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Social and Political Perspectives on Tourism

Social and Political Perspectives on Tourism (TOU3098M)                   Heather Hughes

15 credits; level 3; Term 2

This module is taken by all students on undergraduate Tourism degrees.

The focus of the module is the ways in which access to tourism is shaped by political and social factors (class, gender, nationality and so on). It attempts to push boundaries (for example by trying to understand travel socialisation) and to rescue neglected areas from scholarly condescension, such as caravanning along Britain’s coastline.

Element of discovery: For each of the topics covered through class discussion, students are encouraged to collect data about themselves and their families and to relate it to the more disembodied, academic literature. Not only does this allow a strong element of reflexivity in learning but also, over several years, an interesting data bank of material will be built up. The assessment models a real-life research experience, a conference.

Element of Technology in teaching:   The students’ virtual conference is conducted over a five-day period, live on the web.  Technology is therefore central to the realisation of the assessment.

Element of Space and spatiality: For the past two years, UoL students have joined their peers from the University of Wolverhampton for the virtual conference. The question of space therefore relates to the virtual kind: the conference would not be possible without the technology, and the conference takes on a very ‘real’ flavour when participants only meet in cyberspace, since they do not share a physical sense of spatiality.

Element of Active learning in communities in assessment and feedback:   Students are strongly encouraged to use the conference website before the actual conference to chat and exchange ideas. Because the conference takes place across two campuses, social media such as Facebook tend to be more important than VLES in the preparatory phases of the conference: encouraging group discussion around key conference themes and so on.

Element of Research and evaluation: Students are encouraged to undertake a small amount of ‘primary’ research for their conference papers – as also for various themes that are explored in seminars. Student and external examiner feedback on the virtual conference has been very positive every year.

Element of Student voice: New in 2012: students will be participating at the start of the module in designing the conference theme for the year.

Visit the conference web site at

TSVC website
TSVC website


Social and Political Perspectives on Tourism Module Guide

Social and Political Perspectives on Tourism Conference Invitation

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