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Yokohama 2014

ISA Research Committee 50, International Tourism

Conference Photos are now On-Line HERE

Many thanks to all for a very successful conference!

13-19 July 2014

RC50 Home

Call for Papers | Yokohama 2014

Submit ABSTRACTS here


Tourist Experiences with Senses Other than Sight

Session Organizer

Jens Kr. Steen JACOBSEN, Institute of Transport Economics, Norway,

Session in English

There is more to travel than sightseeing: travel experiences are not just in the eye of the beholder but also in the ears, palate, nose and hands. Tourist experiences are both corporeal and multisensory, although vision is a dominant mode of consciousness in the modern world and some 90% of our perceptual intake is visual – while much of the rest is auditory and tactile. What one might call polysensualism in tourism is a manifestation of the increased use of senses other than vision in travel experiences. Tours are partly about new tastes, smells, sights, sounds and other feelings. Taste is perhaps considered more important than smell as a desirable and sought-after experience of place. Food is to a certain extent regarded as a central ingredient in place sensation. Because people cannot stop sounds, they are especially vulnerable to sounds in the experience of place. Haptic tourist experiences are also under-researched, that is, the tactile receptivity of the skin and body movements through the environment.

This session invites presentations that include for instance studies of tourists themselves, tourism providers, travelogues and promotional material. Conceptual papers on tourist experiences with senses other than sight are also welcome.


Tourism & its Social Contributions in & beyond Japan

Session Organizer

Megumi DOSHITA, Tama University, Japan,

Session in English

Nowadays, many people are willing to contribute to different communities and societies through tourism practices, for the purpose of, not momentary pleasure, but being acknowledged as useful individuals and actualising their own ideal societies. In Japan, a number of city dwellers have joined agricultural experience programmes to revitalise depopulated rural villages, and many people have taken volunteer trips to disaster-stricken areas in Tohoku to support their recovery. In East Asia, there are some national conflicts among the countries, yet individual tourists explore neighbouring countries, appreciate their culture and interact with local people.

In this century, the discussion of ethical and philosophical issues of tourism has become fruitful, and a number of papers have been published with reference to Western philosophies and/or case studies in less developed countries. There seem to be few contributions from the Far East both academically and practically, even though a variety of organisations including project groups at universities conduct tourism-related programmes for social contributions and a number of participants empathise and are involved in them.

The main aim of this session is to share and examine various projects and practices in and beyond Japan in order to enrich the understanding of ethical dimensions of tourism.


Session Organizers

Silke LAUX, Leibniz University Hannover, Germany,

Johannes BECKER, University of Göttingen, Germany,

Session in English

This session focuses on experiences of people being ‘on the move’. How are these experiences shaped and expressed while travelling? And what role do they play afterwards, for example in the daily lives, and life histories of travellers? If mobility is an ideal of the ‘modern global citizen’, travel experiences as well as narrative and other representations of them gain high importance in the actors’ lives. Travel experiences transform values (e.g. independence and creativity), as well as identities/belongings. They influence the construction of biographies and serve as a source for professional advancement. Thus, there is an increasing need to look at what happens not only while, but also before and after travelling. However, the assumption that “we are all tourists now” does not take into account that participation in mobility highly differs and ranges from frequent and occasional travelling to non-travelling.

This opens up questions including: in what ways do economic and social imbalances shape experiences of mobility? How does a highly mobile class negotiate travel experiences with less mobile contemporaries and in between generations? Finally, taking the actors’ own narratives of travelling and mobility seriously might help to disentangle well-known terminological difficulties that have developed in this specific research field: Who is (still) a tourist, who is ‘hyper-mobile’, already a part-time dweller, a ‘modern nomad’, or a migrant?

Contributions are welcome that deal with how experiences are shaped while travelling; the role of travelling in biographies, in families, within different generations; narrations about travelling and other representations such as pictures, videos, social media, and blogs; meaning-making, changes and mediations of travel experiences through (re-)telling; the role of images and discourses in forming travel experiences; interdependencies of class, gender, social, religious, national or ethnic belongings and travel experiences/narrations; lacking experiences of travelling; actor-centred methodology in tourism research.


Session Organizer

Leif SELSTAD, University of Stavanger, Norway,

Session in English

Festivals and special events attract both domestic and international tourists all over the world. A case in point is traditional festivals in Japan, that long have been attractive to tourists and sightseers, and provide a wide range of experiences, from onlookers to active participation by so-called ‘festival buffs’. Festivals take many forms, and it seems necessary to develop a more varied and multifaceted scholarly discourse on tourism directed at celebratory cultural events.

This session calls for papers that take a closer look at festivals and cultural tourism. One pertinent question may be to what extent tourists are able to understand and appreciate festivals and related cultural events, which may offer a bewildering diversity of impressions and expressions. Such experiences may be hard to comprehend even for practitioners, yet tourists often express an appreciation of the colour and pageantry of special cultural events.

A wider issue of relevance to this session is the need to assess and evaluate festivals and cultural events as a growing and developing part of today’s late modern tourism landscape. All papers dealing with these issues will be welcome.


Session Organizer

Mika TOYOTA, Rikkyo University, Japan,

Session in English


International medical tourism, namely people travelling across national borders in search of medical care, has been fast developing worldwide over the last decades. Sociology has, up to now, focused on the global economic inequalities that drive medical travel, for instance how medical tourism enables Western patients to take advantage of the low costs in medical care and other related services in developing countries, especially in Asia. This trend is in turn interpreted as resulting from neoliberalism, especially the privatization of medical care and the ascendance of the market globally. However, recent work in various disciplines has called attention to more nuanced social, political, cultural, emotional and moral dynamics shaping these international movements.

Papers at this panel, all based on field research and documentary analysis; shed light on new developments in medical tourism in Asia. First, all the articles, especially Toyota’s, point to a clear trend of regionalization in Asia. More and more countries target patients from the region instead of from the West. Second, there is a diversification of the content of medical tourism. The articles by Whittaker and by Ormond for instance discuss the co-existence of high-end and low-end medical ‘rotten trade’ in body parts and trafficking of people it can entail travel. Third, as Chee and Mariano detail in their articles, which are strongly corroborated by the others, the development of medical tourism is to a great extent driven by state policies, shaped by regulations and intermediaries, and is laden with moral concerns, instead of being dictated by single market logic.

The session comprises researchers from sociology as well as from neighbouring disciplines such as geography, anthropology and social policy. Paper contributors are based in five countries (Japan, Singapore, Australia, the Netherlands, and Malaysia), covering the empirical data from the Philippines, Thailand, Malaysia, Singapore, Taiwan and Japan.


Session Organizers

Ge RONGLING, Xiamen University, China,

Yujie ZHU, Heidelberg University, Germany,

Session in English

With an emphasis on East Asia, this session invites papers that examine the interplay of multiple actors shaping the forms and values of intangible heritage in World Heritage Site tourism. Topics we wish to explore include how do States adapt UNESCO Conventions on Intangible Heritage and World Heritage Sites to fulfil their national goals? How do scholars support local governments for nomination, documentation and conservation? How does local industry utilize the branding of “intangible heritage” and/or ”world heritage site” to satisfy the imaginaries of modern urban consumers? How do these notions shape local community value systems and identities?

We aim to explore the problems and solutions of intangible heritage in world heritage site tourism.


Session Organizers

Rami ISAAC, Breda University of Applied Sciences, Netherlands,

Erdinc CAKMAK, Breda University of Applied Sciences, Netherlands,

Session in English

Science has been depicted most often as an isolated phenomenon (Popper, 1963; Lakatos & Musgrave, 1970) that is driven forwards by internal mechanisms. Scientific progress has been imagined as a self-corrective development steered by an internal criterion like testability or falsifiability. In the last two decades this image has become more relative through the acceptance of external developments co-determinant for scientific development (Kuhn, 1965; Cohn, 2012). Yet, science is an embedded phenomenon that is always heavily influenced by the surrounding environment. This makes us sensitive to the political, economical, socio-cultural and technological influences on scientific developments. This, certainly, goes for the tourism field of social scientific research (Tribe, 2003).

In this session the focus will be on the various types of power constellations (Foucault, 1981; Latour, 2005) that have influenced the development of tourism knowledge from its initiation.

Possible themes include the origins of tourism studies, post-colonialism and tourism, political (in)stability and the (lack of) development of tourism knowledge, lingua franca, and inclusions/exclusion - silenced voices and inequality.


Session Organizer

Margaret SWAIN, University of California Davis, USA,

Session in English


Keynote speaker: Nelson GRABURN, University of California, Berkeley, USA

Drawing on decades of interaction with Japanese and Chinese colleagues, Nelson Graburn charts the rise of Tourism Studies in Japan and China and current issues now being addressed.


Session Organizer

Bente HEIMTUN, University of Tromsø, Norway,

Session in English

Over the last two decades gender analysis has become more important in tourism studies and has produced new gender aware concepts and insights into the lives of tourists, locals and employees. Gender and the holiday experience form part of a rich range of discourses and debates in social science, and within the interdisciplinary and multidisciplinary field of tourism. Here researchers draw on the disciplines of sociology, anthropology, geography and the interdisciplinary field of gender studies. In the last few years studies of differences within gender have been undertaken leading to more nuanced concepts and understanding of women’s holiday experiences over the life course. Moreover, there has also been an increased interest in understanding masculine tourism practices. For instance, such knowledge is found in studies on sex tourism and gay tourism as well as research on stag tourism and men’s backpacking experiences. In spite of this development much research the tourist experience has often remind ‘gender-blind’.

Papers are invited that focuses on the tourist experience and gender. Topics could include: gendered tourist experience performances which embrace tourists and other actors involved; male and female tourist experiences over the life course, gendered tourist experiences related to various types of tourism practices such as backpacking, package tour holidays, city breaks, adventure travels, sightseeing, outdoor recreation and so on.

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