What psychology can do for understanding tourism | WURcast

What psychology can do for understanding tourism | WURcast


Good day. In this video I will discuss the sociology
of tourism. Sociology is the scientific study of society. It studies humans as social beings, how they live together in modern societies. This living together leads to all sorts of
complex relations and problems, and these also take shape in context of tourism. Sociologists study these problems from the perspective of the co-dependency of humans, or groups of humans. Sociology covers a lot of ground. As long as it is practiced, sociology discusses how all spheres of human activity are affected by the interplay of social structure and individual agency. Social structure, in simple words, refers
to the many social relations, structures or institutions that partly enable or disable
what we do and how we do. Individual agency, on the other hand, refers to the level in which you and I are able to act on our own. Without debating this further now, it is good to know that there are long series of debates about this distinction. Different sociologists will have different
opinions on what has most influence on the steering of human activities in society. And in these debates, sociology has gradually expanded from its traditional focus on stratifying social groups by socioeconomic status, classes or religion, to other subjects of importance in contemporary society, such as health, the Internet, but also tourism of course At the micro level sociologists study everyday practices, such as cooking, eating, showering or going on holiday. In doing so, sociology aims to unravel the
social structures and institutions that steer our behaviours and attitudes, such as the
state, family, culture, religion, work, as well as the actions of individuals in daily
practice that confirm or challenge these institutions. At the macro level, sociologists study complex global relations, institutions and networks, for example in food, politics, energy, water provision and tourism. Such social phenomena may be taken for granted by people. Yet this is where sociological thinking comes in play by forming a critical attitude towards these phenomena. Tourism is in fact an important societal phenomenon of increasing scale and significance for people across the world. Sociologists use different theories and perspectives to study tourism. Again At the micro scale, sociologists like Erik
Cohen have been defining different typologies of tourists, from independent explorers to
organised mass tourists. Further, a key ongoing debate in the sociology of tourism relates to the role of authentic and staged experiences, the visual nature of tourist experiences, or the so called performative nature of these experiences. With a performative nature, I mean to say
that tourism experiences may have certain intended or unintended consequences after these experiences have taken place. Then again, on the macro level, sociologists analyse processes of rationalisation in the production of tourism, including the role of information and communication technology in enhancing efficiency and predictability. At the same time sociologists are critical
of the evolution of structural inequalities that are also found in tourism. For instance, think of the role of neoliberalism as a hegemonic force at play in tourism. Finally, in recent years sociologists
have conceived tourism as one of the many mobilities performed today. They argue that mobility has become a key attribute of our lives in the twenty-first century. Mobilities not only encompasses the movement of people, but also objects, capital and information across the world. According to Hannam and Knox, considering how tourism relates to all other possible forms of mobility, allows us to think more
carefully about how people, ideas and objects either move, or stay put, but also how these people, ideas and objects interact with eachother. This then highlights that tourism developments should not be considered in isolation. I hope that you now have a general idea about the focus of sociology when it comes to tourism. The sociology of tourism helps us to understand how tourism developments are subject to multiple and changing relations of people, but
also of people, objects and ideas. These relationships can be observed on a micro scale, but also on a macro scale. All with the aim to discuss various societal phenomena by using a critical attitude that does not take these for granted.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *