Polar tourism (research) is not what it used to be: the maturing of a field of study alongside an activity

Liggett, D.
Stewart, Emma
Journal Article
Fields of Research
ANZSRC::15 Commerce, Management, Tourism and Services , ANZSRC::1506 Tourism , ANZSRC::150601 Impacts of Tourism , ANZSRC::150603 Tourism Management , ANZSRC::220208 History and Philosophy of the Social Sciences
EDITORIAL. In his editorial to the last issue of The Polar Journal (volume 5, issue 1), Gary Steel eloquently explored the difficulties we are faced with when attempting to define polar social sciences. At the heart of the social sciences, Steel argues, is the study of human interactions, which give value to the social sciences while, at the same time, making social science inquiry a valuable endeavour in its own right. With respect to the Polar Regions, it is modes, intensities and characteristics of human engagement with the Arctic and the Antarctic, as well as the globe as a whole, that define our foreseeable futures, to some extent at least. Tourism is only one of a wide variety of modes of human engagement with the Polar Regions. It suffers from similar definitional ambiguities as the polar social sciences as a whole; actually, definitional ambiguities may even compound in tourism research, which is still in its teenage years compared to other well-established social-science disciplines such as anthropology, human geography, psychology or the political sciences, just to name a few. In fact, the study of tourism has not yet been recognised as an academic discipline and floats somewhere in an academic netherworld where serious scholarly approaches to understanding phenomena around human interactions “away from home” meet descriptive accounts of tourism operations and travel writing.
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