To boldly go where no van has gone before: auto-ethnographic experimentation and mobile fieldwork

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review

Abstract

In order to contribute to contemporary debates around the ‘moral turn’ in tourism studies (Caton, Butcher, Bergman, Sager et al) this chapter is concerned with both processes and practices of experimental fieldwork as an embodied practice. Using an auto-ethnographic approach for my doctorate research, (VW Campervan Subcultures, Tourism Mobilities and Experience) I took the position of both the researcher and the researched. Therefore it became imperative to consider the ethical issues which emerged from conducting a cultural anthropology in which the author was both an ‘insider/outsider’ Lett (1990) The discussion aims to explore whether moral encounters are even possible due to the researcher having developed a kinship with the ‘communities of affiliation’, Brown and Mussell (1984:11) prior to the study. Having established a connection with research subjects due to my own VW Campervan ownership, whilst became a potential passport to access those subcultures on a more intimate level, conversely those relationships were also problemetized for ethical reasons as data collection could no longer be clandestine. Had I just mined members of my ‘tribe’ for data without considering whether my principles of knowledge production were socially responsible, reliable and transparent, biased or self-deceiving; then the researcher’s moral maxims would be questionable. By exploring the fine line between immorality and prudence on this issue, this critical debate will look at the staging difficulties associated with an interpretive enquiry where researcher inter-subjectivities have the potential to shape the methodological design and outcomes. As Gubrium & Holstein (1997, p.9) points out "research procedure constructs reality as much as it produces descriptions of it". Thus considerations about whether robust ethical procedures can reduce an ethnographer’s capacity to gather trustworthy data will be also be contested.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationMoral Encounters in Tourism
EditorsMary Mostafanezhad, Kevin Hannam
Place of PublicationLondon
PublisherTaylor & Francis
Chapter17
Pages221-232
Number of pages11
ISBN (Electronic)9781315596068
ISBN (Print)9781472418449
Publication statusPublished - 1 May 2014

Publication series

NameCurrent Developments in the Geographies of Leisure and Tourism
PublisherTaylor and Francis

Fingerprint Dive into the research topics of 'To boldly go where no van has gone before: auto-ethnographic experimentation and mobile fieldwork'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this