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.


Abtahi, S. H. (2003). Non-dogmatic realism in Popper's critical
philosophy, Zehn, summer, Issue 14 (In Farsi).
Aggarwal B.B., Kunnumakkara A.B., Harikumar K.B., Tharakan S.T., Sung B., Anand P. (2008). Potential of spice-derived phytochemicals for cancer prevention. Planta Med.;74:1560
Alavi Pour, Sayed M., et al (2014), theoretical foundations and
methodology of interdisciplinary studies, Institute of Social and
Cultural Studies (In Farsi).
Asadi, A. (2000) Organizational Structure of University Libraries, Iran
University Information and Documentation Center (In Farsi).
Ashtryan, K. (2011), Introduction to Interdisciplinary (interdisciplinary
studies), Ph.D. textbook of modern tools of research, faculty of
law and political science, Tehran University (In Farsi).
Brown JM. (1998). Self-regulation and the addictive behaviors. In: Miller WR, Heather N, editors. Treating addictive behaviors. 2. New York: Plenum Press; 1998. pp. 6173. Castells, M. (2006). The Information Age: Economy, Society, and
Culture (Rise of the Network Society), translated into Farsi by
Afshin Khakbaz and A. Aligholian, Tarheno Publications,
Tehran, Fifth Edition(In Farsi).
Denzin, and Y. S. Lincoln (Eds.), (2005), Handbook of Qualitative
Research (pp. 163188). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.
Guba, E (1991) Paradigm Dialog, Newbury Park, CA, Sage.
, Wouter J. (1999), New Age Spiritualties as Secular
Religion: a Historian's Perspective First Published June 1.

Haq, F., Jackson, J., Wong, H. (2008). Marketing spiritual tourism:
qualitative interviews with private tourism operators in Pakistan,
refereed paper presented at Australia and New Zealand Academy
of Marketing Conference (ANZMAC), University of Western
Sydney, Sydney, Australia.
Hatch, Mary Jo (2014), Organization Theory: Modern, Symbolic, and
Postmodern interpretation, translated into Farsi by Danaeefard,
KetabeMehrabaneNashr publications (In Farsi).
Layon, David (2001), postmodernism, translated into Farsi by Mohsen
Hakimi, Tehran, Ashtian Publications (In Farsi).
Lincoln, Y. S., and E. G. Guba (2005) Paradigmatic Controversies,
Contradictions, and Emerging Confluences. In N. K.
Mal Leicester (2000), Spiritual and religious education, famer Press. Marsh, David and Jerry Stoker (2008), method and theory in political
science, translated into Farsi by Amir Mohammad Haji Yousefi,
Institute for Strategic Studies (In Farsi).
McAuley, John, J. Duberly and Phil Johnson (2010), organizational
theory: Challenges and Perspectives. Translated into Farsi by
Danaeefard. H, University of Imam Sadeq (AS) (In Farsi).
Mintel, (2009), Skiing Holidays, Mintel, London. Mohammad Khani, AR (2009), explaining the approach of neorealism
in International Relations, Political Studies, Spring, Issue 3(In

Nabavian, Syed Amir (2016), interdisciplinary studies and
methodological pluralism: some considerations and suggestions,
Interdisciplinary Studies in the Humanities, Volume VIII,
Number 2, Spring 2016(In Farsi).
Naroui Nosrati, Rahim (2005), the spirituality: the human ego,
Maarefat Publications, No. 87(In Farsi).
Raj, R., Morpeth, N. D. (2007). Religious tourism and pilgrimage
festivals management: An international perspective, CABI
Publishers, Oxford.
Razi Ahmad and Abdullah Raz (2013), literary criticize:
interdisciplinary approach, available online: Farsi).
Rezvani, M., A. Azar and Pervez Ahmedi (2009), reviewing of the
paradigm foundations in interdisciplinary studies (case study:
Entrepreneurial Marketing), Interdisciplinary Studies in
Humanities, Volume II, Number 1, winter 2009(In Farsi).
Richard C. Bush (1982), The religious word, Macmillan Pub.C. Rinschede, G. (1992). Forms of Religious Tourism. Annals of Tourism
Research, 19: 51 67.

Rousseau, D. (2013) Systems Philosophy and the Unity of Knowledge,
forthcoming in Systems Research and Behavioral Science.
Saberian, F. (2015). conceptualizing of spiritual tourism with an
emphasis on anthropological views of Allameh Tabatabai (RA),
Master Thesis, University of Allameh Tabatabai (RA) (In
Shackley, M. (2002). 'Space, sanctity, and service; the English
Cathedral as heterotopia', The International Journal of Tourism
Research, vol. 4, no. 5, pp. 345-352.
Sharpley, R., Sundaram, P 2005, „Tourism: a sacred journey? The case
of Ashram tourism, India‟, The International Journal of
Tourism Research, Vol. 7, No. 3, pp. 161-171.

Sharpley, R., Jepson, D. (2011). Rural tourism: A spiritual experience,
Annals of Tourism Research, vol. 38, no. 1, pp. 52-71.
Shojaee, Hussein, Abbas Mossalaee pour and Sajjad Asadbeigy,
requirements of interdisciplinary research in the Qur'an, relying
on the levels of epistemology, terminology and methodology,
Interdisciplinary Studies in the Humanities, Volume VII, Issue
4, Fall of 2015(In Farsi).
Smith, V. L. (1992). The Quest in Guest. Annals of Tourism Research,
19: 1-9
Timothy, D. J., Olsen, D. H. (2006). Tourism and religious journeys, in
D. J. Timothy and D. H. Olsen (eds.), Tourism, Religion and
Spiritual Journeys, Routledge, New York, Tourism Research,
vol. 38, no. 1, pp. 90-109.
Vukonic, B. (1996). Tourism and Religion. Oxford: Pergamon. Wright, Andrew, (2000), Spirituality and Education, Routledge Falmer. Wulff, David. M. (1997). Psychology of Religion: Classic and
Contemporary, New York: John Wiley & Sons, INC.