The following call for papers for a session at the 2019 AAG conference in Washington, DC may be of interest to some of you.
Digital Technology, Tourism and Geographies of Inequality
Organizers: Julia Giddy, Ko Koens and Fabian Frenzel
Tourism is undergoing major changes in the advent of social media networks and other forms of digital technology. This has affected a number of tourism related processes including marketing, destination making, travel experiences and visitor feedback but also various tourism subsectors, like hospitality, transportation and tour operators. Largely overlooked, however, are the effects of these changes on questions concerning inequality. Therefore, the aim of this session is to chart this relatively unexplored territory concerning the influence of technologically enhanced travel and tourism on development and inequality.
In the wake of the digital revolution and its emerging possibilities, early debates in tourism studies have been dominated by a belief that new technologies are able to overcome or at least reduce inequality. These technologies, arguably, have emancipatory potential, inter alia, by increasing the visibility of neglected groups, neighborhoods or areas, by lowering barriers of entry into tourism service provision for low-income groups or by democratizing the designation what is considered valuable heritage. They also, however, may have homogenizing effects, for example by subjecting formerly excluded spaces to global regimes of real estate speculation or by undermining existing labour market regimes and standards in the transport and hospitality industries. These latter effects have played a part in triggering anti-tourism protests in a range of cities across the world.
In this session we aim, specifically, to interrogate these phenomena along two vectors: mobility and inequality.
We invite contributions that analyze platform economy companies such as Airbnb, TripAdvisor or Uber with regards to urban transformation, neighborhood development, inequality and social justice. We also welcome papers that investigate a wide range of social media relating to the representation and reproduction of livelihoods and struggles. Methodologically we hope to attract applications of new tools for research, by working with big data analysis, netnographic approaches, but also more conventional qualitative research methods. Conceptually, the session is open for a range of perspectives to study tourism geography, by linking organization and business studies with geography, sociology, and media studies expertise.
Jennie Germann Molz, PhD
Department of Sociology and Anthropology