Acta Geographica Sinica ›› 2021, Vol. 76 ›› Issue (10): 2360-2378.doi: 10.11821/dlxb202110003

• Theoretical and Methodological Exploration • Previous Articles     Next Articles

Theoretical and empirical exploration of human-environment relationship in tourism context from a microcosmic perspective

HUANG Jianfeng(), LU Lin(), SONG Yu   

  1. School of Geography and Tourism, Centre for Tourism Research and Planning, Anhui Normal University, Wuhu 241002, Anhui, China
  • Received:2020-05-28 Revised:2021-07-05 Online:2021-10-25 Published:2021-12-25
  • Contact: LU Lin;
  • Supported by:
    National Natural Science Foundation of China(41930644);National Natural Science Foundation of China(41401153);Humanities and Social Sciences Foundation of Ministry of Education of China(19YJCZH060)


The human-environment relationship in tourism phenomenon and activity is an interdisciplinary subject with theoretical and practical significance. However, human-environment relationship research in tourism context is distinctive due to the particularity and comprehensiveness of tourism phenomenon, with certain psychological and behavioral research gaps on ontological level and from microcosmic perspective. This paper, firstly, investigates the research pluralism as well as the basic situations and typical paradigms of human-environment relationship in tourism context, and probes into the possible empiricalization and ontologization approach to human-environment relationship research in the tourism context from a microcosmic perspective; and then it explores a possible theoretical mechanism of which dualistic human-environment stimulus leads to human-environment relationship and then to behavioral response in case of tourist behavioral intention based on stimulus-organism-response theory, and tests the hypothesized model based on empirical data collected in a typical study site; finally, it analyzes the inspiration for human-environment relationship research in tourism context stemmed from the above theoretical and empirical research. The research indicates the following: (1) There are four basic situations and two typical paradigms in human-environment relationship research in tourism context, which are diverse in research objects, scales, paradigms and methodologies. (2) The psychological-behavioral paradigm is an important direction to expand human-environment relationship research, while proposing concrete questions and focusing on specific variables are the key approach to empiricalization and ontologization of human-environment relationship research in the tourism context from a microcosmic perspective. (3) The empirical model composed of perceived cognitive image and affective image, place attachment as well as behavioral intention reflects the theoretical logic of human-environment duality to human-environment relationship to a certain extent, which provides a possible microcosmic explanation for human-environment relationship in tourist behavior. (4) The formation of tourist behavioral intention from a microcosmic perspective has experienced a transformation from two dimensional stimulus oriented to environmental function and human affection to human-environment organism of place attachment and then to behavioral response. (5) The human-environment relationship research in the tourism context from a microcosmic perspective requires that we grasp the theme of human-environment relationship and characteristics of tourism phenomena, improve diverse perspectives, scales and paradigms, promote the empiricalization of grand theories, and emphasize problem orientation and theoretical significance of certain methods and techniques.

Key words: human-environment relationship, tourism context, microcosmic perspective, research paradigm, tourist behavior, stimulus-organism-response