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Existential Authenticity: Place Matters

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While there are multiple theoretical approaches to the concept of authenticity in tourism studies, existential authenticity, an activity-based approach, has witnessed the greatest proliferation in the literature in recent years. Existential authenticity refers to a state of Being, rather than an essentialist, objective quality. As a result, research that has engaged this concept has focused on emotions, sensations, relationships, and a sense of self. However, these same studies also suggest the significance of the performance of place for tourists’ experiences. So while geographic perspectives have long shed light on the connections between place and experience, place has received little attention in studies of authenticity. Thus, it is argued that place matters in existential authenticity, which consequently points to the importance of geographic perspectives in further development of this concept for tourism studies.

Keywords: Existential authenticity; experience; geography; landscape; performance; place

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: Department of Geography, Indiana University, Bloomington, USA, IN,

Publication date: November 1, 2013

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