Raoul Bianchi - University of East London
(Wageningen Geography Lectures 2012-2013)
This presentation draws upon scholarly work carried out over the past twenty years or so to deliver a considered reflection on the current state of the political economy of tourism development: its influences, insights and theoretical directions. Specifically, it reflects upon its relative neglect within tourism research and the development literature in general, at least up until the recent publication of a number of critical, theoretically eclectic publications (See Mosedale 2011), and empirically-grounded studies (Chin 2008; Clancy 1999, 2008; Hazbun 2008; Steiner 2006). I will consider what contribution, if any, can be made by Marxian theories and radical political economy (but not exclusively) to the globalisation and political economy of contemporary process of tourism development in a world dominated by fundamental realignments of power and shifting centres of accumulation. Notwithstanding the withering critiques of underdevelopment/dependency theories (cf. Booth 1985; Harrison 2001), much of it warranted, and the challenge to structuralist thinking posed by the recent ‘critical turn’ in tourism studies (Ateljevic et al, 2007), the recent financial crash and the ensuing Eurozone crisis that has enveloped the southern European economies in particular, in which tourism features very strongly, together with the shifting geometries of global economic and corporate power, challenge us to reformulate and reinforce a radical political economy of international tourism, suited to the 21st century.