GEOGRAPHICAL RESEARCH ›› 2019, Vol. 38 ›› Issue (11): 2578-2594.doi: 10.11821/dlyj020190317

• Perspectives and Contention • Previous Articles     Next Articles

Reflection on China’s tourism study based on the perspective of field of place

CHEN Xiaoliang1,2, CAI Xiaomei3, ZHU Hong1,2,*()   

  1. 1. Center for Human Geography and Urban Development, School of Geographical Science, Guangzhou University, Guangzhou 510006, China
    2. Center for Urban and Migrants of Guangdong Province, Guangzhou 510006, China
    3. School of Tourism Management, South China Normal University, Guangzhou 510631, China
  • Received:2019-04-24 Revised:2019-08-16 Online:2019-11-20 Published:2019-12-02
  • Contact: ZHU Hong


Tourism, as a social practice, plays an important role in political and economic development as well as in social and cultural changes. The 19th National Congress of the Communist Party in 2012 has set up new goals for China's tourism. It is necessary for us to rethink current ways of tourism development and its future with the perspective of new era. In view of this, this research, based on the study of tourism development and characteristics of current tourism in the West, examined China’s tourism features. This paper proposes a theoretical framework about “field of place”. Based on the discussion of ontology of place, the article integrates tourism, encounter and place into an interrelated framework to conceptualize tourism as: the empirical, experiential, reflective and practical fields of place that are shaped by the process of encounter of human and non-human. The field of tourism is a dynamic system, and it is also a politicized practice process that constantly changes and interweaves with conflict and compromising. This research emphasizes a meaningful temporal and special process of encounter. Only through a combination of unexpected encounters and daily encounters, can the truth of tourism be reflected. Compared to the classic tourism geography model (from the perspective of spatial format, the tourism system is a spatial system in which the tourist-generating areas and the tourist-receiving areas interact through the tourist routes), the field of tourism is actually a dynamic spatial relationship of mobility shaped through the process of encountering and meeting where the absence and the presence are intertwined, both of which are composed of human and non-human. The field of tourism model breaks through the limitations of dichotomy where the tourist-generating areas and the tourist-receiving areas are separated. The version of field of tourism is more a research epistemology and research perspective than a research paradigm. Finally, with the change of tourism development and tourism research, this paper proposes five kinds of knowledge production mode and research direction based on local practice, critical reflection, technological change, participation and interdisciplinary research. This paper tries to bring a dialogue on the ontological political agenda and provide a guidance for future tourism research.

Key words: tourism, field of place, encounter, knowledge production, reflection