The practice of everyday life performed away from home: A reflexive ethnography of a group tour

by David George Scott

Institution: University of Otago
Year: 0
Keywords: everyday life; mobilities; identity; reflexivity; analytic autoethnography; tourist; interactionism; tourism; performative
Record ID: 1306992
Full text PDF: http://hdl.handle.net/10523/5557


The ‘idea’ of tourism, often understood as an escape from day to day life at home, means that the mundane performances and spaces of everyday life within the tourism experience are rarely considered. In this thesis I demonstrate that by exploring these mundane spaces and practices, a better understanding of the identity performances of individuals whilst away from home can be gained. Taking a reflexive ethnographic approach, this thesis looks at ‘tourist’ identity and everyday life through the lens of the fully inclusive group tour. The thesis is founded in a ‘reflexive’ interactionism; the relationship between the external world and my internal knowledge of it, where encounters whilst travelling with social objects, both human and more-than-human, inform the narratives. In going on, and participating in, an inclusive group tour I illustrate how mundane aspects of everyday life are performed ‘elsewhere’. Throughout the thesis, I present an insider’s view of the performance of this everyday life and so position myself as both subject of the research as well as researcher. As such, in this thesis I engaged my own culturally and socially situated subjectivities, which alongside encounters with others, resulted in a critical appraisal of self and identity. The thesis uses (im)mobilities to focus upon three specific spaces of identity practice. First, I look to the representational characteristics of the tour brochure and the images and texts of everyday life. In doing so, I explore representations of everyday life elsewhere and the construction of a tourist imaginary. Second, I explore the everyday encounters and performances of social actors engaged in a fully inclusive group tour, specifically on board the coach. Through this, I examine how social space is implicated in negotiations between the individual-as-tourist whilst also constructing a temporarily mobile community. Third, I look to how spaces of touristic consumption, for example the comfort stop, are re-constructed through the performance of everyday day life whilst on tour. I show that in order to maintain an individual’s ontological security (for example the ability to make ‘sense’ of daily life) away from home there is a necessary commodification of daily life. Often, as a result of this, the social actor is unproblematically identified and suggested as performing the individual-as-consumer. However, in examining the banal spaces of daily life within an inclusive group tour, I suggest that seemingly ordinary practices of daily life offer the possibility to re-enchant the rationalised ‘commercial’ world in and through which the tourist unreflexively moves. I conclude by bringing these three specific spaces of identity practice together and suggest that the performance of everyday life elsewhere problematises identity. Rather than the simplistic performance of the ‘tourist’, the individual is found to simultaneously construct and perform multiple, often contested, identities. In centring daily life of the individual so the myth of tourism as the…