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    Immersive narratives of ‘self-work’ in an experience society: understanding the cruise ship experience

    Miles, S ORCID logoORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0002-3317-1151 (2019) Immersive narratives of ‘self-work’ in an experience society: understanding the cruise ship experience. Leisure Studies, 38 (4). pp. 523-534. ISSN 0261-4367

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    Abstract

    © 2019, © 2019 Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group. Commentators have long argued that cruise ship tourism is a highly rationalised form of mass consumption, a ‘total institution’ in which consumption defines and controls the individual’s experience. Arguing that this represents a simplification, this article suggests that a closer analysis of cruise tourism tells us something profound about the nature of what it means to be a consumer in a de-territorialised age. Specifically, the article explores the suggestion that the cruise experience represents a mode of consumption in which the consumer effectively becomes the product. Through the deployment of an autoethnographic investigation of the cruising experience the paper seeks to shed light on the relationship between the tourist experience and notions of self, while making a case for a re-conceptualisation of consumption as self-work. In this light, the contention is made that the ideological power of consumption is intensified by tourism’s emphasis on the experience of the consumer as part of a broader process in which there has been a shift away from the specific consumption of products towards consumption as a temporal-partial process of self-endowment.

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