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Title: Empowerment through education : tour operators promoting gender equality through capacity building in destination communities
Author: Eger, Claudia
ISNI:       0000 0004 5923 3319
Awarding Body: University of Surrey
Current Institution: University of Surrey
Date of Award: 2016
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This research critiques the relationship between tour operators and destination communities with a key focus on capacity building and gender (dis)empowerment in the context of education. Capacity building processes are studied employing social learning theory to enable an interconnected investigation of different capacity building levels and the ways in which these influence and are influenced by gender. The research critiques tour operators’ selection of destination projects, analysing the intended and unintended effects of an education project for girls situated in the High Atlas Mountains of Morocco. A dialogue between theory, context and partial perspectives is established through the adoption of an Islamic feminist framework, challenging dominant understandings and fostering the creation of differences from within. Using the case of the Education for All project, findings reveal that caring at a distance is a crucial element of responsible action in tourism. Tour operators’ investment in destination projects emerges primarily through an ethic of care between them and destination communities, with multiple layers of shared, performed and displaced responsibility underpinning this business practise. However, with no formal frameworks in existence, tour operators’ selection of projects depends upon emergent strategies that connect the professional with the personal, with trust being positioned as a central driver of these informal processes. With regard to destination communities, lived experience and informal education are identified as core components of capacity building processes. Friendship is equated to the meaning of education, with empowerment being re-negotiated as learning to be responsible for the self. This understanding challenges local interpretations of equality based on gendered notions of respect. Women’s increasing sense of responsibility, confidence and competence has the potential to problematize relations of (dis)respect and the role and position of women within society. Two recommendations to aid in this process were developed: anti-gossip campaigns and mentoring schemes.
Supervisor: Scarles, Caroline ; Miller, Graham Sponsor: Economic and Social Research Council
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available