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Research article2021Peer reviewedOpen access

Ontological mingling and mapping: Chinese tourism researchers' experiences at international conferences

Zhang, Jundan Jasmine; Zhang, Carol Xiaoyue


Within tourism studies, the 'critical turn' has evoked growing reflective and critical perspectives on the role of the researcher in producing knowledge. This has also led to calls for building an inclusive research community, particularly through including non-Western and non-positivist methodologies. While it is noted that non-Western scholarship has gained more visibility in the international tourism research community through publications in prestigious academic journals, few studies discuss non-Western scholars' interactions with other scholars in a qualitative and individual manner. Based on in-depth interviews with nineteen Chinese tourism scholars, we explore how their experiences at international conferences have shaped their positionality as 'Chinese researchers' in the international scientific community and thus contributed to their knowledge making. A process of mingling and mapping is shown in the narratives, where Chinese scholars attempt to find meanings of being at an academic conference and to understand the relations embedded in the conference space. Dynamics and reflexivity are seen in terms of how one goes around certain constructed binaries, such as 'Western/non-Western', 'male/female' and 'junior/senior'. Finally, such a process of mingling and mapping affects the participants' views on who will make the non-Western knowledge and how. With these voices from Chinese tourism scholars, we therefore contribute to the discourse of non-Western knowledge-making.


Positionality; critical tourism studies; non-Western methodologies; international conferences; qualitative studies

Published in

Tourism Geographies
2021, Volume: 23, number: 4, pages: 873-894

    UKÄ Subject classification

    Social Sciences Interdisciplinary

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