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ERIC Number: ED521280
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2010
Pages: 240
Abstractor: As Provided
ISBN: ISBN-978-1-1242-6144-7
Understanding the Virtualization of the Backpacker Culture and the Emergence of the Flashpacker: A Mixed-Method
Paris, Cody Morris
ProQuest LLC, Ph.D. Dissertation, Arizona State University
Backpackers are pioneers of mobility, who provide a unique domain for critical tourism research. The lineage of backpacker ideals, including pursuit of authentic experiences, independence, escape and social interaction, can be traced back to the "tramps" of the 1880s and the "drifters" of the 1970s. The recent emergence of the "flashpacker" suggests a cultural divergence from "traditional backpackers". Flashpackers are "digital nomads", members of a "new global elite" that symbolize the ongoing convergence in society of technology, physical travel, and daily life. The enduring ideals, history of mobility and the emerging flashpacker subgroup provides a rich context from which to the study the relationship between contemporary society, tourism and technology. This dissertation represents a critical turn in backpacker research, building upon the perception of backpacking phenomenon as a metaphor for the complex mobilities of the global contemporary culture. The New Mobilities Paradigm provides the theoretical and methodological basis for this study. Cultural Consensus Analysis from the field of cognitive anthropology was applied in the analysis of the backpacking culture and the apparent emergence of the flashpacker subculture. A survey was administered in Facebook backpacker groups, in Cairns, Australia, and key informant flashpackers (n = 493). Findings from the CCA suggest that backpackers share a common cultural model and that flashpackers and non-flashpackers do not operate from separate cultural models. The findings suggest that even though flashpackers appear to be an emerging independent subculture, they in fact share the same cultural ideals of traditional backpackers. The only major difference is the usage and importance of technology for flashpackers. This study further examined the virtual spaces of backpacking through a mobile-virtual ethnography and in-depth e-interviews with eight flashpackers. Findings provide important insight into the usage and meanings associated with social media for backpackers, the virtual infrastructure of the backpacker culture, and the role of social media as a mediator of the backpacking experience. Micro and macro level analysis of the virtualization of backpacker culture are examined through the conceptualization of the virtual backpacking spaces via the notion of the blogosphere and statusphere and through the analysis of the socio-technographics backpacker behavior. [The dissertation citations contained here are published with the permission of ProQuest LLC. Further reproduction is prohibited without permission. Copies of dissertations may be obtained by Telephone (800) 1-800-521-0600. Web page:]
ProQuest LLC. 789 East Eisenhower Parkway, P.O. Box 1346, Ann Arbor, MI 48106. Tel: 800-521-0600; Web site:
Publication Type: Dissertations/Theses - Doctoral Dissertations
Education Level: Adult Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Australia