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Structural approach to power in planning

While the study of power relations within an integrated tourism network largely applies post-modern approaches to power (i.e. Foucault), there is utility in the application of structural approaches (i.e. Marx, Gramsci and Althusser). For example, gender can be a barrier to participation in the tourism planning process. Duffy et al. (2012) explored the ways in which gender ideology influenced a community-based tourism planning process in a rural Ecuadorian community. The existing machismo-marianismo gender ideology influenced the ways in which women were involved in the planning process and how they perceived themselves being situated in the tourism industry in the future. Tucker and Boonabaana (2012) found a number of socio-cultural factors constrained (and enabled) participation of women in tourism development in Uganda and Turkey.

Race is also a structural barrier to participation, though there is a paucity of studies explicitly investigating this issue. Alderman (2013), for example, has identified the complex and conflicted history between tourism and hospitality and African Americans, noting that promotion and marketing campaigns in tourism are still markedly segregated. Relatedly, there is some attention being given to the involvement of racial minority counter-narratives that depart from the normative white narrative in the production of tourism heritage. For example, Barton and Leonard (2010) examined tourism as a mechanism for reconciliation through a tourism planning process that aimed to bring together perspectives of whites and African Americans in developing a tourism product that represents racial reconciliation in the Deep South. In their discussion, they also noted that inequality is not just along the lines of economic impact, but also in how narratives are represented in heritage tourism products. Further, in their project in the Mississippi Delta, they not only created a tourism narrative of reconciliation, but the planning process itself became a form of racial reconciliation as a discourse of social justice emerged for the participants. Thus, ‘inequities arise in the construction of the narrative, as some voices are better represented than others, and some may be excluded entirely’ (Barton and Leonard, 2010, p. 300).

In addition to gender and race, there is a multitude of other constructs that could and should be considered (e.g. nationality, ethnicity, religion) and there needs to be an appreciation of the intersections of these social structures. Additionally, a weakness of a structural approach to understanding inequality and oppression is that variations are not always dealt with appropriately. An integrated planning process should consider the unique cultural, political, historical and economic contexts in order to deal with these barriers effectively.

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