This panel focuses on the ethnographic research process in tourism and examines the roles that gender, class and ethnicity have in that process. In so doing it seeks to broaden understandings of and insights into ethnography as a research technique in anthropology more generally.
This panel focuses on the dilemmas involved in undertaking ethnographic fieldwork in tourism. The immediate question that arises is how far removed from the practice of being a tourist is the participant observer? As an issue, this is not unfamiliar in anthropological studies of tourism (e.g. Crick, 1985). This panel wishes to expand on these ethnographic concerns, with a focus particularly on the role that gender has in influencing the form, content, and conduct of research, including the degree of reflexivity involved on the part of the researcher. Questions to be explored include (but are not limited to): does the role of the participant observer become like that of the tourist due to factors such as gender, and to an inter-related degree, that of race and class; how often are such factors acknowledged as shaping encounters in the field; does reflexivity aid in separating the anthropologist from the tourist or does it in fact have the opposite effect; to what extent does gender influence the distance between the researcher and his or her subject; and finally, we ask if reflexivity itself is a gendered practice, and if so, in what ways? We intend less for the panel participants to resolve these epistemological questions, but rather to generate new arenas of discussion for research in tourism, and from contextual, gendered, and reflexive standpoints. This panel will further the understanding of ethnography as a research technique in the discipline of Anthropology in general.