Getting Lost in the Field

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    This article explores the notion of "meditations" or a "meditative stance" in fieldwork, understood as shorthand for the simple practices of walking and sensing. I advocate an understanding of meditations as an alternative embodied mode of research that seeks to contemplate how a reflective attention to walking as a reflective engagement in a sensory landscape may be enrolled as embodied ways of knowing. Meditation performs the touristic and mobile body as a porous and affective site. Moving around on foot creates a sensibility that is often ignored when researchers and practitioners in information technology (IT) attend to the field to learn about tourism in ways that seek to inform design. This article attempts to open a discussion around what kinds of fieldwork and subsequent representations emphasize embodiment in the design of tourism technologies—how, in other words, researchers can attend to, and represent, the affective, vital qualities of living with technology and why this might be an increasingly relevant question to ask in the field that has become known as digital tourism. Stressing the inherent openness and contingency of meditation, the article hopes to stir the imaginative registers of scholars and to engender a postdisciplinary dialogue that challenges the field of IT design and information systems research to engage with vulnerable and open discourses in nonrepresentational theory, theories of affect, and place that have been consistently raised in human—or cultural—geography as well as anthropology in the past decades. The article weaves empirical incidents from fieldwork into a postdisciplinary theoretical landscape that spans mobilities, affect, the sensual, and embodiment. Emphasizing learning through the senses and the body and their importance to a sensory apprenticeship, the article suggests alternative routes to knowing and representation in the study of, and ultimately the design for, the digital tourist.
    Original languageEnglish
    JournalTourism Analysis
    Issue number4
    Pages (from-to)417-430
    Number of pages14
    Publication statusPublished - 2016


    • Embodiment
    • Technologies
    • Walking

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