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The search for authenticity in tourism
conference contributionposted on 2017-12-06, 00:00 authored by Wendy HillmanWendy Hillman
Recent research has focused on touristic endeavours such as quantifiable factors including where tourists come from, where they go, and what activities they participate in. Much of this research invokes the authenticity of experience developed first by Dean MacCannell (The Tourist 1976). However, despite a growing sociological critique of this concept it is still used in an uncritical manner. I am involved in a study of backpackers who believe they are travellers and who search for their own self-identity within the context of the authentic experience. The conceptualisation of authenticity and tourist participation has been amplified by other writers and is unequivocally linked to wider issues. In the light of recent sociological work on tourism I will be looking at the experience of backpackers and examining to what extent they engage themselves in the search for authenticity.