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Farewell Countercultural Wanderer?

Dress and Styles in South Asian Backpacking

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Abstract:

The word “backpacker” produces a particular image in our minds, and is often thought of as a countercultural wanderer dressed in “ethnic” styles. Over time, backpacking has progressively widened its sociocultural base and “drifters” are being consigned to the margins. The transition has only been acknowledged recently, though the seeds of the change were planted decades ago. Previously unpublished research on the dress and styles of 112 backpackers, collected during the 1990s, provided insights into the changes that have occurred in South Asia. On the “beaten track” of international travel, it can be difficult to separate backpackers from conventional tourists if one relies on their appearance. While alternative developments are also occurring, “mainstream” backpacking appears to be increasingly conformist with its new styles and interests.

Keywords: BACKPACKING; DRESS; SOUTH ASIA; TOURISM

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.3727/109830408783900343

Publication date: April 1, 2008

More about this publication?
  • Tourism, Culture & Communication is international in its scope and will place no restrictions upon the range of cultural identities covered, other than the need to relate to tourism and hospitality. The Journal seeks to provide interdisciplinary perspectives in areas of interest that may branch away from traditionally recognized national and indigenous cultures, for example, cultural attitudes toward the management of tourists with disabilities, gender aspects of tourism, sport tourism, or age-specific tourism.
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