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Annals of Tourism Research, Vol. 39, No. 1 pp.

441458, 2012 0160-7383/$ - see front matter 2011 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved. Printed in Great Britain



de ric Darbellay Fre Mathis Stock University Institute Kurt Bo sch (IUKB), Switzerland

Abstract: Tourism is currently a complex and globalised phenomenon with demonstrated socio-economic importance. While tourism is a socially recognised phenomenon, its status as scientic object within an academic eld seems to be still in question. We ask the following questions: What is the order of construction of the eld of knowledge constituted around tourism? Is it a paradigmatic order or an epistemic order? In what ways do the scientic objects specicities constitute an important element of understanding of a new episteme? How do different denitions of tourism allow for a reconstruction of the eld? This article seeks to summarise the current debate in the light of broader reconstructions of scientic discourse and reect from an interdisciplinary epistemological perspective. Keywords: tourism studies, paradigm, episteme, complexity, interdisciplinarity. 2011 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

INTRODUCTION Tourism studies emergence as a primary scientic eld has become evident through the emergence of specialised journals, university departments, and research centres. Tribe (1997) identies two distinct elds, labelled TF1 (The Business of Tourism) and TF2 (Non-Business related Tourism). There is ongoing discussion about tourism science, as a discipline or as a eld of study. Efforts can be traced back to the 40s, for example, Hunziker and Krapfs (1942) pioneering fremdenverkehrswissenschaft and the discussions since the 70s among German, English, and French speaking scholars about an emerging disciplinary eld or science around tourism (see, e.g., Freyer, 1991; Jovicic, 1975; Kaspar, 1975; Leiper, 1979). It is interesting to note the context of the development of contemporary science. Many postdisciplinary orderings of scientic objects developed since the 50s, with tourism studies (Coles, Hall, & Duval, 2006) as a specic case alongside

de ric Darbellay: (Centre de Recherche Interdisciplinaire sur le Tourisme, Institut Fre Universitaire Kurt Bo sch, Chemin de lInstitut, 1950 Sion, Switzerland. Email <>). Mathis Stock: Centre de Recherche Interdisciplinaire sur le Tourisme, Institut Universitaire Kurt Bo sch, Chemin de lInstitut, 1950 Sion, Switzerland. Email <>. 441


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computer science, communication studies, gender studies, cultural studies, post-colonial studies, and so on; these are now well-established elds. Following the discussion about disciplines, indisciplines, paradigms, and networks (Leiper, 2000; Ren, Pritchard, & Morgan, 2010; Tribe, 1997; Tribe, 2010), this article reects on tourisms challenging character for social science, and the conditions of translating the disciplinary achievements as well as conceptual and methodological tools into an interdisciplinary approach to tourism. We do not seek to operationalise interdisciplinarity into practical problems, but to provide a reection on the implications of tourisms complexity on scientic work coordinated between different disciplines. The problem of the denition of the research object seems crucial, and two issues can be detected. The rst is the problem of scientic selforganisation related to existing denitions of tourism. Our working hypothesis is the following: if tourism is seen as a self-organised, autonomous, and delineated system (Cornelissen, 2005; Leiper, 1979), then a eld of study or even a discipline called tourism studies or tourismology is a possibility. Yet, if tourism is seen as a mere relationship to the worlda relationship theorised in social sciences as gaze (Foucault, 1969; Urry, 1990), intentionality or form of life (Schu tz, 1981), or engagement regime (Thevenot, 2001)then it makes no sense to discuss the existence of a eld, owing to the implication that touristic dimensions occur as actors engage this specic relationship to the world. No subject limits per se can be detected. This is exemplied by many anthropological studies, in which tourism itself is not analysed as a topic, but societies and how they deal with tourism. What is therefore at stake is tourism as a means or a perspective to investigate various societal problems, rather than as a research topic in itself. A second problem is the interdisciplinary approach to tourism, which is a result of disciplinary approaches recognising difculties of deriving satisfactory descriptions, explanations, and understandings of tourism. Indeed, each disciplines limitations are better understood now, compared to the disciplinary-based tourism studies in the 50s to 70s. Since the discussion about the tourism studies eld and the disciplinary problem, we have now evidence that a disciplinary ordering is not the only possible path (Leiper, 1981; Kadri & Be dard, 2006; Ceriani et al., 2008). Yet, while existing narratives on the elds emergence focus on the 60s and 70s as an important moment, there is a body of work prior to the 50s that addresses tourism as a multidisciplinary problem. Based on publications outside of the small circle of Anglo-American contributions, we intend to show that tourism studies have a deeper and more complex history than is generally assumed. The diversity of disciplinary backgrounds and traditions isfor exampleclearly demonstrated by the work of the multidisciplinary experts in the tourism studies eld gathered in an edited volume on the origins and developments of the sociology of tourism (Dann & Liebman Parrinello, 2009), which is anchored beyond the English-speaking world in many European countries (Germany and France, but also Poland, Yugoslavia, the Netherlands, Scandinavia, Spain, Italy, and Greece). In this

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historical perspective, we must consider that the denition of tourism is multifaceted, multinational, and makes sense at the intersection of these traditions. This article seeks to summarise the current debate in the light of broader reconstructions of scientic discourse and reect from an interdisciplinary epistemological perspective. We ask the following questions: What is the order of construction of the eld of knowledge constituted around tourism? Is it a paradigmatic order or an epistemic order? In what ways do the scientic objects specicities constitute an important element of understanding of a new episteme? How do different denitions of tourism allow for a reconstruction of the eld?

TOURISM: A SPECIFIC COMPLEXITY Tourism can be seen as a scientic object with specic, distinct qualities that produces a specic complexity, different from other research topics. This is due less to the different attempts to dene tourism which, interestingly, are both similar at its core and differ signicantly in terms of delineationthan to the heterogeneity of actors of what could be termed the touristic eld. One can identify and dene several key elements of tourism.

Towards a Relational Denition of Tourism If we try to analyse some key elements of tourism, it is useful to consider some of the most important denitions provided during by scholars during the 20th century. Notably, for Hunziker and Krapf (1942, p. 21), tourism is the relationships and phenomena that stem from the sojourn of strangers to a place (Ortsfremder), if through the sojourn no establishment for paid work is founded. This denition has had a broad impact in the German-speaking world, since this notion of tourism is contained in many textbooks (see Bieger, 2006; Kaspar, 1995; Krippendorf & Mu ller, 1994) as well as the International Association of Scientic Experts in Tourism (AIEST) since its foundation in 1951 ( The idea of a systempredominant in 70s discourses throughout all disciplines, including biology, particularly due to general systems theory (Bertalanffy, 1968)has led several authors to speak of tourism as a system or even a tourism system. Leiper (1979), whose work is a good example of this, denes tourism as a system of ve elements: tourists, three geographical elements (generating region, transit route, and destination region), and a tourist industry. Yet, we question the conceptual t between system and tourism. Does tourism have the qualities generally accorded to systems, i.e. autonomy, self-organisation, teleology, limits to an environment, and functional closure? Potts (2007) recent contribution, from a Luhmann-inspired system theoretical perspective, allows one to further question this research object. He concludes that tourism is not a social system like law or economics,


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owing to a lack of coherence, self-organisation, and organisational limits from an identied environment. It is possible to provide a relational account of the problem of dening tourism and of dening tourism as a specic relationship to the world. MacCannells (1976) idea of the touristic as a relationship of semiotic quality between a marker, an attraction, and the tourist is an important milestone in this respect. The notion of tourist gaze (Urry, 1990) attempts to clarify this touristic attitude: it denes a specic way of looking at places, focussing therefore on the visual perception. MacCannell (2001) criticised this reduction to visual perception. Acknowledging these criticisms, we go further by dening tourist gaze not as visual perception, but as a specic encoding of practices, applying an attitude or a mode of engagement that is touristically informed. Bourdieu (1965, p. 59) call this specic relationship the touristic attitude (posture touristique), and dened it as follows: To adopt what could be named the touristic attitude is to distance oneself from the relationship of inattentive familiarity with the quotidian world, which is the indistinct background from which to isolate the forms of quotidian preoccupations. Building on these insights, we can dene the touristic, or societys touristic dimensions, as a relationship to people, objects, practices, and self in which re-creation occurs (i.e. practices of controlled de-controlling of self-control in the sense of Elias and Dunning (1986)), which is combined with bodily dis-placement and inhabiting a place of otherness (Equipe MIT, 2002; Knafou & Stock, 2003). Therefore the touristic bears the relation to a other place and to otherness as a central problem, combined with the playful decoding and encoding of practices. Therefore, tourists inhabit places differently to residents. The enactment of this specic relationship is enabled by assembling multiple elements, such as technology, markets, actors, codes, norms, and values. This denitionas a specic relationship to the world enacted through mobility and recreationwill help us understand the specic complexity of this assemblage and relationship. The Constituents of Tourisms Specic Complexity in Contemporary Human Societies How does this scientic objects complexity necessitate complexityladen observation? This is why we seek to clarify tourisms key elements as a complex assemblage. Tourism as a relationship to the world constructs a specic enactment in order to exist. Therefore, its specic complexity arises through the following elements, which we will explore here: the heterogeneity of actors, the multilocality and translocal relationships, the globalisation of practices, places, governance, the extreme diversity of practices, the recreational turn from distinction to infusion and, nally, civilisation processes. Heterogeneity of Actors. Because tourism is not primarily an economic activity but a relationship, we have multiple actors with differing

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interests. Hotel manager, transport, restaurants, tour operator, local communities, tourist ofces, organised at different scales, are uncoordinated and create cacophonic voices in tourism. One striking example is the denition of tourism by the World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO), in which every type of border crossing for more than 24 hours is seen as tourism, even working (if not under local contract!); another denition includes business tourism and medical tourism, in which the roles of transport, restaurants, and hotels are clear, but the roles of sightseeing or playing are unclear. This heterogeneity of actors is one mode of tourisms complexity, where the actors interests and competences are not necessarily led by tourism, but by the distinct aspects of accommodation, restaurant, transport, destination image, etc. Multilocality and Translocal Relationships. Tourists create relationships between places through bodily dis-placement from one place to another. These associations of practices and places create new spatial relationships: centre (urban centres of the developed world) and periphery (the touristied margins)are interdependent in a specic way; wealth circulates, while images and identities are reshaped through tourisms ethnoscapes (Appadurai, 1996). The emergence of a new tourism-informed oecumene through the domestication of formerly non-inhabited space (high mountains, shores, deserts, Antarctica, national parks, etc.) is one of tourisms spatial dimensions. This spatial complexity, with highly differentiated tourist placescities, resorts, sites, parks, an important element that denes tourisms specic complexity. Globalisation. Tourism has developed from an exceptional, elite practice to industry-driven mass tourism that covers the whole oecumene. Globalisation has meant both the emergence of tourist places all over the world and access to tourist practices for formerly economically underdeveloped societies, such as India and China. The touristication of places, societies, people, and economies has enabled tourism to become a producer of globalisation; on the other hand, the globalisation of rms, people, and nance fosters tourism. It transforms tourism into a globalising and globalised object. For example, multilevel governance is at stake (Mayntz, 2007)powerful actors such as the World Bank, the United Nations Educational, Scientic and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO), and the World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO) dene nancial effects and cultural values for tourism. A contradictory ideology of tourism as a positive enabler of economic development and a negatively rated so-called acculturation is enacted. Thus, tourisms specic complexity also lies in a specic touristic globalisation, in which the ow of capital and images dene a global eld of tourism. Extreme Diversity of Practices. There is a large spectre of practices performed by tourists while on tour: every kind of placecountryside, seaside, mountain, desert, resort, city, site, metropolis, etc.every kind of intentionality (discover, play, relax) and every kind of practice (skiing,


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drinking wine, golng, surng, playing music, trekking, visiting etc.). While so-called mass tourism is massive only to its numbers, it is not one standardised product (Cuvelier, 1998). Instead, special interest tourism has grown and has rendered the formerly less complex assemblage of tourism in standardised practices more complex. A Recreational Turn. Touristic dimensions infuse practices and products of everyday life and are no longer contained to the extra-quotidian lifeworld (Lussault, 2007). Lussault (2007) sustains the thesis of tourism as a common genre of the different elements of the social world. It means that the model of a distinction between a temporal, spatial, and emotional exceptions to the everyday is no longer adequate. Tourism is seen as a common horizon of the extra-quotidian, an element of the everyday. Thus the touristic infusion of different elements has become pervasive: urban development, city image, values of places, products, etc. are all associated with touristic values. This turn towards the touristic has resulted in more complex relationships. Concerning European cities, Stock (2007, p. 122) writes: The recreational turn is dened here as four interrelated processes: (1) the presence of tourists in urban places; (2) the desire, by local authorities or enterprises, to have tourists in their territory; (3) rejection of tourism (i.e. a negative attitude towards tourism; and (4) a general interpretation schemea gaze in the Foucaultian sensebased on tourism, with which to interpret the world. Civilisation. Tourism as a relationship that articulates recreation and alterity/otherness is a specic mode of self-directed and other-directed control of individuals. This happens in contradictory ways that are differently enacted in various tourist practices. On the one hand, there is selfcontrol that avoids violence towards other individuals. On the other hand, there is a temporary loss of self-control and a quest for excitement (Elias & Dunning, 1986) through re-creation, leading to binge drinking, orgiastic sex, drugs, etc. Therefore, tourism is an important element of individual development because a specic balance between losing and keeping self-control of emotions. In this respect, the question of identication is also raised by tourism: the touristic relationship to the world is driven not only by the recognition of otherness and the difculty of dealing with otherness, but also by various identication processes of tourists with the other. Practices and products that focussing on the others experience of way of life are omnipresent in souvenirs, and photographs of sh markets in Tokyo, Hamburg, or Paris, for example. Other examples are gay tourists, where tourist practices help build sexual identity (Jaurand & Leroy, 2010) or relationships in a family reproducing or modifying a familys relationships while on holiday. This probing into some constituents of tourism makes it clear that the idea of a system or an autonomous topic does not t. Tourism appears as a phenomenon research that which is present in or with all the socially constituent elements we can think of: nature, food, transport, imaginary, images, places, cities, rms, communities, computer systems, and so

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on. It congures those elements in a specic way. This corresponds to Mauss conception of a fait social total, a phenomenon mobilising all or a great number of social institutions. Mauss (1960, p. 274) denes the total social fact as phenomenon at once legal, economical, religious, even aesthetic and morphological. Therefore, they are more than themes, more than elements, more than complex institutions (1960, p. 274). Furthermore, the concept of tourism used in the social sciences could also be seen as specic kind of concept. Following Cassirers (1929) distinction between a substantial and relational concept, the concept tourism corresponds to a specic kind of concepts that expresses a relationshiprather than a substancecalled tourism. Indeed, the latter is enacted in different societal spheres, be it the spatial, social, economic, political, cultural, legal, individual, and ecological. Owing to the specic arrangement of elements (i.e. different from those found in sports, education, the military, etc.), tourism has a specic complexity. Tourism, through its global interdependencies, the heterogeneity of actors at different organisational levels, its local embeddings, and its specic historicity and development, therefore appears as a scientic object of specic complexity. Tourism illustrates the idea of a fabric (complexus: which is woven together) of heterogeneous constituents, inseparably associated (Morin, 1990, p. 21). Tourism is confronted by the two aspects of complexity described by Morin (1999, p. 8): The rst is the problem of the phenomenons globality, i.e. the more and more important, deep and problematic inadequacy between on the one hand a fragmented knowledge in disjunctive elements, separated in disciplines, and, on the other, multidimensional, global, transnational, planetary realities and more and more transversal, multidisciplinary, even transdisciplinary problems. The second is the problem of inadequacy of the mode of knowledge that teaches us to separate (the objects of their environment, the disciplines one from another) and not to articulate things that are yet tied together (Morin, 1999, p. 8). This might be one reason for the highly differentiated eld of tourism studies, characterised by multidisciplinary approaches and delimitations. THE EMERGENCE OF TOURISM STUDIES: PARADIGM OR EPISTEME? We now turn to the place devoted to tourism in scholarship: How have the scientic observers organised their gaze on the topic? Is it a paradigmatic form of organisation or an epistemic one? If we take tourisms complexity seriously, are there arguments in favour and against a paradigmatisation of tourism studies, i.e. the development of a disciplinary matrix that encloses a eld of thought (Kuhn, 1962)? We posit the hypothesis that tourism has been subject to a non-paradigmatic convergence that has reorganised both disciplinary knowledge and the emergence of a eld called tourism studies. This is congruent with the idea of a post-disciplinary and indisciplined arrangement (Tribe, 2000, 2010) as well as of the network of fractional coherence (Ren et al., 2010).


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Paradigm is used here in a way that follows one of the many meanings in Kuhns (1962) seminal text: disciplinary matrix. It means an ensemble of principles and methods shared by a specic scientic community. The concept of paradigm is therefore related to disciplinarity and standardisation of by a self-organised scientic community that delineates a eld of interest. Our working hypothesis is as follows: the concept of paradigm, since it is related to disciplinarity and standardisation of knowledge, does not allow to describe the dynamics of interdisciplinary knowledge in the relatively complex and heterogeneous domain of tourism studies. By contrast, epistemefollowing Foucault (1969), Foucault (1994)refers to a eld of formation and transformation of knowledge that cannot be reduced to an accumulation or a simple stage of the different bodies of knowledge at any moment of scientic development. It takes into account the gap, distances, oppositions, differences, relations (Foucault, 1994, p. 676) articulated between the multiple scientic discourses: its an open and indenitely relationally constructed eld (Foucault, 1994, p. 676). One can say that knowledge as a eld of historicity where sciences emerge, is free of any constituent activity, free of any reference to origin or a historicaltranscendantal teleology, detached of any support of founding subjectivity (Foucault, 1994, p. 731). By mobilising these notions, we can distinguish three moments of the scientic approach of tourism: (1) a holistic approach to tourism as a system, (2) a disciplinary fragmentation and specialisation, with the emergence of tourism geography as well as tourism economics, psychology, and anthropology since the 70s, and (3) a more recent interdisciplinary fertilisation between 1995 and 2000. Holistic Innovation Since the beginnings of the discovery of tourism for scientic observation, there have been difculties with dealing adequately with the research object and the development of disciplines. Yet, there have been interesting beginnings, where tourism is seen as a wholeinterdependent with many elements of the then industrial societies. The most striking contribution is made by Hunziker and Krapf (1942) and Hunziker (1943), who attempt to build a eld of tourism studies in which tourism is related to several societal issues. By putting the tourist in the centre, they establish that there is no economic prevalence of the phenomenon. In fact, they see tourism as a cultural problem and relate it to issues of health, technology, culture, social problems, policy, and economics. Their denition of tourism as a relationship enacted by the local encounter between tourists and place relates tourism to the various dimensions of human societies. It develops a wissenschaiche Fremdenverkehrslehre, that is, for the rst time, an attempt at a theoryladen observation of tourism (Spode, 1993, 1998a, 1998b, 2010). Prior to 1950, there were attempts to build a eld of tourism studies (Fremdenverkehrskunde) in several publications. Hunziker and Krapf (1942) point out the problems of a holistic approach. Nevertheless,

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these holistic approaches lacked sound empirical and theoretical substance; this would follow later. At the same time, the institutionalisation of research on tourism was triggered in the 20s with attempts by Glu cksmann (in Du sseldorf and Berlin), who established the Archiv fu r Fremdenverkehr in 1929 in Berlin, only to be halted ve years later by the Nazi regime (see Spode, 1993). Vienna and its Wiener Institut fu r Fremdenverkehr followed in 1934, Bern with Forschungsinstitut fu r Fremdenverkehr, while Sankt Gallen followed in 1941 with Seminar fu r Fremdenverkehr (see Spode, 1993, 1998). After World War II, the Deutsches Wirtschaftswissenschaftliches Institut fu r Fremdenverkehr e.V. in Munich in 1950 was another milestone. A holistic approach to tourism guided these attempts; tourism was seen as a whole that was not reducible to disciplinary approaches. However, the attempt to create a new discipline called tourism science (Fremdenverkehrswissenschaft) based on these theoretical underpinnings has been unsuccessful (Spode, 2010). One of the reasons has been the development of an applied science of tourism, rooted in business schools and the German equivalent of polytechnics (Fachhochschulen) (Spode, 1998). As Spode (1998) notes, the development of a theory-laden, paradigmatic organisation of the scientic knowledge on tourism has been blocked by this business-driven organisation. Disciplinary Fragmentation A second moment of scientic approaches to tourism can be identied. Tourism is constructed as a scientic object for fragmented disciplines with disjunctive dimensions: its historical, spatial, economical, cultural, social, political dimensions are treated in a splendid isolation from one another by the various disciplines. This period is identied by Spode (1998) in the German-speaking world as specialisation; some say this lasted from 1940 to 1970, while others say this endures to this day. Scientic work is done without engaging the different points of convergence or interactions between disciplinary constructed knowledge. A lack of interdisciplinary bibliographical cross-referencing is evident. As an example, in the textbooks of tourism geography between 1970 and 2000, only a handful of references refer beyond the discipline. The cognitive base is closed to disciplinary knowledge. This movement is consistent with disciplinary logic, in which researchers are disciplined into a paradigm by a community of researchers. Indeed, every discipline constructs itself as delineated: it accepts its limits. It recognises itself as local and partial (Schlanger, 1992, p. 292). Every discipline delineates a specic area of a global knowledge and denes a certain perspective, different from another disciplines perspective. Therefore, the discipline circumscribes and relinquishes (Schlanger, 1992, p. 292). This renouncement of other points of view helps one to concentrate on disciplinary achievements. Such dissociation has an atomising effect on the scientic object called tourism following a disciplinary logic, and reduces tourisms inherent complexity. Hence, the tourisms dimensional unity cannot be con-


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ceived otherwise than by excluding or occulting the diversity and vice versa (Morin & Piattelli-Palmarini, 1983, p. 194). What is therefore at stake is the integration of different disciplines in order to think the specic complexity of tourism. A disciplinary mode of investigation has developed around the research object tourism since the 50s. Tourism geography, tourism sociology, tourism anthropology, and tourism economics have emerged as fairly independent disciplinary perspectives. Each discipline develops its own theoretical perspectives as well as conceptual and methodological tools. Within each discipline, tourism as a research topic encounters much opposition, owing to an alleged lack of seriousness. In the 30s, the rst disciplinary engagement as tourism geography appeared in France, Great Britain, and Germany via the work of Mie ` ge (1934), Gilbert (1939), and Poser (1939), that can be considered as ground-breaking. At the same time, the economic perspective is dominant (Ogilvie, 1933; Senn, 1918), which leads to tourism economics. Surprisingly, the sociological and anthropological perspectives are absent, with the exception of Wiese (1929) and Knebel (1960). Historical approaches can be detected from the late 40s, with Pimlotts (1947) account for England and Hunziker and Krapfs (1941) account for Switzerland. From the 50s, the disciplinary perspective gains momentum and several Ph.D. dissertations, articles, and monographs appear in geography, economics, sociology; anthropology only begins to engage with the problem in the 70s. The 70s therefore represent a key moment, with tourism both strengthening the disciplinary equipment and (re)emerging as an topic for discussion as a eld. The case of tourism geography is interesting. At the very moment tourism constitutes itself as a recognised sub-eld within geography in the 70s, the process of the scientic objects autonomisation and thus the interrelationships with other disciplinesoccurs, leading to the a domain called tourism studies. We can conclude that disciplinarisation and autonomisation of the topic occur simultaneously. An Episteme for an Interdisciplinary Approach to Tourism These intertwining disciplinary and non-disciplinary developments around the tourism phenomenon allows for an approach to tourism studies as episteme. The scientic observation focuses on the touristic in many varied research objects. At the same time, disciplines take into account other disciplines framework or methodologies, translating them into their own problematisation. These practices have led to both a hybridization of disciplinary knowledgefor example, Urrys (1990) notion of tourist gaze is widely cited through many disciplinesand a shared interdisciplinary knowledge of some elements of tourism, although the approaches differ. Tourism studies currently comprise a heterogeneous conguration of institutions, networks, actors, and academic territories (Tribe, 2004, 2010). The university departments around tourism studies oscillate between business education and scientic research. We can therefore conclude in favour of a

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multidisciplinary organisation of institutions and knowledge constructed around tourism. This is a non-paradigmatic organisation, in which different epistemological styles are mobilised. These epistemological styles vary and give rise to an extreme heterogeneity of the eld, as a result of four aspects: the disciplinary distinction, the methodology, the difference between business and theory, and the denition of tourism. First, the different disciplines do not construct tourism identically. For instance, tourism is seen as a spatial problemplaces, place practices, spatial arrangements, and qualities of space (resorts, cities, etc.)for geography, as a social problemfor instance social position of tourists and effects on local societiesfor sociology, as a problem of governance, policies and politics for political science, and for economics as pricing and allocation of nancial resources as well as monetary effects. Second, the methodology-driven differentiation of the eld is based on the qualitative-quantitative distinction, the difference between case studies and econometric studies, and the opposition between grounded theory and the hypothetical-deductive style of scientic investigation. This leads to what Echtner and Jamal (1997, p. 879) call the disciplinary dilemma they state that an evolution of tourism towards increased credibility as a eld of study and towards disciplinary status include: holistic, integrated research; the generation of a theoretical body of knowledge; an inter-disciplinary focus; clearly explicated theory and methodology; and the application of qualitative and quantitative methods, positivist and non-positivist traditions. Third, the eld is also informed by the distinction between an application-driven body of knowledge without theoretical ambitions and the scientic ethos (Spode, 1998c). Spode (1998c) shows how the instrumental vs. the reexive use and of theories as well as serious vs. playful commitments are key differences between the two. Furthermore, the questions arise due to practical problems, rather than deriving from macro-theory. For instance, using the World Tourism Organisation definition of tourism as a basis for producing scientic knowledge and data, without critical distance towards its content, is a typical stance in applied science. Yet, from a scientic perspective, World Tourism Organisation develops a specic kind of emic knowledge for scientists to analyse, rather than take for granted. Finally, tourism is a scientic object constructed on similar bases by various disciplines, but that produces different imaginations of its content. Tourism as a system, as a practice, as an economic sector or an economic activity, as a gaze, or as an intentionality rely on different, incommensurable denitional referents. This difference between the word (signier)tourismand the meaning (signied)tourism as practice, tourism as system, tourism as mobility, etc.constitutes a differentiating element of the episteme. As Ren et al. (2010, p. 890) note, the body of tourism research can be addressed as a strongly divided eld of research, a viewpoint which is responded to and felt by many of its scholars. However, it may also be conceptualised as a network of fractional coherence, in which standards, compromises and intellectual innovations are locally negotiated and in which highly


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diverse knowledge and ways of knowing are assembled and enacted. This is also apparent in the contributions of Coles et al. (2006), which describe post-disciplinary arrangements of tourism. Therefore, the knowledge on tourism can be framed as an episteme, where difference, distances, oppositions, relations (Foucault, 1994, p. 731) exist between the different disciplines. It constitutes a dialogue of specialised knowledge, but is subject to new epistemological obstacles. Indeed, the juxtaposition of multiple disciplines raises the question of the possibility of cumulative knowledge and the dialogue between the heterogeneous discourses on tourism. PROBLEMS OF INTERDISCIPLINARY APPROACHES TO TOURISM There have been ongoing calls for an interdisciplinary approach to tourism since the 70s. Leiper (1981), Leiper (2000) makes a plea for an interdisciplinary framework, based on working between the disciplines, blending various philosophies and techniques so that the particular disciplines do not stand apart but are brought together intentionally and explicitly to seek a synthesis (Leiper 1981, p. 72, original emphasis). Leiper (1981) holds that a general theory of tourism should be built so as to better understand the empirical phenomena and to achieve a new disciplinecalled tourologyby means of interdisciplinary synthesis. Yet, to date, tourism has been studied within a multidisciplinary and not an interdisciplinary eld, since the research object is decomposed into multiples dimensions and perspectives, yet juxtaposed without interaction. This dispositif of multiplicity encounters standardisation and institutionalisation of teaching and research practices, owing to the addition of closed disciplinary-shaped paradigms (Fourez, 2002; Karpinsky & Samson, 1973). Bearing in mind our denition of tourism as a relationship to the world that allows people to encode/decode the different elements of reality in specic ways, i.e. by approaching all the elements encountered as re-creation plus otherness, it is not possible to follow these authors in their proposal of a new discipline called tourism studies. It is nevertheless necessary to explore the advantages and limits of interdisciplinary theoretical frameworks, methodologies, and research techniques in order to understand how societys touristic dimensions are constructed and reconstructedat the level of the industry, the practices, the places, the governance as well as the politics and policies. How these interdisciplinary approaches could be explored in order to work on the different elements of societys touristic dimensions? What are the epistemological obstacles and what are the advantages of such perspectives? What is Interdisciplinarity? If we try to thoroughly analyse the quality of interdisciplinary research on tourism, we must dene interdisciplinarity, and then

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analyse the way tourism ts into this scheme. Following the insights of Thompson Klein (1990), Perrig-Chiello and Darbellay (2002), and Repko (2008) on interdisciplinary research, we dene the interdisciplinary approach as a process of mobilising different institutionalised disciplines through dynamic interaction in order to describe, analyse, and understand tourisms complexity. Yet, we distinguish multidisciplinary, interdisciplinary and transdisciplinary approaches. Here, we concentrate on the multidisciplinary and interdisciplinary approaches. In a multidisciplinary approach, a topic or a theoretical and/or practical problem is dealt with on the basis of two or more disciplinary separate points of view, without any interaction between them. This conrms the institutionalisation and standardisation of teaching and research practices that are socially and historically situated and governed by scientic paradigms. It reects the traditional juxtaposition of several institutional communities of experts, organised in faculties, departments, sub-elds, and laboratories in relative autonomy. Interdisciplinary approaches involve two or more disciplines in dynamic interaction in order to describe, analyse, and understand the complexity of a phenomenon. It considers a research topic not only from one perspective, but from the perspectives of several disciplines. Beyond merely juxtaposing disciplinary perspectives, it implements collaboration and integration between disciplines around a common purpose; it involves knowledge co-production. The process of dialogue between disciplines mobilises their expertise and tools, while retaining an openness to other disciplines. Complex and emergent knowledge is co-constructed by means of an interdisciplinary process on the basis of existing skills, while being irreducible to any one specic discipline. Cooperation and skills integration can take place at different levels of interaction: through the borrowing of another scientic elds concepts or the transfer of concepts and methods of one scientic eld to another. Furthermore, the mechanisms of hybridisation between disciplines can create new research elds. Tourism as a Research Object of Interdisciplinary Research Interdisciplinary research on tourism can be dened as the organisation of an interface between different disciplines and bodies of knowledge in order to analyse the manifestations and the existing complexities of societys touristic dimensions. The different disciplinary approaches are therefore seen as complementary. Interdisciplinary research involves organised coordination within a research process. We can distinguish three important features of interdisciplinary research on tourism. First, interdisciplinary work corresponds to a mediation space coconstituted through interaction between different knowledge domains (Duchastel & Laberge, 1999). The interactions between different perspectives are essential in order to organise knowledge production. The problems and question raised are situated literally


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between (inter) the disciplines and cannot be solved by a disciplinary perspective. The interdisciplinary approach to tourism therefore goes beyond the juxtaposition of disciplines and organises the collaboration of disciplinary knowledge. Tourism can be conceived of as a common scientic object within a perspective of co-production of knowledge. The dialogue between disciplines is based on the mobilisation of their specic competences and tools, but also on the of the perspectives of the other disciplines. Tourism as a complex object is co-constructed within this interdisciplinary process on the basis of existing disciplinary competences. Therefore, the knowledge produced is not reducible to the disciplinary perspectives, but has a new quality. It creates new concepts by assembling the different disciplinary elements. Second, the interdisciplinary mode of research consists of capitalising on the different disciplinary bodies of knowledge in order to more adequately understand tourism. The knowledge produced within the traditional disciplines is an important input for discussion. Connecting the different bodies of knowledge is at stake: as Morin (1999) notes, connecting bodies of knowledge that are separated in order to analyse the complexity of tourisms manifestations. Geographical, sociological, and economic approaches to tourism propose specic competences. Yet, conicts about best practices between scientists develop because of different epistemological backgrounds, different scientic aims, and different theoretical, conceptual, and methodological toolboxes, which make different selections when observing the empirical world. For instance, how does an ethnographic description of tourist practices can be confronted to econometric models of tourist spending? This complementarity leads to contradictions and conicts in discussions about a coherent, consistent, and adequate description and explanation of touristic phenomena. Especially the self-protection due to disciplinary closures leads to struggles for inuence, as noted by Karpinsky and Samson (1973, p. 17): The disciplines have conserved a no trespassing attitude that stems from the traditional division of knowledge. The disciplines have begun to struggle for their inuence rather than establish links between them. Those struggles for inuence have come into being with the institutionalisation of the disciplines and raised problems related to their different conceptual approaches, i.e. problems of data, of theory and of methodology. Third, interdisciplinarity is a process of hybridization through nomadism, i.e. the circulation of concepts and practices. This is another reason why tourism studies can neither be a paradigm nor an autonomous eld of study (Lehre, etudes, studies) nor a unied science (Wissenschaft, science) as tourismology: as a research object, which multiple relationships with other elements of society, it gives the illusion of the possibility of an integrated eld. The construction of a common vocabulary, despite the limitations of the different disciplinary perspectives, is one of interdisciplinary works key issues. It is an open question whether it is possible to integrate the political sciences governance and institutional resource regime, geographys centrality, anthropol-

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ogys culture, economics capital investment, sociologys distinction, marketings image etc. in one coherent description and explanation of tourism (Stock, Clivaz, Crevoisier, Darbellay, & Nahrath, 2011). CONCLUSION Tourism represents a scientic object that permits a privileged perspective on human societies and constitutes a certain vantage point. This focus on a specic dimension of societythe touristic manifestations of societyimplies the arrangement of disciplinary knowledge in a specic way because the different dimensions of society (e.g., the political, social, economic, spatial, temporal, and cultural dimensions) are arranged specically. The disciplines embodying such knowledge (e.g., geography, sociology, anthropology, economics, and political science) must therefore all be mobilised when approaching societys touristic dimensions. This is why an interdisciplinary approach ts with the cognitive project and the complex object. The interdisciplinary approach articulates the double movement of disciplinary specialisation and the awareness of an autonomous logic of the touristic that has been emerging within tourism studies. The pervasive manifestation of tourism in society calls for an analysis of its modes of existence within the various elements. Interdisciplinary movements within tourism are neither an ideological discourse (Palmade, 1977), nor a new meta-science of tourism that proposes an epistemological panacea to heal all the pains affecting the scientic conscience of our time (Gusdorf, 1983, p. 31). It creates opportunities for the researcher by affording him some autonomy against the existing disciplines. Tourism is a case of the process of empowerment against the traditional disciplines since the 50s resulting from by organising research around a theme or a research topic. This development is consistent with the historical development of knowledge as a specialisation arranged around newly discovered research topics. As Gusdorf (1983, p. 33) notes: The interdisciplinary project delineates from epoch to epoch one of the great axes of the history of knowledge. The progression of knowledge is realised through specialisation, the search for unity triggers the desire of a regrouping which would help to the intolerable crumbling of domains of knowledge and of researchers. Yet, it does not follow from the adequacy of an interdisciplinary approach that there must somehow be a tourism science or even a eld of studies that needs unied textbooks. No paradigmatic organisation of the knowledge on tourism is necessary. Instead, there can be imagined a network of actors and actants (researchers, models, approaches, concepts, institutions, etc.) arranged around a research object whose manifestations exist in every element of contemporary society. The organisation of tourism as episteme leads to a specic cognitive project in which the touristic dimensions of society, not tourism as an autonomous system, is at the core of interdisciplinary approaches.


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AcknowledgmentThe authors acknowledge the funding by the Swiss Federal Science Foundation (SNF), Grant No. 135390 for the project Between abyss and metamorphosis. An interdisciplinary approach of the development of tourist resorts .

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