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The Irreducible Ethics in Reflexivity: Rethinking Reflexivity in Conducting Ethnography in Shangri-La, Southwest China
Umeå University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Geography and Economic History.
2017 (English)In: Tourism, Culture & Communication, ISSN 1098-304X, E-ISSN 1943-4146, Vol. 17, no 1, p. 19-30Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Because this research started in Shangri-La County in Diqing Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture in Southwest China, I have had different people in different occasions ask me similar questions: Are you a Han or a Tibetan? Why do you want to do research in Shangri-La? These are indeed common questions to start with if one is studying a place and people that are different from one's own "origins." However, if we take such questions seriously and look deeper, we can see that they are not only posed on the condition of knowledge or assumptions, but also posed as a concern and sometimes curiosity on how the researcher may reflect upon her research as a political action and deal with relations with other people, especially in a situation that research seems to be institutionalized and the researcher appears to have more influence and power. In this article, I attempt to look into the contents and contexts of the recent "reflexive calls" in tourism studies and social research in general. Through critically questioning what "reflexivity" is and what context it has been applied, I argue that both the researcher and the researched subjects are a mixture of "selves," and they both go through the process of interpreting information and thus always attempt to negotiate with their surroundings. Therefore, I argue that we must rethink the current normalized ideas of "reflexivity" in social research, to examine/self-examine the researcher's intention or actual capacity to practice "reflexivity." Hence, the ethical way for me to follow in this research is to not claim myself being "reflexive," rather to act on it.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2017. Vol. 17, no 1, p. 19-30
Keywords [en]
critical tourism studies, ethical practice, ethnography, indigenous community, self-reflexivity, shangri-la
National Category
Human Geography
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-142737DOI: 10.3727/109830417X14837314056816Local ID: 881251OAI: oai:DiVA.org:umu-142737DiVA, id: diva2:1164124
Available from: 2017-12-10 Created: 2017-12-10 Last updated: 2019-02-15Bibliographically approved

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Zhang, Jundan

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