Geography of Absence
Geography of Absence

Geography of Absence


Focus on the To Have an Impact structure

We are conducting sociological research on travel, on microadventures, on our practices.

Why are we doing this?

  • Because our lives are rich and must be analyzed.
  • To give a voice to everyone about travel, vacations, nature.
  • To show the conscious and unconscious brakes that determine the ways of traveling and going on vacation.

It seems important that we can build knowledge from our experiences, make these experiences legitimate through research. All this in the interest of fighting and overcoming inequalities and relationships of domination in society.

Our hypotheses (from the French point of view):

  • When we are a woman, there are limiting factors to travel and travel in nature
  • When you come from an immigrant background and/or from a working or middle class background, travelling in nature is not envisaged or it is restricted
  • When you come from an immigrant background and/or from a working or middle class background, travel is rather considered as a space of consumption, of space, of landscape, of local activities
  • Depending on the level of study (baccalaureate, baccalaureate +5) and the type of study (business, social sciences), there is a preferred type of travel

Our method:
Sociological interviews, surveys (via Instagram), micro-trottoirs, informal discussions and a lot of reading!

Ilyass’ point of view :
After some experiences in the wild, I share with you my observations about the practices and nonpractices of minorities (underrepresented groups) in natural spaces.
Individuals who are part of religious (Islam) or ethnic (African, Asian etc.) minorities tend to favor “high social” trips. They will look for destinations that are “dreamy” in order to prove their success. For example, if they had the choice between La Rochelle, Marseille or the Pyrenees in bivouac, “the question is quickly answered”.

Why would certain types of destinations be more popular than others?
Social representations have an important role. Indeed, it is better to relax in a 5 star hotel with swimming pool in Marbella than to swim in a lake and sleep in a tent.

  • First, the discomfort of this way of traveling/living and the effort involved is a deterrent. Also, some people will see this as a “bum” way to travel.
  • Secondly: the entourage and social networks exert a strong pressure on the individual who travels. they will need to prove themselves to them. I will not teach you that in the world of social networks, it is much more stylish to say “I went to New York” rather than to the Alps or the Jura (mountains). Social networks have created a stigma. To be “validated”, you have to visit “Instagrammable” places and location plays an important role. Going far away is to show your wealth or to make people believe that you have this wealth.
  • Thirdly: the image that travel reflects. Some stigmatized people will associate activities such as hiking, bivouac as being activities of “babtou”, of white people.

Of course, I too would like to visit New York. But the problem is that what we will see in New York, we have already seen on our screens. Sleeping under the stars, being happy to arrive at the top of a mountain or savoring fruit found on the road are not emotions that can be transmitted through screens. You have to live it.
The problem with these trips is that our social environment does not value it.

Some people will travel to feel these strong emotions as well as to acquire an enriching experience. Others will travel to show that they travel. They will choose a destination based on its social status rather than its cultural aspects for example.
They don’t travel for themselves but to differentiate themselves from the people in their group. Saint Tropez is certainly a beautiful seaside resort, but sometimes, it is necessary to know how to leave the beaten path and its comfort zone to discover the world.Of course, many of the elements I mentioned are not only about minorities (underrepresented groups) and we should study more globally the people of the working and middle class.
As Will Smith said, “some people will do things they don’t like, to please people they don’t like.”