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The relationship between tourism, sociology and social control

Essay 2014 8 Seiten

Soziologie - Wirtschaft und Industrie



Since tourism has been considered recently as a very significant issue to improve the social life, then few common social factors such as social control and autonomy have a massive impact in the tourism sector to develop it more. Therefore, couple of sociological themes has been highly influencing the hospitality and tourism sectors from the tourists perspective and as well as from the service provider perspective. So that, the social control and the autonomy, both factors are affecting and affected by the political, cultural, religious variety of various tourism locations. That is how, tourism is concerned as “…a language of social control in promotional material…” (Dann, 1996). In this work, I will be trying to discuss briefly and step by step some of the very specific aspects of social control and autonomy in the tourism sector, what are combined and gathered knowledge from the readings of sociology scholars in the tourism and social science study.

Social control in tourism

The discussion topics what have been picked up from the writings of Dann, Franklin and Lim, are normally describing some sorts of social manipulations phenomena upon the tourists groups. According to those writings, the social controls in tourism have been appeared as an opposition of recreation and leisure for the tourists groups. Being controlled by a particular society is really a confinement over the tourist groups. In the readings it has been demonstrated that this type of restrictions occur because of social, cultural and political instability (Lim, 2007). Whereas, in many other societies, for instance, in the European countries that happens because of the system has been established towards the elderly people (Dann, 2000). So generally, modernization in the name of globalization is actually creating huge unusual and informal impact of social control in many touristic locations. On the other hand, the controlling which has been manipulated by the government and politicians that has pretty predictable, formal and usual approach. Therefore in different readings about different tourism destinations have shown different phenomena of tourism social controls. For instance, in the article of Lim with Himalaya has got a clear political and cultural domination; whereas, in the elderly hotels in Mallorca has got some kind of domination which goes with the age discrimination, which has been ruled upon the elderly tourist groups; etc. In-fact, the total scenario and circumstance were as, the aged tourists groups were treated as if they were in an ‘elderly care home’ even if they were tourists. This sort of social controlling set up is completely against the tourist’s wish, desire and happiness (Dann, 1996, 2000).

Autonomy in tourism

Since autonomy is a freedom of own choice and manipulating the activity by that choice, then the autonomy in tourism is to travel and enjoy at the highest level of happiness, to get maximum satisfaction (Heimtun, 2007). Autonomy has become an idea in the social science study which is against the social controlling for the tourism sectors; therefore, this term is highly connected to the tourism. According to the writings of Dann, Selanniemi, Heimtun, Franklin, the knowledge of autonomy has been gathered as a sub theory of social knowledge and controversial to the social control. The societies which have been presented in those empirical research articles are surrounded by some social, political and cultural boundaries. In some sorts of angle those restrictions are real act of autonomy from the view of the service providers. On the other hand, those kinds of situations are destroying the wish, desire, will and freedom of many tourists groups (Dann, 1996, 2000; Franklin, 2003; Heimtun, 2007; Lim, 2007; Selänniemi, Smith, & Brent, 2001). Moreover, in the analytical article of Deborah P. is an analysis about a guide book based on the travelling plan in India. Though this sort of guide book is mostly followed by many independent western tourists during their travel, still neither the European tourists nor the western tourists are socially, culturally and politically free movers in a kind of destination like India. That means, still the foreign tourists have some sort of boundaries not to get involved with the local poverty or vandalizing or dangerous type of activities. The European and the western tourists are always highly secured, whereas; the local people are not at all, specifically in those south Asian countries like India, Pakistan, Nepal etc. Furthermore, in the Arabic countries like UAE, Saudi Arab, Bahrain etc. have got restrictions of dressing up too. So therefore, in those kinds of places tourists don’t have really a proper freedom, the tourists are more or less restricted (Bhattacharyya, 1997; Lim, 2007).


The comparison of social control and autonomy in tourism has been interpreted in the interview of Zygmunt Bauman which is summarized by Adrian Franklin. Moreover, to the contrary, the analytical article by Bente Heimtun 2007, ‘Depathologizing the tourist syndrome’ has demonstrated the comparison from the contrasting perspective of the interview of Zygmunt. So the discussion of comparisons has been interpreted as follows.


In theme: In a closer vision, there could clearly have a similarity between social control and autonomy in tourism. If we go through the themes of both facts then it is clear that autonomy has got the influence from the perspective of service providers, on the other hand, in few other tourism locations where there is no political, social and cultural un-stability, autonomy has got the influence from the perspective of tourist groups. In these two articles, the authors have provided of two new theme terms: Mixophobia and Mixophilia (Franklin, 2003; Heimtun, 2007).

In perspective: In terms of service provider perspective, for example, with the article about the hotel in Himalaya by Lim 2007, there, the hotel owner has got the freedom of choice of the service on dominating all over because of the socio-economic and political capability. On the other hand, from the tourist’s perspective, the tourists are quite safe in such kind of society to be guest of this kind of powerful person within the area, in a sense.

In argument : Most of these above mentioned articles are established on self- analytical, interview, survey and overall self-reporting works. So, in terms of argumentation there are controversies among these two terms. As the authors have named them Mixophobia; which is for social control and Mixophilia; which is autonomy, freedom of choice and individualism. They are connected to each other. For example, if the individual is not socially controlled, there is a chance to be involved in illegal acts, so that, on the other hand, that’s why it is significant to exist of autonomy too. Because, strict rules could be able to assist to keep safe the tourists groups from danger in a different society or tourism location. Thus, so many of the tourism locations without the existence of social control would become un-visit able.


Theme wise : Theme wise differences have been given in two different terms such as: Mixophobia- this is an idea about the panicking of an unfamiliar places, faces, environment, characters etc. So, this kind of feeling may cause less interest of visiting a new different society, where tourists can feel unsecured in that place (Franklin, 2003; Heimtun, 2007). For this kind of situation some sorts of social control has got significant impact.



ISBN (eBook)
407 KB
Institution / Hochschule
Universitetet i Stavanger




Titel: The relationship between tourism, sociology and social control