ABSTRACT

Using oral history for tourism research seems to fit well in an environment where social science is criticised for trying to predict and emulate the natural sciences. In particular, where there is a call for investigation into the local, national and global problems that we all experience, oral history can offer a useful tool for communicating and constituting findings from these investigations in ways that relate to our values and understanding of the world (Flyvberg 2001). The suggestion that tourism ethnography would benefit from more reflexivity and an incorporation of more of the local and advocacy is further evidence that there is room for an oral history approach. This is especially the case when there has been an intimation of a demand for short-term ways to intensively research mobile communities and to contextualise this research into the longer-term life ways of the participants (Graburn 2002). Back (2007: 7), too, says ‘We need to find more ways to engage with the ordinary yet remarkable things found in everyday life.’ Yet despite these views, oral history is a topic that is relatively unexplored in tourism ethnography. This chapter seeks to define and discuss the benefits of oral history in an attempt to address this imbalance.