Current sociological theories and issues in tourism
This article reviews the changing nature of contemporary tourism and sociological approaches to its study. We examine the broad social trends and specific historical events that recently affected tourism and discuss how the focus of sociological inquiry in tourism studies shifted from earlier discourses of authenticity and the tourist gaze to three novel theoretical approaches, the mobilities “paradigm”, the performativity approach and actor-network theory (ANT), which each reflect a broader meta-theoretical re-orientation in contemporary philosophy and sociology. We appraise these conceptual developments and discuss their limitations. We then identify several current research issues as important areas for problem-oriented work at the intersections of tourism and contemporary society: social justice, environmental sustainability, natural disasters, terrorism, heritage, embodiment and affect, and mediatization. âº Reviews social changes in contemporary tourism and approaches to its study. âº Discusses broad social trends and historical events that recently affected tourism. âº Examines shift in conceptual focus away from authenticity and the tourist gaze. âº Appraises novel approaches of mobilities, performativity and actor-network theory. âº Identifies several current research issues as key areas for problem-oriented work.