Spatiality of power surrounding "the Nenets'" involvement in local tourism industry development

GORBUNTSOVA, Tatiana (2016). Spatiality of power surrounding "the Nenets'" involvement in local tourism industry development. Doctoral, Sheffield Hallam University.

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The importance of power structure analysis in tourism studies is appreciated by academic scholars based on the fact that the tourism industry is a capitalist activity concerned with wealth production, accumulation and distribution. This is the power structure that serves to reproduce and condition different modes of tourism industry development and, as a consequence, diverse outcomes for the local economy in general and its players specifically. However, under the influence of Karl Marx, theorists using critical approaches to research power have tended to focus on issues around the equality of power relationships between actors or stakeholders. In doing so, it may be argued that what is missing are the diverse geographies of power and, in particular, the inherently spatial nature of power, including the involvement of social relations in both space and power (Lefebvre, 1976; 1991). In order to address this, the present study focuses on the exploration of the spatiality of power that surrounds tourism industry development. A conceptual framework, based on the application of Lefebvre’s (1991) concepts supplemented by Gaventa’s (2004) ‘power cube’, placed in the broader context of Marx’ political economy and ‘Historical Materialism’, has been developed. The case study locality is in a country with a non-colonial past, being in transition from socialism to capitalism, with the tourism industry at an early stage of its development. Of core interest to the study is the spatiality of power which frames local tourism industry development, the relationships between the indigenous reindeer herders, “the Nenets”, local non-indigenous tour operators, indigenous travel agencies and the government in Yamal in the Yamal-Nenets Autonomous Okrug (YNAO) of the Russian Federation. Based on the aim to access the respondents’ subjective comprehension and evaluation of spatiality of power, the research is positioned in neo-empiricism and uses qualitative methods of data collection and analysis. The major theoretical findings confirm Marx’ theory of ‘Historical Materialism’. In these terms, they support Marx’ (1974), Lefebvre’s (1991), Webster et. al.’s (2001) and O’Neil’s (2007) beliefs that, formed under the historical conditions, political economy regime influences “The Production of Space” and the associated spatiality of power (Lefebvre, 1991). The findings also support the conception of social space theorised by Lefebvre (1991) in terms of the interwoven nature of mental and material constructions of space. In this, the findings do not support Karl Marx and Georg Hegel, as well as their followers amongst tourism scholars, prioritizing material constructions of space over mental (for example, regulationists, comparative and Marxist political economists) or vice versa (for example, advocates of cultural political economy and alternative/post-structural political economy). Additional findings made do not support the existence of ‘false consciousness’ amongst the representatives from “the Nenets”, indigenous travel agencies and non-indigenous tour operators; the relationships of dependency between “the Nenets”, local non-indigenous tour operators and indigenous travel agencies based on the possession by “the Nenets” the ‘means of production’; and the existence of power everywhere promoted by Foucault. For future studies on spatiality of power it would be worthwhile to include the ‘expressions of power’ (‘power within’, ‘power to’ and ‘power with’) offered by VeneKlasen & Miller (2002) to complement Lefebvre’s (1991) ‘spatial triad’ and Gaventa’s (2006) ‘power cube’.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Thesis advisor - Palmer, Nicola [0000-0001-7916-139X]
Thesis advisor - Dobson, Stephen
Research Institute, Centre or Group - Does NOT include content added after October 2018: Sheffield Hallam Doctoral Theses
Depositing User: Helen Garner
Date Deposited: 13 Feb 2017 14:58
Last Modified: 03 May 2023 02:00

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