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Working Tourists: Identity Formation in a Leisure Space

Duncan, T.J.C.E; (2007) Working Tourists: Identity Formation in a Leisure Space. Doctoral thesis, University of London. Green open access

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Abstract

Young budget travellers who work as they travel the world have often escaped academic attention. This thesis will begin to correct this omission by illustrating how the working and travelling practices of these young budget travellers affects their perception and construction of self. Taking an empirically grounded approach, this research will build these views into wider theoretical debates around identity, work, place and transnationalism. The thesis is based on an intensive period of fieldwork undertaken in Whistler, British Columbia, Canada. Drawing on data from in-depth interviews, participant observation and secondary sources, this thesis will suggest that it is through work and travel experiences that these young people construct a sense of self. It will be argued that working adds value and meaning to experiences, creating memories and stories in which to construct identity. Furthermore, company culture and ideas of adventure continuously complicate how these young people utilise their working and travelling experiences and so, how they (re)define their sense of self. Finally, the relationship between identity and place will be considered in connection to the emerging literature on backpacker enclaves. This research on these working tourists aims to provide insights into current debates on backpacker travel, identity and tourism, both within the academic community and across wider business and social arenas. The ways in which young working tourists use their experiences to increase cultural capital and gain informal qualifications in order to increase career and life chances will be explored. Thus this thesis will demonstrate the need to understand the motivations, travel patterns and travel careers of working tourists in order to better forecast future tourism demands and trends.

Type:Thesis (Doctoral)
Title:Working Tourists: Identity Formation in a Leisure Space
Open access status:An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
Language:English
UCL classification:UCL > School of Arts and Social Sciences > Faculty of Social and Historical Sciences > Geography

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