Epistemologies and their practices: A performance approach to ethnography in tourism

Chaim Noy

I wish to take this space to rethink a research I recently conducted, reported in the previous lecture (titled Performance and Discourse in Tourism: The Narratives Visitor Books Tell). I employ reflexivity in order to critically examine the production of academic knowledge with particular reference to ethnographic practices in tourism research. The deconstruction builds on an appreciation of the fact that there are different epistemological discourses that compete over the frames of interpretation in various tourist attractions (in this case, the National Commemoration Site in Jerusalem, Israel). In this vein, tourists' ethnography will be (re)viewed and theorized in a fashion that resembles the ways I viewed and theorized visitors' actions in situ, putting visitors' visits and researcher's ethnography on the same footing. A performative rendering of ethnographic practices is promoted—a problematization of ethnography which is pursued by viewing researching practices in situ not in terms of 'academic research' but in terms of 'tourist visits'. By doing so, the power and authority of the modern institutions of tourism and museums are acknowledged. Alternative and competing "frames" (Goffman) are emergent, especially in cases where research is pursued—performed—in highly symbolic and ideological settings. Over and above research practices, the lecture will move to discuss various modes of representation and the convergence and divergence between the discourses of academic knowledge in the social sciences and in national commemoration. Altogether, the inquiry leads to insights into the construction of academic knowledge with regards to tourists and tourism (i.e. epistemology), and to enriching tourists' ethnographies (i.e. methodology). The inquiry is located in the junction of critical explorations of ethnography, on the one hand, and museum studies, on the other, with the performance paradigm in tourism as the connecting thread. The research develops earlier conceptualizations regarding the construction of meaning and power relations between researchers, tourists and tourism institutions (Noy, 2007). (identity performances) והשתתפות לאומית ספונטאניים ואד-הוקיים ("מלמטה") (ר' Noy, 2008). ניתוח מופעים אלה מאיר, אם כן, לא רק את הייצוגים המגדריים במרחב ההנצחתי-לאומי, כי אם גם את פרקטיקות המופע וההשתתפות של המבקרות והמבקרים. מופעים אלה מעידים על מתחים פנים-ישראליים בין מודלים שונים של גבריות, הנאבקים על הגמוניה, כמו-גם על צורות מגדריות של מחאה, הסכמה והשתתפות באתוס הצבאי-לאומי, בהן אדון בהרצאה.

Noy, C. (2007). "Sampling Knowledge: The Hermeneutics of Snowball Sampling in Qualitative Research." International Journal of Social Research Methodology, 11(4): 327-344.

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