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Shoring the foundations of the destination life cycle model, part 1: ontological and epistemological considerations

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Butler's destination life cycle model has been a popular source of research inspiration within tourism geography. After 20 years, the model still stands as the theoretical benchmark. This paper attempts to shore up the model's theoretical foundations by specifying and elaborating upon ontological and epistemological elements. Giddens' structuration theory and Glaser's concept of 'basic social process' are utilized for ontological aspects. Comparative examination of four types of process (human life cycle, product life cycle, port development and ecosuccession) indicated that seven features were of epistemological concern: the unit-entity; its characteristics; its users; stages as conceptual units; change mechanisms; macro-structural conditions; and typical stage sequence. These are discussed in relation to the existing destination area literature. A synthesis presents a modified form of the model and a suggested method for how to incorporate the ontological and epistemological elements into case research.
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Keywords: BUTLER; DESTINATION LIFE CYCLE MODEL; TOURISM

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Business Faculty, Auckland University of Technology, New Zealand

Publication date: 2001-02-01

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