; Tribe, 2008). By 1960, tourism’s importance had grown in status to draw the interest of scholars from other disciplines such as political science, leisure and recreation, anthropology, ecology and sociology (Tribe, 2008); Jafari (1990) refer to this period as the advocacy platform of tourism studies where the main interest was on understanding the nature of tourism and the organisations that involved were in tourism sector. This was the beginning of the growth of tourism research as multidisciplinary embracing or influenced by different approaches. The developments of multi approaches to tourism research has led to some people to draw a line between researchers who are seen as traditionalists and modernists who have embraced the new emerging forms of tourism research. The new school thought or the modernists may be credited for the emergence of critical tourism theory. Ateljevic (2000) noted that from the 1990s new kind tourism researchers have strived to bridge the gap between tourism and the discipline that influence it such as geography, economics and sociology. Furthermore, Richards and Munster (2010) also noted that the period...

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