University of Oulu

Nikjoo, A., Markwell, K., Nikbin, M., & Hernández-Lara, A. B. (2021). The flag-bearers of change in a patriarchal Muslim society: Narratives of Iranian solo female travelers on Instagram. Tourism Management Perspectives, 38, 100817.

The flag-bearers of change in a patriarchal Muslim society : narratives of Iranian solo female travelers on Instagram

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Author: Nikjoo, Adel1; Markwell, Kevin2,3; Nikbin, Mohanna4;
Organizations: 1Geography Research Unit, University of Oulu, Finland
2School of Business and Tourism, Southern Cross University, Australia
3Faculty of Vocations, Universitas Airlangga, Surabaya, Indonesia
4Department of Tourism & Hospitality Management, West Tehran branch of Islamic Azad University (WTIAU), Iran
5Business Management Department, Rovira i Virgili University, Spain
Format: article
Version: published version
Access: open
Online Access: PDF Full Text (PDF, 7.8 MB)
Persistent link:
Language: English
Published: Elsevier, 2021
Publish Date: 2021-05-31


This paper examines the travel experiences of Iranian solo female travelers through an analysis of their Instagram posts. While there is a growing body of literature on solo female travelers, few studies involve women from Asian or Middle Eastern countries. In the case of the Iranian women who are the focus of this study, our analysis identified three main themes: meaning-making; power and empowerment; and facilitation of self-awareness and transformation. We argue that traveling solo is a form of active resistance against Iranian gender relations that creates opportunities for the women to overcome personal fears and logistical challenges. The act of writing up their experiences in their Instagram posts involves self-reflection and such critical analysis allows for greater levels of awareness of self that may then lead to self-transformation.

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Series: Tourism management perspectives
ISSN: 2211-9736
ISSN-E: 2211-9744
ISSN-L: 2211-9736
Volume: 38
Article number: 100817
DOI: 10.1016/j.tmp.2021.100817
Type of Publication: A1 Journal article – refereed
Field of Science: 519 Social and economic geography
Copyright information: © 2021 The Author(s). Published by Elsevier Ltd. This is an open access article under the CC BY license (