The Role of Paradigmatic Approach in Conceptualizing Interdisciplinary Studies on Spiritual Tourism

Document Type: Critical and theoretical research


1 Assistant Professor, Allameh Tabatabai University, Tehran, Iran

2 Ph.D. Candidate, Alzahra University, Tehran, Iran



Comprehensive and reliable conceptual definition of concepts can be considered as the first step toward managing the phenomena based on those concepts. Spiritual tourism is a multidimensional phenomenon with different mixed concepts such as spiritual experience, spiritual tourist, achieving spirituality through tourism, deepening and institutionalizing spirituality perception (experience), training and learning spirituality (spiritual experiences), development planning, spiritual tourism economics, and spiritual tourism marketing. The mentioned concepts are formed in dialectical models that are influenced by disciplines such as geography, history, economics, management, religion, and mysticism. Regardless of the level and the type of combination of concepts, the definition of these concepts may be different in various paradigms due to the differences in assumptions, ontology, epistemology and methodology of different paradigms. Such a different even makes the spiritual tourism’s definition process more difficult.
Spiritual tourism has already common definitions in literature that are not formally classified based on various paradigms’ assumptions; and have not been specified by the tourists under which paradigm that they are formed. Therefore, in this paper, the concept of spiritual tourism is reviewed from the perspective of different paradigms such as positivism, critical romanticism, post-modernism, critical realism, and pragmatism and new definitions are extracted. Based on the results of this article, the passage from abstract concepts to operational concepts in the field of spiritual tourism has been smoother. Besides, a more sustainable vision has been created about how to create and disseminate knowledge in the field of spiritual tourism.
Hence, the main aim and contribution of this article is to extract the different conceptual definitions of spiritual tourism in different paradigms, in order to provide a reliable paradigm conceptual definition of tourism spiritual. The present paper concluded that a reliable and comprehensive definition of spiritual tourism can be provided in Pragmatism Paradigm framework.
 This pragmatic definition can be used as a base for future planning, management, marketing, and other operational and administrative applications.