Building a decommodified research paradigm in tourism: The contribution of NGOs

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Journal Article
Journal of Sustainable Tourism, 2005, 13 (5), pp. 424 - 439
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This paper argues for a shift in tourism research that challenges models which prioritise commodified tourism experiences over alternative decommodified products. We feel the distinction between commodified and decommodified tourism can be demonstrated using Non-Government Organisations (NGOs) as a case study. Commodifying processes occur when the final outcome is defined as the economic use-value of a product or service. Current directions in tourism research often favour the pursuit of a commodified tourism product in the search for increased efficiency and global profits using research paradigms that narrowly pursue this direction. We argue that the negative impacts of such a trajectory restrict our ability to understand and analyse the tourism experience requiring decommodifying actions in tourism research to move forward; these we feel are best informed by alternative theoretical and philosophical perspectives that include feminism, ecocentrism, community development and poststructuralism. NGOs are used in this paper to provide an example of how the broadening of research philosophies allows access to approaches that pursue decommodification in tourism as they move beyond the almost exclusive pursuit of industry profits and place social, cultural and ecological value on local environments and economics. © 2005, Taylor & Francis Group, LLC. All rights reserved.
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