Title: David Harrison: a career in the anthropology of tourism and the sociology of development

Authors: Kevin A. Yelvington

Addresses: Department of Anthropology, University of South Florida, 4202 E. Fowler Ave. SOC107, Tampa, FL 33620-8100, USA

Abstract: This paper analyses the career of the sociologist/social anthropologist of tourism David Harrison. An important figure in tourism studies across disciplinary boundaries and regional specialisation, Harrison went from academic appointments in Britain to the University of the South Pacific in Fiji and back to Britain again, conducting field studies in the Caribbean, Africa, Europe, and Asia and the Pacific. He engaged in and anticipated theoretical debates in the anthropology of tourism and the sociology of development, publishing key books, articles, and book chapters. In this paper, Harrison discusses the main theoretical position he came to take up. This entailed a political economy position that simultaneously considered the interaction of world economic and political systems with local systems of behaviour and meaning, yet based on empirical first-hand research, all with a kind of fundamental skepticism of foregone conclusions offered by pre-approved orthodox theories. The paper provides detailed information on Harrison's early life and unconventional path to the profession, his theoretical influences and directions, and his career trajectory.

Keywords: David Harrison; anthropology of tourism; tourism and development; sociology of development; development theory; political economy; history of social science.

DOI: 10.1504/IJTA.2020.113929

International Journal of Tourism Anthropology, 2020 Vol.8 No.1, pp.60 - 78

Received: 27 Oct 2020
Accepted: 31 Oct 2020

Published online: 21 Mar 2021 *

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