Questioning heritage and tourism through gender (Les Rencontres Internationales des Jeunes Chercheurs en Tourisme - 2021)
Paris (hybrid format)
Organization: EIREST laboratory (Interdisciplinary Research Team on Tourism)
Event: Les Rencontres Internationales des Jeunes Chercheurs en Tourisme - 2021
The International Meeting of Young Researchers in Tourism (RIJCT) “Interrogating heritage and
tourism processes through a gender perspective” will take place on 6, 7 and 8 September 2021.
Their aim is to propose new reflections in the consideration of gender in tourism and heritage
studies. The RIJCT proposes an overview of the latest studies which analyse gender through
domination relationships and identities structure. The different lines of studies analyse gender
through the methodological issues, intersectionality in touristic and heritage projects, and
The notion of gender is recent. It emerged after the Second World War and asserts itself with
Gender Studies in the United States in the 1970s. Gender Studies is a multidisciplinary field of
academic research. They presuppose the existence of a social construction referring to a "social
reality that is a source of inequalities between individuals and groups of individuals, according to
their sex and sexual preferences" (Vallet, 2018). Due to the recent genesis of the gender concept,
attempts to cross-reference gender studies with tourism and heritage studies are still limited.
Several works have shown that tourism is a highly gendered activity (Kinnaird and Hall, 1996) by
analysing, for example, the importance of gender in tourist landscapes, the factors of attraction and repulsion, the perceptions of the same tourist destination according to gender (McGehee, Loker- Murphy and Uysal, 1996) or gender relations within tourism projects (Louargant, 2003; Cauvin-Verner, 2009) and sexualities relating to tourism (Staszak, 2012). On the tourism industry side, several studies have highlighted both inequalities in access to tourism jobs and the associated cultural, social, economic and political changes that maintain or challenge gender roles and hierarchies (Aitchison, 2005).
Work on the social and cultural impacts of tourism activities, particularly through the issue of the
commodification of local cultures (Kinnaird and Hall, 1996) supported by public policies for
tourism development and heritage preservation, has shown that men and women play different
roles in this process (Swain, 1995). As a tool for the critical analysis of power relations, gender is
an essential element of understanding in order to analyse the unthinking of gender in heritage
development and exclusion processes (Belvilacqua, 2015) as well as the heritage claims of sexual
minorities (Chantraine, 2017). Few works cross gender, tourism and heritage at the same time.
However, the analysis of this triangulation makes it possible to grasp the articulation of tourism
and heritage with territories and local communities. It questions identities, representations,
collective memory, roles and inequalities that shape tourism and heritage processes.
The International Meeting of Young Researchers in Tourism "Questioning heritage and tourism
processes through gender" wish to encourage reflection on the links between tourism/gender,
heritage/gender and tourism/heritage/gender. Within this framework, 4 lines of study have been
? Methodological issues and approaches
? Intersectionality in the fields of tourism and heritage
? Gendered tourism and heritage experiences and practices
? Attractiveness policies from a gender perspective
Stream 1 - Intersectionality in the field of tourism and heritage
Introduced into feminist literature in 1989 by Kimberlé Crenshaw along the lines of Black
Feminism to analyse the experience of African-American women (Maillé, 2017), the concept of
intersectionality invites us to consider the variety of systems of oppression in order to understand
their interaction in the production and reproduction of social inequalities (Crenshaw 1989).
Intersectionality constitutes a grid for analysing hierarchies and relations of domination by
considering social categories, gender, class, ethnicity and nationality. In the field of tourism
studies, work integrating intersectionality remains limited. The main studies have focused on
nationality, race, gender and class in the hotel sector highlighting the sexual harassment suffered
by women (Adib and Guerrier, 2003). Intersectionality usually remains peripheral in tourism
studies (Tapia, Lee and Filipovitch, 2017). However, this approach critically questions tourism
and heritage studies by highlighting nuances in sectoral and organisational characteristics,
employment patterns and power relations (Mooney, 2017). This axis of research proposes to
question the notion of intersectionality through the gender relations which are expressed within
the groups and actors involved in tourism and heritage projects throughout the world.
Stream 2 - Methodological issues and approaches
As a multidisciplinary field of research, tourism studies have long focused on the administrative
and economic aspects of tourism to the detriment of social and political issues.Yet gender allows
issues of power, control and equality in tourism processes and practices to be explored (Swain,
1995). The postcolonial and postructuralist approaches of the mid-1990s helped to recognise a framework of multiple oppressions (Butler, 1993). Despite the hostility of research in gender-
oriented tourism, a new generation of work in the early 2000s integrated gender identity studies with lesbian studies, gay studies and more recently queer studies. These approaches call for
overcoming the male/female polarisation (Creissels and Zapperi, 2007). However, gender studies
in tourism studies are still dominated by the themes of sex tourism and tourism employment
(Pritchard and Morgan, 2000). The challenge of this line of research is to better understand the
new approaches to gender in tourism studies in order to constitute a panorama of methodological
and conceptual approaches to gender analysis. Can we talk about a new moment in research on
gender-oriented tourism studies? How can we characterise it? How do tourism studies position
themselves in relation to this question, and what are the analytical grids used? This line of research also seeks to bring together and discuss these new approaches in several international socio-cultural and political contexts in a comparative approach in order to give a report of the plurality of ways in which gender is mainstreamed/included. Emphasis is also placed on the difficulties faced by researchers on themes where the symbolic and sometimes physical violence of their field of study tends to question them personally about their status and their place in this field of research.
Stream 3 - Gendered tourism and heritage experiences and practices
Gender research allows tourism and heritage studies to rethink the gender identities that are
expressed in the societies of the visited and of the visitors. Gender representations, norms and rules vary between societies. Heritage and tourism bring groups together around specific gender
representations and norms. Both heritage and tourism provide a privileged basis for defining,
transmitting and disseminating gender roles and identities that are expressed in practices and
experiences. The tourist experience is "a complex psychological process" (Quinlan Cutler and Carmichael, 2010) which is based in particular on an identity construction (Jaurand, 2015). The objective of this axis is to question the notions of "gendered" heritage and tourism practices and experiences that result from these identity constructs. The aim is to propose a new reading of the relationships that exist between the societies visited and the visitors from the point of view of conceptual gender identities such as the valorisation of tourist experiences designed for women and men or according to sexual affiliations. Certain tourist activities related, for example, to sports or adventure tourism are associated with a set of values (virility, strength) which would be specific to masculinity through their media treatment and the experiences of tourists. At the same time, tourism practices may reinforce forms of idealisation of femininity and masculinity or reverse gender relations by contradicting male hegemony by taking into account the economic position and nationality of tourists (Pruitt and Lafont, 1995). Tourism and heritage experiences show that femininity and masculinity are becoming increasingly complex and multidimensional.
Stream 4 - Attractiveness policies from a gender perspective
Numerous works testify to the primacy of gender social patterns in public policies: urban renewal
projects, or even territorial attractiveness programs, generally respond to codes of gendered
domination based on an asymmetrical system. In such settings, the sexual dimension does not
necessarily correspond to a descriptive gender but acquires a polymorphic character referring to
several forms of sexuality(ies). However, changes are under way in the practices of designing and
implementing local urban policies: more and more municipalities in Europe are taking into account
gender inequalities in the process of making the city or putting urban places into tourism (or
heritage) (Pritchard and Morgan, 2000). What tools (legal, fiscal, political) are public authorities
adopting to foster the development of gendered tourism? What are the socio-economic impacts of
these actions on the territories?
Moreover, gender is also important for the processes of construction of the landscape or tourist
site (natural, historical, cultural or artistic). The destination, like the tourist experience itself,
allows the dimensions of the individual's interiority and exteriority to be articulated in relation to
otherness (Kinnaird and Hall, 1996): How do the actors in the city act as an agency and actively
participate in the production of the tourist experience? How can gender condition these action
strategies? This last axis attempts to explore the links (possible or existing) between local and/or
tourism policies and gender.
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Maria Gravari-Barbas (University of Paris 1 Panthéon-Sorbonne), Elisabetta Ruspini (University
of Milan-Bicocca) , Mohammed Aderghal (University of Mohammed V of Rabat) , Aurélie
Condevaux (University of Paris 1 Panthéon-Sorbonne), Corinne Cauvin Verner (Institute of
African Worlds), Heather Jeffrey (University of Middlesex University Dubai), Véronique
Antomarchi (IUT Paris Descartes), Chadia Arab (CNRS-ESO University of Angers), Jean-
François Staszak (University of Geneva), Mari Oiry Varacca (University of Paris-Est Marne-la-
Vallée), Honggang Xu (Sun Yat-Sen University), Maria Rosaria Pelizzari (University of Salern), Marianne Blidon (University of Paris 1 Panthéon-Sorbonne).
Organisation of the congress is carried out by the PhD students of the EIREST, University Paris 1
Panthéon-Sorbonne, Ecole Doctorale de Géographie de Paris (Paris PhD School of Geography):
Sandra Biondo, Nacima Mohamdi and Merryl Joly.