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Discourse analysis in tourism research a critical perspective

Hannam, Kevin; Knox, Dan

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Kevin Hannam


© 2005 Tourism Recreation Research. Increasing numbers of researchers in the field of tourism studies are using discourse analysis as a means of critical investigation when faced with qualitative or textual forms of data, such as written documents, or visual materials such as photographs and brochures. Such data is often representative of how a group of people have made sense of and reflected on their own world and that of others. However, there are many different types of discourse analysis and many different ways in which discourse analysis has been deployed. This paper reviews the attempts of tourism scholars so far and argues that many researchers have utilized discourse analysis in an eclectic fashion. The paper thus differentiates between content analysis, simple textual analysis, semiotic analysis and post-structuralist forms of discourse analysis in order to provide a framework for other tourism researchers to use. In particular, it is argued that discourse analysis should proceed by recognizing that all texts are produced intertextually in relation to other texts, which are in tum embedded within power relations that give degrees of authority. Discourse analysis should thus treat texts as mediated cultural products which are part of wider systems of knowledge. It is argued that discourse analysis is not just interested in what is within the text itself but also in what has been left out and the 'secret' meanings that are not obvious. It is also argued that it is important to note the interruptions and disruptions that occur within the flow of qualitative data. Utilizing discourse analysis should mean the development of a more nuanced reading of the data and thus add a more critical edge to much tourism research.


Hannam, K., & Knox, D. (2005). Discourse analysis in tourism research a critical perspective. Tourism Recreation Research, 30(2), 23-30.

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Jan 11, 2005
Online Publication Date Jan 12, 2015
Publication Date Jan 1, 2005
Deposit Date Dec 18, 2017
Publicly Available Date Dec 18, 2017
Journal Tourism Recreation Research
Print ISSN 0250-8281
Publisher Taylor & Francis (Routledge)
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 30
Issue 2
Pages 23-30
Keywords discourse analysis, tourism
Public URL
Publisher URL
Additional Information Additional Information : This is an Accepted Manuscript of an article published by Taylor & Francis in Tourism Recreation Research in September 2005, available online:


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