Exploring sense of place and destination image assessment : ecotourism and social valuing in Ogasawara, Japan

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NO FULL TEXT AVAILABLE. Access is restricted indefinitely. ----- Sociological analyses of place have tended to focus on the macro social influences of place on person and less so on the micro, interactive and relational influences of people and place. The field of tourism has focused on destination image, as conceived by the industry and as consumed by visitors. Yet little research to date has explored the meaning of place on the part of the host. Social values are used as a vehicle to explore the myriad of relationships and meanings that emerge through social interaction and construction within the local community—particularly those that influence valuations for the natural and social environments. A poststructural, interactionist, grounded theory approach has been adopted in an effort to uncover the multiple, complex and discursive nature of texts that inform the narrative of this thesis. A case study is undertaken in order to focus on the indigenous population in Ogasawara, Japan and to advance the current understanding of sense of place from the perspective of host, living in a sub-colonial space. The marginalization of this group of people is illustrated by a general lack of agency and trust for the official discourse on sustainability and ecotourism and underscores the notion of contested natures. It is hoped that the micro-social context of this study will contribute to our understanding of tourist destination as place and inform a more equitable representation of it. To achieve this, the thesis investigates sense of place through the concept of dwelling in place over time.
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