Natália Azevedo [FLUP/IS-UP]
Graça Joaquim, ESHTE/CIES.ISCTE.IUL
João Filipe Marques [CinTurs/FEUALG]
The XI Portuguese Congress of Sociology, which will take place in Lisbon, from June 29 to July 1, 2020, under the local organization of ESPP/ISCTE-IUL and ICS-ULisboa, will be the first to count on the existence and active collaboration of the newly created Thematic Section ‘Sociology of Tourism’ of the Portuguese Sociological Association. This would be, right away, a strong reason to call for the massive participation of all those who dedicate their research, but also their professional practices, to tourism phenomena.
This call for participation from the Thematic Section ‘Sociology of Tourism is closely linked to the General Call of the Congress, whose theme is ‘Heated Identities: Differences, Belonging, and Populisms in an Effervescent World’. Tourism context is one of the stages of human interaction where differences and inequalities are present and confront; cultural differences of course, but and above all, material inequalities. The sociological reflection on these issues cannot neglect this total social phenomenon (as Lanfant called it) which is tourism today. Even if tourism is not the panacea for all social imbalances and global cultural conflicts, when practiced in its most sustainable forms it may offer a horizon of reconciliation with the hope in human communicational action (Habermas) and help to mitigate the dynamics exclusion, deafness or hatred of otherness.
To the already known negative effects - such as the commodification of culture, the hegemonic acculturation, the environmental impacts of travel and the human pressure on the most delicate territories – one must now add recent social phenomena such as overtourism, anti-tourism social movements, ‘uberization’ of housing or tourist ‘hypergentrification’ of the urban centres. But the counterpoint to these and other negative effects lies, for instance, in the processes of safeguarding the material and immaterial heritage or the social change processes towards greater gender equality, which, without the ‘desiring machine’ of the tourism consumption, would hardly occur.
Whether at global or local levels, at macrostructure or micro-social levels, cultural, social and environmental impacts of tourism and travel practices are not only extremely conspicuous but have been occupying an increasingly central place in the life and imagination of citizens. The diverse and contradictory tourism experiences (re)configure the sociocultural discourses and practices and frame the several dimensions the (re) construction of identities and authenticities.
Therefore, Sociology must provide these processes with the intelligibility that characterizes its perspective, otherwise the space left vacant will be occupied by other analytical perspectives. The Sociology of Tourism, with its interdisciplinarity perspective, encourages the exercise of discussion as well as theoretical and methodological sharing on the regularities and singularities of tourism phenomena.
The empirical and interventional component, in the form of applied research or action research projects, underlines the stimulating relationship between scientific knowledge and social life. Tourism, in its most diverse forms, constitutes, as a social phenomenon, the object of this relationship.
On behalf of the Thematic Section ‘Sociology of Tourism’ of the Portuguese Sociological Association, we invite all sociologists and related researchers and professionals, to submit abstract proposals on tourism issues. In addition to oral communications, posters and visual documents (short films or videos focused on projects or interventions) will be also accepted. All proposals, despite the differences between academic and non-academic contexts, should be formulated considering a theoretical framework, objectives, methodologies used, diagnosis, results and conclusions.