Contexts in tourism and leisure studies : a cross-cultural contribution to the production of knowledge

V. Platenkamp

Research output: Thesisinternal PhD, WU


In this PhD an attempt has been made to deliver a cross-cultural contribution to the production of knowledge in tourism and leisure studies. The necessity of this attempt originates in: thegrowing cultural complexity in a globalising world. From a cross-cultural perspective this implies that many interacting networks create a 'global ecumene'. Over the world many cultural contexts are influencing each other in everyday life, but also in business, in public and private encounters, in tourism and in leisure activities. At the same time there is a growing need to overcome the simplicity of much theorising in this area. More particularly, it seems to be important to involve the hidden information from these contexts into the public discussions in order to clarify the above mentioned complexity;

2)     thefact that the production of knowledge in tourism and leisure studies encompasses a mass of work and scientific products. Still, scientific communities of tourism and leisure studies have a difficulty in determining what the internal (inter)disciplinary coherence of their workis,what their position is with respect to other domains of science and whether there is a matter of scientific progress. The multitude of writings and the appearances of the same issues in (often slightly) modified forms (Lengkeek & Platenkamp, 2006) create an image of chaos in these studies.

In line with this twofold necessity in this PhD a way of thinking has been proposed that may lead to an improvement of this situation.

It seems relevant to start with 'observable' misunderstandings, conflicts, empirically tested resultsof 'cross-cultural theories' or elements of perspectives that become clear during culture shocks. These 'observable elements' emerge from the hidden contexts of the lifeworldsof anyinternational community. The first action required, then, is to interpret these elements according to the perspectives involved. In this process of mutual interpretation people enter a 'hall of mirrors' (C.Geertz, 1983) in which they try to clarify the original misunderstandings a.o. originating from their hidden contexts.

In this study an attempt has been made to situate this 'hall of mirrors' in the international classroom of tourism and leisure studies. Through dialogues and interviews with students from diverse cultural backgrounds idealtypical pictures have been consitutedof 'SouthAfrican' students, postcommunist students from formerEastern Europe, Chinese or Dutch students. In these pictures 'doxa's' (Bourdieu, 1980) have been distinguished that may serve as a guideline for finding some basic and hidden assumptions in the cultural contextsof thesestudents . A doxa is implicit and self-evident. It is what people in a particular lifeworld or culture share and which goes without saying, it isa'adhésion aux presupposées du jeu' (ibidem, 111). Perspectives from diverse cultural backgrounds are based upon this type of doxa.


The next step to be organised after the generation of relevant doxa's in international contexts is the translation into tourism and leisure studies. What may these doxa's add to these studies?


In an attempt to structure the above mentioned chaos in tourism and leisure studies a distinction between three modes of knowledge production has been introduced, mode 1, 2 (Gibbons et al, 1994), and 3 (Kunneman, 2005). Mode 1 knowledge production is academic and conceptual and it takes place in the context of universities according to standard procedures in formal settings. Mode 2 knowledge production is problem oriented takes place in projects of people from various backgrounds. It takes diverse interests into account, among which the academic interest is on of them. The aim is to get to the most adequate interventions in practical situations. Mode 3 knowledge has to do with morality and with the existential questions of life and death. The introduction of these three modes is supposed to clarify some confusion in tourism and leisure studies. All modes were creating one amalgam of various types of research. Mode 2 discussions have been treated as mode 1 discussions and the other way around. After this distinction it becomes possible, for example, to stop a mode 2 discussion at a point where moral issues constitute an obstacle in a mode 2 environment. It seems crucial to develop a keen eye for the interrelations between the three modes.


As a conclusion the doxa's, that have been generated from the various contexts, have been elaborated in their functionof 'settingthe agenda' of the discourses in mode 1, 2 and 3 of tourism and leisure studies. In this way the cross-cultural contribution to the production of knowledge has been taken care of at the end of the day. The hidden information of various contexts has been generated into the different modesof knowledgeproduction, as has been the main intention of this PhD.

Original languageEnglish
QualificationDoctor of Philosophy
Awarding Institution
  • Wageningen University
  • Lengkeek, Jaap, Promotor
  • Kunneman, H.P., Promotor, External person
Award date5 Jan 2007
Place of Publication[S.l.]
Print ISBNs9789085045663
Publication statusPublished - 2007


  • tourism
  • leisure
  • leisure activities
  • leisure research
  • cross cultural studies
  • knowledge
  • diffusion of information


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