Scientific project

The scientific project is structured around four areas of research.

Research area 1: Tourism as a key for understanding social and economic permanence and transformation

This area of research looks into the different approaches to tourism practices, the underlying reasons for permanence and continuity or, on the contrary, for transformation and reshaping of societies. Changes in territories, employment, management and career paths, and amendments to regulations on tourism policies, locally as well as internationally, are some of the topics that can enrich the debate on the role of Tourism in the rationales behind the reproduction/transformation of spaces and societies. Through a critical approach to these issues, Research area 1 will stimulate theoretical reflections on the links between tourism and global changes (climate change; wider mobilities; digital revolution; political, socio-economic or managerial change). This will include highlighting the contribution of tourism studies to understanding the so-called “emergence” or “transition” phenomena, which are at the heart of debates in many disciplinary fields.

Research area 2: Think of tourism to think of inequalities, injustices and conflicts

This entails studying the differentiated “distribution” of tourism-related phenomena, tourist-sending and receiving countries, in terms of their continuity and their disruption, by combining different approaches – sociological, geographical, historical, economic, ecological, financial, legal and managerial. Entry points may be individuals and social groups (participants and non-participants), businesses (in terms of employment and work), products and markets, accommodation, means of transport, NICT, space usage, territories, sporting or cultural activities, timeframes, landscapes, etc. Insofar as tourism is a prism for observing social dynamics, the study of tourism-related divides is also a primary entry point for analysing social divides, socio-political tensions, competing forces such as conflicts, of which the tourism-related phenomenon can be the core issue, as well as the result or the illustration.

Research area 3: Inventing and re-inventing tourism

The research area “Inventing and Re-inventing tourism” proposes to question the models, processes and tools through which industry operators and territorial authorities can imagine and promote competitive offerings while drastically changing the organisational forms capable of producing them. Identifying or developing the analytical frameworks to be able to describe and understand the principles of invention and innovation becomes, as in other areas, a core question for businesses and public authorities and more broadly, for all tourism stakeholders.
In this context, research area 3 proposes to support multi-disciplinary teams whose work will contribute to enriching and fine-tuning the models that will enable a better understanding of the invention, but also, from a business perspective, of how industry operators
can make these models their own.

Research area 4: Tourism: rooted practices, questioning destinies, deconstructing legacies

Looking at the field of tourism from a historical point of view is becoming a necessity after more than two centuries of existence. Paradoxically, this approach is not as developed and structured as one might think in a country (France) that boasts of being the world’s leading tourist destination.
There are several angles to this approach. On the one hand, the available sources, documents and guides can be examined in depth, providing interesting material for understanding certain logics and processes. On the other hand, a historical perspective would be useful to understand the moral judgements that condemn, often ideologically, the practices and consequences of tourists, almost from the outset. The historical study of these norms, discourses and judgements provides a fresh understanding of societies and life courses. Environmental history can also help us to understand the past in the light of the interactions between human and natural factors, in line with the ecological, energy and health issues currently affecting our societies. Tourism can also be used to understand the localised effects of the mobility of various social classes (particularly the ‘invisible’) in terms of the interactions and contacts between them in tourist areas, as well as between ‘tourists’ and host populations. Here, the biography of individuals can be an original way of grasping the history of tourism through life courses. Finally, history, mobilised for tourism purposes, makes it possible to offer products and develop projects based on remembrance and major events, but also, more recently, on the history of tourism in places, especially the first places to host elites, which have in turn become “heritage resources”.

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