'Journeys in Second Life' - Iranian Muslim women's behaviour in virtual tourist destinations

Rokhshad Tavakoli*, Paolo Mura

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

57 Citations (Scopus)


While corporeal patterns of mobility continue to increase, virtual tourism has become a widespread social practice in contemporary society. Despite this, tourists' experiences in virtual tourist destinations remain relatively unexplored. This is particularly true if Iranian women's gendered identities and patterns of behaviour in virtual tourist destinations are referred to. In order to fill this gap, this paper explores Iranian female tourists' patterns of behaviour travelling in Second Life. Driven by an interpretivist approach, this study employs virtual ethnography, also known as netnography. The findings show that in virtual tourist spaces the participants reject 'subordinated' gender-based stereotypes concerning Muslim women's bodily representations in Iran. However, their gendered performances also accept other 'subordinated' stereotypical representations of femininity, mostly reiterated by the media in many Western societies. Overall, this paper provides a more in-depth understanding of Iranian women's tourist behaviour in virtual tourist destinations, a topic neglected by tourism academics.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)398-407
Number of pages10
JournalTourism Management
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2015
Externally publishedYes


  • Gender
  • Iran
  • Netnography
  • Religion
  • Second Life
  • Tourist behaviour
  • Virtual tourism
  • Women

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Development
  • Transportation
  • Tourism, Leisure and Hospitality Management
  • Strategy and Management


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