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After referring to a number of state-of-the-art conferences and to those sociologists and anthropologists who have undertaken similar appraisals in relation to tourism theory, this article concentrates on a number of issues recently raised by Brown, Meethan, and Seaton. These redesignated themes are treated under the following queries: Literature reviews or mindless trawls? Eureka moments or regurgitation? Eclecticism or monoideism? Black holes or topic avoidance? Maturity or infancy? Cumulatively they act as a framework for the discussion that follows. Separately they expose several uncomfortable trends and pose some awkward questions. Tourism scholars are entitled to ask, for instance, whether reviewing the literature has become too much of a ritual activity associated with a Teutonic treatise syndrome and tendencies towards ethnocentrism and autocitation. They may legitimately reexamine claims to originality by inspecting the provenance of ideas of leading commentators. They can evaluate the respective merits of a micro-pick-and-mix approach when contrasted with grand theory. They can point to those areas in tourism research that have been overlooked and ask why they have been neglected. In such a manner, they are able to confront the final dilemma as to whether advances in the field are genuine or spurious.

Keywords: Eclecticism; Progress; Reviewing the literature; Sociology/anthropology of tourism; Source of “original” ideas

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: International Tourism Research Centre, University of Luton, Bedfordshire LU2 8LE, UK

Publication date: January 1, 2005

More about this publication?
  • Established in 1996, Tourism Analysis is an interdisciplinary journal that provides a platform for exchanging ideas and research in tourism and related fields. The journal aims to publish articles that explore a broad range of research subjects, including, but not limited to, the social, economic, cultural, environmental, and psychological aspects of tourism, consumer behavior in tourism, sustainable and responsible tourism, and effective operations, marketing, and management.

    Tourism Analysis focuses on both theoretical and applied research and strives to promote innovative approaches to understanding the complex and dynamic nature of tourism, its stakeholders, businesses, and its effects on society. The journal welcomes articles on innovative research topics and methodologies beyond the traditional theory-testing sciences, such as robotics, computational sciences, and data analytics.

    Our primary goal is to contribute to the development and advancement of new knowledge in tourism while fostering critical reflections and debates on the radical changes and evolution in tourism among scholars, practitioners, policymakers, and other stakeholders.
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