Going on holiday to come home: Understanding Singaporean families through studying tourism

Cheong, Yinn Shan, and Sin, Harng Luh (2021) Going on holiday to come home: Understanding Singaporean families through studying tourism. Tourism Geographies, 23 (4). pp. 765-786.

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Abstract

Family holidays have become a ubiquitous cultural norm – imagined as the epitome of family togetherness and encapsulated through the production of ‘happy family’ photographs. The pressure to conform to ‘naturalized’ idealizations of the family is underpinned by pervasive family ideology that remain hegemonic, despite the changing structures of modern family life. But how exactly does the ‘happy family’ materialise through tourism practices? What is it about the tourism time-space that differentiates it from home, transforming the ordinary family holiday into an extraordinary obligation that desires to be performed? These questions warrant an investigation into the exceptionalism of the family holiday, and we answer them by deconstructing the dilemma between the expectations and lived realities of modern family life, using the typical Singaporean nuclear family as an empirical lens. By amalgamating an ‘everyday geographies’ conceptual approach with Gilligan’s (1982) ‘feminist ethics of care’ perspective, the paper re-examines the seemingly banal practices of carework on the family holiday. It draws its findings from qualitative data based on focus group discussions conducted with five Singaporean families and an autoethnography of the first author’s family holidays. The paper reveals that carework practices on holiday are perceived as a means for families to authenticate nostalgic identities about what a family is – perceived to be lost in modern life. These acts transform the holiday into a home-away-from-home, underpinned by a prioritisation of familial relationship. Hence, this paper conceptually formulates a reinterpretation of ‘feminist ethics of care’ as a morality whose salience through holiday practices renews family relationships of care with each recurring episode of the family holiday. This theorisation elucidates that the family tourism time-space is exceptional, simultaneously ordinary and extraordinary, existing in-between home and away. Through its (re)production of the ‘happy family’ identity, going on holiday has become one of the few ways of coming back home to the family.

Item ID: 73855
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 1470-1340
Copyright Information: © 2019 Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group
Date Deposited: 19 May 2022 01:20
FoR Codes: 35 COMMERCE, MANAGEMENT, TOURISM AND SERVICES > 3508 Tourism > 350806 Tourist behaviour and visitor experience @ 30%
44 HUMAN SOCIETY > 4406 Human geography > 440610 Social geography @ 30%
44 HUMAN SOCIETY > 4410 Sociology > 441009 Sociology of family and relationships @ 40%
SEO Codes: 11 COMMERCIAL SERVICES AND TOURISM > 1104 Tourism services > 110402 Socio-cultural issues in tourism @ 50%
23 LAW, POLITICS AND COMMUNITY SERVICES > 2305 Work and labour market > 230505 Work and family responsibilities @ 50%
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