All abilities trek to the summit of Mount Kosciuszko - Australia's highest peak

All abilities trek to the summit of Mount Kosciuszko - Australia's highest peak
All abilities trek to the summit of Mount Kosciuszko - Australia's highest peak - © Jennifer Johnson 2008

Thursday, March 31, 2011

Wellness Tourism, Women and Mental Health

Small & Darcy (2010, p. 8) report on Australian National Visitor Survey figures that show that people with mental health issues report the lowest level of tourism participation of any group of people with disabilities. Yet, very little work has investigated the impact of mental health on tourism or the impact of tourism on mental health. Simone Fullagar (2011) presents an insightful chapter titled, Travelling with and Beyond Depression: Women’s Narratives of Recovery and Identity, which connects the growing body of work on wellness tourism to the well-developed work on women, disability studies, leisure studies and mental health. Tourism has had a long history of being identified as having connections to wellness, recovery and restoration where a break from our everyday lives provides a space in which we can recreate ourselves. Landscapes are the focus of many tourism experiences and Photo 1 presents an image of the beach, which has been long associated with a relaxing and restorative environment.
Photo 1: Seaside holidays and the Beach have been long associated with relaxation and restoration (Copyright © Tourism NSW)

Simone's chapter resonated with the Australian Broadcasting Corporation's radio program Life Matters on the 22nd March 2011 and the interview can be listened to as a podcast on the following link.
The reference to this article as well as an extract of the introduction is now presented.
Fullagar, S. (2011). Chapter 7 - Travelling with and Beyond Depression: Women’s Naratives of Recovery and Identity. In D. Buhalis & S. Darcy (Eds.), Accessible Tourism: Concepts and Issues (pp. 123-137). Bristol, UK: Channel View Publications.


Copyright © 2010 Channelview publications. All rights reserved.

Introduction

Despite the growing prevalence and variety of mental health ‘problems’ within contemporary societies there has been surprisingly little exploration of the relationship between emotional distress/wellbeing and tourism experiences. This chapter aims to contribute a feminist perspective to the growing body of research into ‘wellness tourism’ (Smith & Kelly, 2006) through a focus on travel within Australian women’s narratives of recovery from depression.  Hence, it builds upon the expanding literature on women travellers (J Small, 1999; Tiyce, 2008; Wearing & Wearing, 1996; Wilson & Harris, 2006) by developing closer connections with work in disability studies, leisure studies and mental health (Fullagar, 2008; Fullagar & Brown, 2003; Kleiber, Hutchinson, & Williams, 2002; Stoppard, 2000). In particular I consider how meaningful travel experiences figured within women’s stories of moving through depression and renegotiating their sense of self in recovery (Wilson & Harris, 2006). In this way I explore a tension shaping the travel experience between understanding the ‘disabling effects’ of being diagnosed as mentally ‘ill’ as well as the transformative possibilities travel affords women.

In this chapter I argue that the liminal space of travel affords us another way of understanding the relational and multiple nature of women’s identity. Travel involves the movement away from home with its gendered responsibilities and expectations, as well as the movement towards other worlds and possible selves experienced within a relation to difference. In particular I focus on 11 narratives that identified the significance of travel within an Australian Research Council funded qualitative study involving 80 Australian women aged 20-75 who self-identified as recovering from depression. Ten women who identified themselves as travellers or tourists spoke of the embodied longing to move through places that gave them hope, desire and the vitality to escape the weight of depression. In contrast one woman spoke of how travel actually contributed to her depression rather than recovery. My analysis considers how women draw upon gendered discourses to articulate their recovering identity and identified three interrelated themes about travel experiences. These themes include; travel as a narrative of escape from gendered expectations of home, travel as a pleasurable form of risk taking and travel as a quest for a purposeful identity beyond deficit and depression.

Mental health and illness are also ‘liminal’ categories of human experience that have been culturally produced through the oppositional relations of the mind and body, reason and emotion, healthy and sick, normal and abnormal, self and other (Ussher, 1991; Wiener, 2005). In this context I explore how travel and tourism figure in the stories of those who are living with and moving through an identity formed around depression and gender. I conclude with a reflection upon the implications of the study for the fields of tourism and mental health with respect to ways of thinking about wellbeing.

To read the chapter please see,
Fullagar, S. (2011). Chapter 7 - Travelling with and Beyond Depression: Women’s Naratives of Recovery and Identity. In D. Buhalis & S. Darcy (Eds.), Accessible Tourism: Concepts and Issues (pp. 123-137). Bristol, UK: Channel View Publications.


References
Fullagar, S. (2011). Chapter 7 - Travelling with and Beyond Depression: Women’s Naratives of Recovery and Identity. In D. Buhalis & S. Darcy (Eds.), Accessible Tourism: Concepts and Issues (pp. 123-137). Bristol, UK: Channel View Publications.


Wednesday, March 30, 2011

(Re)Envisioning Tourism and Visual Impairment



As noted in the introduction to the previous blog on the concept of embodiment, Small & Darcy (2011) provided an understanding that the tourism industry needs to consider the embodiments of vision, mental health, hearing impairments and others in developing quality accessible destination experiences. Their introduction identified the domination of tourism by the visual "gaze” (see Urry, 1990) at the expense of considering other senses including taste, touch, hearing, smell and movement. One embodiment where the focus on the "gaze” in tourism is particularly problematic is people who are blind or vision impaired. Photo 1 shows one of the aspects of embodiment where people use guide dogs to wayfind and guide dogs have been noted to be an extra tourism consideration for the group (Darcy & Taylor, 2009).
Photo 1: Geraldine Lane and guide dog Molly board a Skywest flight (© Skywest 2010)

Richards, Prichard and Morgan (2010) provide a wonderful examination of tourism from a non-sighted perspective. They do so through presenting a "hopeful tourism scholarship paradigm" where they discuss their findings from eight focus groups under the themes of embodied tourism encounters, inhospitable tourism spaces and navigating tourism environments. The reference to this article as well as an extract of the abstract is now presented.

Richards, V., Pritchard, A., & Morgan, N. (2010). (Re)Envisioning tourism and visual impairment. Annals of Tourism Research, 37(4), 1097-1116. doi: DOI: 10.1016/j.annals.2010.04.011

Copyright: 2010 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

Abstract

Tourism scholarship has failed to engage seriously with disability issues. This paper presents a critical analysis of the tourism encounters of individuals with vision problems and the positive impacts these can have on their emotional well-being, as well as the challenges they encounter whilst travelling… (Only 10% presented because of copyright restrictions)

References
Darcy, S., & Taylor, T. (2009). Disability citizenship: An Australian human rights analysis of the cultural industries. Leisure Studies, 28(4), 419-441.
Richards, V., Pritchard, A., & Morgan, N. (2010). (Re)Envisioning tourism and visual impairment. Annals of Tourism Research, 37(4), 1097-1116. doi: DOI: 10.1016/j.annals.2010.04.011
Small, J., & Darcy, S. (2011). Chapter 5 - Understanding Tourist Experience Through Embodiment: The Contribution of Critical Tourism and Disability Studies. In D. Buhalis & S. Darcy (Eds.), Accessible Tourism: Concepts and Issues (pp. 72-96). Bristol, UK: Channel View Publications.
Urry, J. (1990) The Tourist Gaze: Leisure and Travel in Contemporary Societies. London: Sage

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

The Embodied Tourist

As noted elsewhere on the blog, a great deal of research that has been undertaken has been predominantly about mobility disability. A number of reports and articles have recently been published on other embodiments. What the studies recognise is that disability is not a homogenous constructs where there is an inherent complexity based on the dimensions of access and the level of support needs. Providing for different embodiments is a starting point to a sophisticated approach to developing quality accessible destination experiences. Over the next few days I will provide a brief synopsis of articles that focus on people with vision, mental health and hearing impairments that provide insight into tourism provision for these different embodiments. Tourism has been dominated by the visual "gaze" (see Urry, 1990) but as Photo 1 presents an example where the other bodily senses of taste, touch, smell, hearing and movement need to be incorporated into experiences that can be enjoyed by all.
Photo 1: Epic Enabled Tours facilitating a tactile experience with a baby cheetah (© Sabine Smith 2010) http://www.epic-enabled.com/

As a brief introduction to the concept of embodiment, the introduction to the following chapter by Small & Darcy (2011) is provided to warm people are for the more specific refereed journal articles, chapters in books and industry reports that consider the embodiments of vision, mental health and hearing impairments.
Small, J., & Darcy, S. (2011). Chapter 5 - Understanding Tourist Experience Through Embodiment: The Contribution of Critical Tourism and Disability Studies. In D. Buhalis & S. Darcy (Eds.), Accessible Tourism: Concepts and Issues (pp. 72-96). Bristol, UK: Channel View Publications.

Copyright © 2011 Channelview Publications All rights reserved.

Introduction

This chapter seeks to understand the tourist experiences of people with disabilities, including the seniors who also constitute the accessible tourism market. Tourism experiences can be viewed through many approaches. The following discussion is situated within the framework of critical theory in tourism studies and critical disability studies theory, both of which focus on ends rather than means, examining social power structures with a commitment to emancipation. The lived experience of the person is the subject matter and within the approaches of critical tourism and critical disability studies, the lived experience is a bodily experience. This chapter examines the embodied experience of those with disabilities within the tourism context. For the purposes of this chapter, the authors take Osborne’s (2001, p.51) definition of embodiment where “‘embodiment’ is used to describe the way in which the bodily bases of individuals’ actions and interactions are socially structured: that is, embodiment is a social as well as natural process’. In this case, embodiment as it relates to disabilities includes mobility, hearing, vision, cognitive/learning, sensitivity and mental health but, in the developing field of critical disability and tourism studies, the areas most researched are mobility and vision. While it is recognized that disabled/nondisabled subjectivity intersects with other subjectivities such as gender, age, culture, ethnicity, sexuality, economic position etc., a dearth of research in tourism and disability studies research (and the word length of this chapter) prevent a discussion of these intersections.

Boorstin (1987) in The Lost Art of Travel distinguished between travellers of the past and today’s tourists, noting that “until almost the present century, travel abroad was uncomfortable, difficult and expensive” (p80). Indeed, the word travel comes from travail –“meaning ‘trouble’, ‘work’ or ‘torment’” (Boorstin 1987, p.85). He viewed the traveller of the past as someone who worked at the experience, whereas the tourist of today waits for things to happen to them. Boorstin (1987) claimed: “Nowadays it costs more and takes greater ingenuity, imagination and enterprise to fabricate travel risks than it once required to avoid them” (p.117).  Today’s travel might be seen as easier than travel of the past.  Today, air travel allows us to cross the globe within a day. Travel companies now have organized tours to places unimaginable even since Boorstin wrote his chapter  – computers allow us to seek travel information,  purchase the holiday and check-in without leaving home and, for some, have virtual tourism experiences (Turner, Turner, & Carroll, 2005, p. 43). We don’t need “real” money to travel – we have credit cards. Mobile phones and email allow us to stay in constant touch with home while away. And so on.  The commonplace of travel today and the ease with which many non-disabled people engage can conceal the socially constructed barriers and constraints encountered in travel by those with access needs. Developments in travel technology can be a blessing for some but those who are restricted in their access to a computer, ATM, mobile phone or other technology remain segregated. In many ways, services and facilities for people with disability have increased but in other ways service personnel are scant and travel has become a DIY venture. Where are the porters of yore at travel termini – not everyone can carry a suitcase! Travel is still geared for bodies and minds that conform to a very narrow definition of embodiment.

For the rest of the chapter please see
Small, J., & Darcy, S. (2011). Chapter 5 - Understanding Tourist Experience Through Embodiment: The Contribution of Critical Tourism and Disability Studies. In D. Buhalis & S. Darcy (Eds.), Accessible Tourism: Concepts and Issues (pp. 72-96). Bristol, UK: Channel View Publications.
http://www.multilingual-matters.com/display.asp?isb=9781845411602&TAG=&CID=

References
Boorstin, D.J. (1987) The Image, A Guide to Pseudo-Events in America. New York:Atheneum.
Osborne, P. (2000) Travelling Light: Photography, Travel and Visual Culture. Manchester: Manchester University Press.
Turner, P., Turner, S. and Carroll, F. (2005) The tourist gaze: Towards contextualised virtual environments. Spaces, Spatiality and Technology. Dordrecht:Kluwer.
Urry, J. (1990) The Tourist Gaze: Leisure and Travel in Contemporary SocietiesLondon: Sage

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