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Title: Tourism consumption of China's rich : how does habitus apply
Authors: Liu, Tingting
Advisors: McKercher, Bob (SHTM)
Hung, Kam (SHTM)
Keywords: Consumer behavior -- China
Chinese -- Travel
Rich people -- China
Issue Date: 2019
Publisher: The Hong Kong Polytechnic University
Abstract: Along with opening up policy and economic reforms, wealth accumulation in China has experienced tremendous growth in a short span of time. Drawing on worldwide industry reports, China has been reported as the major engine to generate the significant population of ultra-high-net-worth-individuals. Small in number but great in influence, ultra-rich individuals have shaped the tendency of worldwide capitalism. Moreover, being rich provides them great potential for constructing luxury lifestyles and seeking exciting experience in broad ranges. Although a plethora number of industry reports introduced the phenomenon of ultra-rich, limited attention has been given to this group in academic area despite their distinctive role in shaping world economy and consumption trend. This study intends to fill this void by exploring distinction practices used by the rich in the arena of tourism consumption. Specifically, present study focuses on Bourdieu's habitus, cultural capital and taste to account for tourism consumption patterns of China's rich. By deploying a qualitative approach, current thesis aims to explore tourism consumption behaviors of China's rich and the forms of taste enacted in tourism field. Under the tenet of constructivist grounded theory, the specific technique used in this study is in-depth interview. The selection of potential interviewees was based on informants' investable wealth. Interview guide was divided into two parts including general quires on life histories and recreational practices as well as specific investigation regarding consumption behaviors in various tourism sectors. Finally, a total of 29 ultra-high-net wealth individuals were interviewed. Data analysis followed two procedures prescribed by constructivist grounded theory. Findings of current thesis outline the objectified resources consecrated by China's rich as well as the embodied practices demonstrated by the wealthy. To link tourism consumption patterns with taste conceptualization, the homologies between tourism embodied practices and recreational practices were firstly presented. Afterwards, a remapping from homologous consumption patterns into informants' cultural capital profiles were unearthed. Such a holistic interpretative loop captures the forms of taste happened in tourism field. Four pair-wise taste spectrums were reported and a theoretical framework towards social distinction of upper class in an emerging context was formulated. This thesis contributes to the extant scholarship theoretically and sheds light on tourism industry practically. Theoretically, the forms of cultural capital and tastes are relative concepts and in perpetual change, dependent on the specific field and social contexts. Current research is first of its kind to conceptualize taste in tourism field. Grounded on Bourdieu's framework, current thesis meanwhile revises the extant theories on social distinction which is largely posited in Western contexts. Furthermore, a China's shabby gentility class pattern is reported which challenges the stereotypical idea about China's new rich in the academia. Practically, recent industry reports simply put the group of rich into one basket with the taken-for-granted assumption that they exhibit homogeneous behaviors and deploy the same distinction strategy. This thesis offers an alternative perspective to study the heterogeneous of the rich group and rethink the traditional stereotype. Moreover, social trickling-down effect accentuated that novel product is first introduced and adopted by rich people who are regarded as upper social class and then gradually disseminate across the society. By understanding the stratifying practices China's rich occupied in tourism arena, findings of current study enhance the apprehension of future trend of China's mass tourism.
Description: 228 pages : illustrations
PolyU Library Call No.: [THS] LG51 .H577P SHTM 2019 Liu
Rights: All rights reserved.
Appears in Collections:Thesis

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