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This article examines key contributions to research on tourist motivations in the tourism studies literature from two influential areas, social psychology and sociology. While much of 20th-century sociology has been characterized by either micro-level study (individual) or macro-level analysis (social structures), linking these two dimensions has emerged as an important new study area for sociologists. It is argued in this article that this integrative move is overdue in tourism studies and even more so in the study of tourist motivations. This area, as our analysis shows, suffers from theoretical and methodological fragmentation due (in part) to the interdisciplinary nature of tourism studies. Recent perspectives on micro–macro linkages from sociology, and related insights from a variety of disciplines, are laid out in the article and used to propose a conceptual framework that integrates individual (micro-level) and social (macro-level) aspects of tourist motivations. The overall production–consumption approach of the proposed framework helps to situate tourist motivations within mutually reinforcing micro–macro structures and the global political economy of international tourism. A number of related impacts and methodological insights result from this integrative approach, which are discussed in the article.
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Keywords: Interdisciplinary theory; Micro–macro linkages; Modernity; Social psychology; Sociology; Tourism production–consumption; Tourist motivations

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Department of Recreation, Park and Tourism Sciences, Texas A&M University, College Station, TX

Publication date: 2002-12-01

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  • The aim of Tourism Analysis is to promote a forum for practitioners and academicians in the fields of Leisure, Recreation, Tourism, and Hospitality (LRTH). As a interdisciplinary journal, it is an appropriate outlet for articles, research notes, and computer software packages designed to be of interest, concern, and of applied value to its audience of professionals, scholars, and students of LRTH programs the world over.
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