Knowing about tourism
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Researchers generally come to tourism after a period of intense acquisition of knowledge in higher education. It is of course possible to do tourism research by the application of knowledge and research techniques in an unreﬂexive way. Indeed, Franklin and Crang (2001: 6) criticise ‘a tendency for studies [by tourism researchers] to follow a template’, and Botterill (2001: 199) suggests that ‘the assumptions that underlie social science research in tourism are seldom made explicit’. This chapter holds up epistemological issues in tourism research for scrutiny. Knowing about how and what we know in tourism is an epistemological question, epistemology being that branch of philosophy which studies knowledge. Indeed, epistemology explores the theory of knowledge, and its essential concerns are the meaning of the term ‘knowledge’, the limits and scope of knowledge and what constitutes a valid claim to know something. The ﬁrst part of this chapter analyses the character of tourism knowledge. Based largely on the work of Tribe (1997), it provides an initial mapping of the epistemological territory of tourism and a review of the status of tourism as a discipline and the creation of tourism knowledge through multidisciplinarity, interdisciplinarity and extradisciplinarity (Gibbons et al. 1994).