This book walks students through the selection and application of research methods within tourism. The authors introduce the relevant language and theory of key methodologies and then develop them using strategic literature review and the inclusion of international examples which relate directly to tourism. The historical and philosophical context of each method is then carefully laid out alongside the practical application of the technique. Each concept sets the historical and philosophical context of a method alongside the practical application of the technique.

Symbolic Interactionism

Symbolic interactionism

Definition A school of social scientific thought that foregrounds the co-acting (‘joint action’, Blumer [1969]) behaviour of people whose actions can only be understood within a continuous practice of interpretation and reinterpretation during social interaction.


If you are hoping to investigate a small group of like-minded tourists, what we might call a subculture, then this key concept has much to offer. Take, for example, adventure tourists on a trek or volunteer tourists working on a conservation project, then Symbolic Interactionism offers you a way in which you might better capture the social meaning attributed by these participants to their chosen activity. The idea of ‘sensitising concepts’ is a very useful way of preparing yourself for the kind of participant observation fieldwork favoured by ...

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