Domestic tourists 4WDing in Central Australia
: implications for desert Aboriginal people

  • Damien Samuel Jacobsen

    Student thesis: Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) - CDU


    The question of what being a domestic tourist might actually mean has attracted limited inquiry despite the volume of research dedicated to tourists and tourist experiences in the literature. The present study engages with this dilemma because it sought to understand challenges domestic 4WD tourists travelling in desert Australia may herald for desert Aboriginal people involved in tourism. The study implements a research design combining Gadamer’s philosophical hermeneutics and visitor employed photography to consider how Being a domestic tourist may involve an ontological situation characterised by constitutive belonging. Using interpretive findings from a small sample of domestic tourists on a 4WD tag-along tour in Central Australia, this study acts as a step towards broader future inquiry. The findings suggest that the agency of the domestic tourists in this study reveals and upholds an idealised manner of historically constituted Being inherited from their dwelling within a broad community: Australia. As such, the domestic tourists in the study are proposed to uphold an inalienable relation with Central Australia. The study suggests that their Being is characterised by a situated freedom of perceiving Central Australian landscapes in accordance with their broad understanding and sense of belonging to Australia. The findings highlighted their avoidance of Aboriginal cultural landscape meaning that may have been intrinsic to their manner of Being. Further, the findings suggest that the domestic tourists in the study may have perceived 4WDing as symbiotic with idealised landscape conditions (the Outback), while also emulating a historically conditioned agency they perceived was available to them in Central Australia. The study findings raise various implications to inform future inquiry into the involvement of desert Aboriginal people in tourism, domestic tourism and desert 4WD tourism.
    Date of Award2010
    Original languageEnglish
    SupervisorPascal Tremblay (Supervisor) & Dean Carson (Supervisor)

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