Host gazes from an Islamic island: challenging homogeneous resident perception orthodoxies

Tamara Young, Dian Yulie Reindrawati, Kevin Lyons, Patricia Johnson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Citations (Scopus)


Resident perception research orthodoxies have dominated academic literature for the past two decades. Homogenised host gaze outcomes have been crafted from decades of surveys that largely overlook the perspectives of non-Western less-developed host communities, including residents of remote island locations. Indeed, despite the popularity of islands as destinations, little is known about residents’ interpretations of tourism prior to the potential influx of tourists. Our study focuses on the meanings of tourism and variations of the host gaze that emerge from interviews with individual residents in a devout Islamic island community. The island of Madura, located off the coast of Java in Indonesia, has only recently been established and promoted as a tourist destination. A critical symbolic interactionist approach provides a method for exploring diverse meanings associated with tourism as they emerge in a particular social context, providing nuanced insights into meaning making that perception based analyses are unlikely to reveal. The findings of the qualitative analysis coalesce around five discursive themes: advancing enterprise, economic mobility, pilgrimage, moral decline, and commodification. Each of these discourses are dynamic and embed both positive and negative sentiments that challenge the notion of a homogenous host gaze. Rather, these discourses reflect the multiple gazes that emerge in the religio-cultural milieu that comprises Madura Island.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)599-622
Number of pages24
JournalTourism Geographies
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2021


  • host gaze
  • host perceptions
  • Indonesia
  • Islamic tourism
  • Island tourism
  • Madura
  • religio-cultural
  • symbolic interactionism


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