Arctic Yearbook 2014 - Page 276

276       Arctic Yearbook 2014 the lowest scores are in ‘government prioritization of the T&T industry’ (64), and ‘T&T government expenditure’ (100) (World Economic Forum 2013). In 2012 the tourism industry accounted for 3% of Sweden’s total GNP, which is a larger percentage than agriculture, forestry, mining or fisheries account for (SAERG, 2012). Despite its economic significance worldwide, the tourism industry is vulnerable in three main ways: (1) it includes small scaled businesses which are highly market sensitive; (2) it is categorized in the service sector where employees generally have the very lowest salaries; and (3) it is highly dependent on the carrying capacity of ecosystems. While tourism is generally treated as a solution to many economic, social and environmental challenges worldwide the sector’s vulnerability lies in its lack of recognition as an employing industry and therefore lacks the agenda to impact development in an encompassing and sustainable manner (WTO 2011). This contradiction stalls the sector’s development globally, which in turn has an impact on all tourism activity. Methodology This participatory action research (PAR) encompasses a social constructionist view of socioecological systems theory. Through the lens of micro social constructionism (as proposed by Burr 2003), claims about the constructed reality of a certain practice can only be made by descriptions of “what people at a particular time and place take as real, how they construct their views and actions, when different constructions arise, whose constructions become taken as definitive, and how that process ensues” (Bryant & Charmaz 2010: 610). Inquiring about people’s reality should have a direct purpose for those individuals themselves, empowering local expertise while providing tools that facilitate the discussion. After all, “individuals are the experts of their own lives” (Esterberg 2001: 136) and should thus be active participants in creating data about their community. Describing the experience of each person around a constructed reality is too complicated to be represented without any kind of generalization in order to identify phenomena of interest. In order to explain the dynamics of the system of tourism practice in Gunnarsbyn, a participatory systems analysis was incorporated into a semi-structured interview design where the goal was to “explore a topic more openly and to allow interviewees to express their opinions and ideas in their own words” (Esterberg 2001: 87). The first part of the interview included open questions about work and perceptions of sustainable development. The second part of the interview aimed to tie the wider discussion down to concrete descriptions of the dynamics of their system with participatory modeling. Participatory modeling has mostly been used in formal public participation processes, which usually are done in large groups and contain quantitative modeling methods (Mendoza & Prabhu 2006). Cognitive or qualitative modeling, on the other hand, is considered appropriate as a scoping method to identify key concepts and variables. In this study, qualitative system analysis was applied to gain information about the perceived relationship between variables by adding a positive or negative value to the relationship (Haraldsson 2004). The interviewees were asked to draw models, using the method Causal Loop Diagrams (CLDs), not including a time range or space for change; rather it was   Work Creates Community