Paradoxes of consumer independence

A critical discourse analysis of the independent traveller

Robert Caruana, Andrew Crane, James A. Fitchett

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

35 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

The ideology of independence lies at the very core of the marketing agenda. For the free market to operate as a legitimate means of social organization, the right to be independent and to be free to enact ostensibly independent choices is to all intents and purposes sacred. Independence is an especially critical concept for marketing academics and practitioners to understand given the need to reconcile consumer demand for a sense of individuality, freedom and self, with an organization's need to commodify consumption activities in order to realize market growth. This paper examines the ways in which a sense of independence is successfully offered to consumers within paradoxically mass-market communications. The study investigates what it means to be an independent traveller by implementing a critical discourse analysis of alternative guidebooks. Findings suggest that guidebooks construct independence by reifying inaccessibility, interpreting value, and constructing inauthenticity for consumers. This promulgates a powerful myth of the independent traveller as someone who defies inaccessibility, hunts for bargains, and avoids inauthenticity. Crucially, each of these cultural practices also acts to engender an implicit relation of dependency between the text and the tourist that is found to contradict, but ultimately not threaten, the whole notion of independence that the consumption experience itself is predicated on.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)253-272
Number of pages20
JournalMarketing Theory
Volume8
Issue number3
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Sep 2008

Keywords

  • commodity
  • critical discourse analysis
  • guidebook
  • independence
  • Spain
  • tourism

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Marketing

Cite this

Paradoxes of consumer independence : A critical discourse analysis of the independent traveller. / Caruana, Robert; Crane, Andrew; Fitchett, James A.

In: Marketing Theory, Vol. 8, No. 3, 01.09.2008, p. 253-272.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

@article{fe2e371f25104222b747a80690229671,
title = "Paradoxes of consumer independence: A critical discourse analysis of the independent traveller",
abstract = "The ideology of independence lies at the very core of the marketing agenda. For the free market to operate as a legitimate means of social organization, the right to be independent and to be free to enact ostensibly independent choices is to all intents and purposes sacred. Independence is an especially critical concept for marketing academics and practitioners to understand given the need to reconcile consumer demand for a sense of individuality, freedom and self, with an organization's need to commodify consumption activities in order to realize market growth. This paper examines the ways in which a sense of independence is successfully offered to consumers within paradoxically mass-market communications. The study investigates what it means to be an independent traveller by implementing a critical discourse analysis of alternative guidebooks. Findings suggest that guidebooks construct independence by reifying inaccessibility, interpreting value, and constructing inauthenticity for consumers. This promulgates a powerful myth of the independent traveller as someone who defies inaccessibility, hunts for bargains, and avoids inauthenticity. Crucially, each of these cultural practices also acts to engender an implicit relation of dependency between the text and the tourist that is found to contradict, but ultimately not threaten, the whole notion of independence that the consumption experience itself is predicated on.",
keywords = "commodity, critical discourse analysis, guidebook, independence, Spain, tourism",
author = "Robert Caruana and Andrew Crane and Fitchett, {James A.}",
year = "2008",
month = "9",
day = "1",
doi = "10.1177/1470593108093556",
language = "English",
volume = "8",
pages = "253--272",
journal = "Marketing Theory",
issn = "1470-5931",
publisher = "Sage Publications",
number = "3",

}

TY - JOUR

T1 - Paradoxes of consumer independence

T2 - A critical discourse analysis of the independent traveller

AU - Caruana, Robert

AU - Crane, Andrew

AU - Fitchett, James A.

PY - 2008/9/1

Y1 - 2008/9/1

N2 - The ideology of independence lies at the very core of the marketing agenda. For the free market to operate as a legitimate means of social organization, the right to be independent and to be free to enact ostensibly independent choices is to all intents and purposes sacred. Independence is an especially critical concept for marketing academics and practitioners to understand given the need to reconcile consumer demand for a sense of individuality, freedom and self, with an organization's need to commodify consumption activities in order to realize market growth. This paper examines the ways in which a sense of independence is successfully offered to consumers within paradoxically mass-market communications. The study investigates what it means to be an independent traveller by implementing a critical discourse analysis of alternative guidebooks. Findings suggest that guidebooks construct independence by reifying inaccessibility, interpreting value, and constructing inauthenticity for consumers. This promulgates a powerful myth of the independent traveller as someone who defies inaccessibility, hunts for bargains, and avoids inauthenticity. Crucially, each of these cultural practices also acts to engender an implicit relation of dependency between the text and the tourist that is found to contradict, but ultimately not threaten, the whole notion of independence that the consumption experience itself is predicated on.

AB - The ideology of independence lies at the very core of the marketing agenda. For the free market to operate as a legitimate means of social organization, the right to be independent and to be free to enact ostensibly independent choices is to all intents and purposes sacred. Independence is an especially critical concept for marketing academics and practitioners to understand given the need to reconcile consumer demand for a sense of individuality, freedom and self, with an organization's need to commodify consumption activities in order to realize market growth. This paper examines the ways in which a sense of independence is successfully offered to consumers within paradoxically mass-market communications. The study investigates what it means to be an independent traveller by implementing a critical discourse analysis of alternative guidebooks. Findings suggest that guidebooks construct independence by reifying inaccessibility, interpreting value, and constructing inauthenticity for consumers. This promulgates a powerful myth of the independent traveller as someone who defies inaccessibility, hunts for bargains, and avoids inauthenticity. Crucially, each of these cultural practices also acts to engender an implicit relation of dependency between the text and the tourist that is found to contradict, but ultimately not threaten, the whole notion of independence that the consumption experience itself is predicated on.

KW - commodity

KW - critical discourse analysis

KW - guidebook

KW - independence

KW - Spain

KW - tourism

UR - http://www.scopus.com/inward/record.url?scp=84992854023&partnerID=8YFLogxK

U2 - 10.1177/1470593108093556

DO - 10.1177/1470593108093556

M3 - Article

VL - 8

SP - 253

EP - 272

JO - Marketing Theory

JF - Marketing Theory

SN - 1470-5931

IS - 3

ER -