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How could we be non-Western?: Some ontological and epistemological ponderings on Chinese tourism research
Umeå University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Geography and Economic History.
2018 (English)In: Asian qualitative research in tourism / [ed] Paolo Mura & Catheryn Khoo-Lattimore, Singapore: Springer, 2018, p. 117-136Chapter in book (Refereed)
Abstract [en]

Qualitative research in tourism studies has achieved significant popularity and has encouraged researchers to scrutinize their own ontological and epistemological concerns in their decisions on choosing how to go about their research projects and the research ethics they will adopt (Phillimore and Goodson 2004; Tribe et al. 2015; Wilson and Hollinshead 2015). One could say that the critical shifts in theories and methodologies in tourism studies are nurtured mostly through qualitative research, for such qualitative research aims to challenge the positivist paradigm which tends to take things for granted (Phillimore and Goodson 2004). Emerging from calls for non-positivist methodologies are the recent calls also for non-Western ontologies and epistemologies, aiming not only to provide alternative perspectives (other than the Eurocentric perspectives) in understanding tourism worldmaking but also to accommodate the "new tourists" from non-Western regions, in particular, Asia and China.

In this chapter, I attempt to problematize calls for alternative discourses in tourism studies, prompted by a concern from Chinese tourism researchers, especially those working outside of China, that is, "how to be non-Western and do non-Western research?" I argue that every Asian researcher who is interested in contributing to global knowledge would inevitably come to the questions of who we are as Asian researchers and what can we offer. To consider these questions critically, we need inwardly directed critique. Currently, there are two approaches regarding these questions: a decolonizing approach and a postcolonial approach. With some inwardly directed critique of my own, I argue that the decolonizing approach may risk further essentializing the binaries of the colonizer/colonized and the local/global, which are still within the discourse of imperialism. Looking at Chinese tourism studies and how these are positioned in the global scene, I have shown an ambiguous positioning that requires a more complex reading and that leads my arguing for a postcolonial approach.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Singapore: Springer, 2018. p. 117-136
Series
Perspectives on Asian Tourism, ISSN 2509-4203, E-ISSN 2509-4211
Keywords [en]
Critical tourism studies, Qualitative research, Non-Western methodology, Chineseness, Modernity
National Category
Social and Economic Geography
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-148938Local ID: 881251ISBN: 978-981-10-7491-2 (electronic)ISBN: 978-981-10-7490-5 (print)OAI: oai:DiVA.org:umu-148938DiVA, id: diva2:1217631
Available from: 2018-06-13 Created: 2018-06-13 Last updated: 2019-02-15Bibliographically approved

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CiteExportLink to record
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Citation style
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