Fair Trade in Tourism: A Reflexive Appraisal of\ud the Activism/Academe Nexus in the Movement\ud Towards Social Justice in Tourism
This Ph.D. thesis critically reviews the relationship between activism and\ud academe in the inquiry on fairly traded tourism and the role of reflexivity in\ud assisting with that inquiry. It includes published material, part activist, part\ud academic research outputs, on the concept of Fair Trade in Tourism (FTinT),\ud spanning a time period from 2000 to 2013. From my present academic\ud perspective, it critically engages with some of the personal and socio-political\ud complexities surrounding the organisation, which initiated the investigation\ud into FTinT, and my position within the organisation as a key actor and\ud change agent.\ud Applying reflexivity as a method for deconstruction and dialectical critique of\ud my activist and academic engagement, this thesis uses the FTinT research\ud to explore the interface between activism and academe in tourism research.\ud Accordingly, the writing style is predominantly personal, interwoven with\ud reflections on theoretical currents to inform the analysis. Such personal,\ud reflexive engagement illuminates the underlying mechanisms and processes\ud employed in the quest for developing increased public awareness and\ud tangible, applicable criteria and strategies for fairer trade in tourism at a time\ud when such ideas were entirely original.\ud The analysis in this thesis includes application of several approaches to\ud reflexivity and application of concepts of trustworthiness in qualitative\ud research to accredit the scholarly significance of such activist endeavour.\ud Reflexivity and activism are generally under-researched areas in the tourism\ud academy, even more so in relation to trade justice. In particular, there is no\ud evidence of research on these areas as interconnected entities. This study\ud therefore provides an original contribution to knowledge in tourism research\ud on a number of different levels.\ud In this inquiry, I am arguing the case for a more concentrated, though critical\ud engagement with activist and participatory action research as a way of\ud addressing issues of inequity and injustice in the tourism trade. In that\ud context, reflexivity approaches can provide important insights into\ud researchers’ underlying values and beliefs which inflect their choices and\ud decision-making and their relationships within the research environment.\ud However, my research also reveals some serious challenges, both in the\ud application of reflexivity and in the engagement with the activist/academic\ud interface. Such challenges relate to issues of ethical and political integrity,\ud cultural sensitivity, memory-work, and the acceptance of the value of the\ud reciprocal relationship between activism and academe within tourism scholarship.
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