Open Access Journal

ISSN: 2183-2439

Article | Open Access

Geomedia Perspectives for Multiple Futures in Tourism Development

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Abstract:  This article draws on five participatory action research studies to address how geomedia theory can induce multiple imaginations of the future. Critical future research advocates that societies need to collectively create visions of multiple futures, transcending the single rational (neoliberal) future path. The studies were conducted in collaboration with rural communities and local tourism entrepreneurs who were exploring geomedia technologies to develop destinations. The tourism sector uses geomedia technologies but often depends on commercial platforms that seek upscaling and generalisation, becoming detached from local practices and place-specific settings. By applying critical geomedia studies, we problematised the relationship between people, place, and technology in the present, the past, and the future. Geomedia studies provided a critical lens that provoked future visions beyond preformatted technological infrastructures and media practices. The participants were asked to engage with complex issues such as access, restrictions, equality, authority, and legitimacy in relation to the specific place, bringing forth a multitude of local assets and narratives envisioning alternative geomedia technologies. As a result of this process, participants paid greater attention to local assets, gained a more critical approach towards technology, and dared to use digital solutions in a more visionary manner. We, therefore, argue that researchers need to engage with society to bypass hegemonic geomedia representations. By illustrating how geomedia theory can be utilised within community development, we provide a framework for how collaborative research can more explicitly engage with local actors’ thoughts and imaginings of possible futures.

Keywords:  collaborative research; destination development; geomedia; multiple futures; participatory action research; representations

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DOI: https://doi.org/10.17645/mac.8157


© Lotta Braunerhielm, Laila Gibson, Linda Ryan Bengtsson. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 license (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0), which permits any use, distribution, and reproduction of the work without further permission provided the original author(s) and source are credited.