Individualism or emulation? Difference and choice re-examined, and the implications for the 'new' tourism

Voase, Richard (2004) Individualism or emulation? Difference and choice re-examined, and the implications for the 'new' tourism. In: Understanding tourism: theoretical advances; symposium of the Research Committee on International Tourism, 14-16 May 2004, Mytilini, Lesbos, Greece.

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Abstract

Contemporary theory and practice within the business discipline of Marketing is substantially founded on the twin axioms of ‘difference’ and ‘choice‘. Marketeers’ preferred reading of a body of consumers is to see ‘difference‘. They segment bodies of consumers on that basis. Their preferred reading of customer behaviour is that consumers exercise active ‘choice’, after the fashion of Cartesian subjects.

It is argued that these axioms are to a considerable extent fallacious. They are ideological constructs rather than reflections of realities.

The argument begins with a re-visitation of Veblen‘s theory of the leisure class. It will also refer to the work of Bourdieu, and refer to the writings of contemporary tourism researchers and to examples presented in audio-visual form. It will be suggested that emulation is an alternative and, arguably, more satisfactory explanation for the apparent individualism represented in the consumption of what has become known as the ‘new’ tourism.

Regarding the segmentation of consumers, it is possible to look at a body of consumers and see ‘similarity’ just as easily as ‘difference’. An example will be given of a service industry in which commercial problems are said to have arisen when marketeers persisted in segmenting their customers on the basis of difference, while neglecting the fact that it was their customers’ similarities which drove them to consume.

Item Type:Conference or Workshop Item (Presentation)
Additional Information:Contemporary theory and practice within the business discipline of Marketing is substantially founded on the twin axioms of ‘difference’ and ‘choice‘. Marketeers’ preferred reading of a body of consumers is to see ‘difference‘. They segment bodies of consumers on that basis. Their preferred reading of customer behaviour is that consumers exercise active ‘choice’, after the fashion of Cartesian subjects. It is argued that these axioms are to a considerable extent fallacious. They are ideological constructs rather than reflections of realities. The argument begins with a re-visitation of Veblen‘s theory of the leisure class. It will also refer to the work of Bourdieu, and refer to the writings of contemporary tourism researchers and to examples presented in audio-visual form. It will be suggested that emulation is an alternative and, arguably, more satisfactory explanation for the apparent individualism represented in the consumption of what has become known as the ‘new’ tourism. Regarding the segmentation of consumers, it is possible to look at a body of consumers and see ‘similarity’ just as easily as ‘difference’. An example will be given of a service industry in which commercial problems are said to have arisen when marketeers persisted in segmenting their customers on the basis of difference, while neglecting the fact that it was their customers’ similarities which drove them to consume.
Keywords:Veblen, segmentation, individualism, marketing, bmjlink
Subjects:N Business and Administrative studies > N500 Marketing
Divisions:College of Social Science > Lincoln Business School
ID Code:5541
Deposited By: Richard Voase
Deposited On:17 May 2012 09:43
Last Modified:17 May 2012 09:43

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