chapter  6
Photo-elicitation and the construction of tourist experiences: photographs as mediators in interviews
Pages 16

As indicated by Scarles in Chapter 5, the technique of photo-elicitation has been presented as a method to elicit responses in interviews with photographs as a device (Prosser and Schwartz 1998). Used in disciplines such as sociology and anthropology, it has been described as an efficient method to get close to the participants, and to discover the subject’s own categorisations and definitions of his/her life-world (Harper 1988). Consequently, the method of photo-elicitation has often been portrayed as a ‘can-opener’ technique in the social situation of the interview. However, in tourism, where taking, making, editing and displaying photographs is an integral part of the subject’s life-world, visual images play a more important role than simply being a con - venient device or ‘can-opener’. This chapter will illuminate the multifaceted potential of photo-elicitation techniques in tourism research by providing an opportunity to see this specific method as a gateway to discussions of how to understand and analyse tourist experiences. In line with the overall aim of this book, and furthering the discussions in Chapter 5, this chapter will present, discuss and promote the use of photo-elicitation as a data-collection technique for tourism researchers, but also suggest how photo-elicitation may be used for a practice-oriented narrative analysis. Through two different Swedish studies that both focus on the construction of tourist experiences through narratives, the chapter will present a social constructionist perspective on tourism research that illuminates the analytical potential of the interview situation and the practices surrounding the display of photographs.