chapter  1
5 Pages

Introduction: Regimes of value in tourism

ByÉmilie Crossley, David Picard

While the creation of a more inclusive, nuanced theorization of value is certainly appealing, Eiss and Pedersen (2002) warn that there is a risk of simply reproducing what they see as a number of prominent binaries that characterize the literature on the subject, in which value is described as being either about measure or meaning, quality or quantity, and objects or social relations. Instead, Eiss and Pedersen argue that ‘the value of value as a theoretical concept and mode of analysis rests in its capacity to transcend such oppositions and offer a multidimensional rubric for critical transdisciplinary inquiry’ (2002, p. 283). Bearing this in mind, our theoretical orientation to the question of value in tourism draws on anthropological approaches to exchange and material culture that permit us to investigate the relationships between social practices and valued objects, and the interdependencies between value as a socially or personally mutable attribute and as a calculable economic factor (Appadurai, 1986; Jamieson, 1999; Myers, 2001; Otto & Willerslev, 2013). For example, Kopytoff (1986) and Hoskins (2006) present fascinating commentaries on the entwining of people and objects whereby objects can be thought of as having histories that effectively constitute biographies and people, under particular social configurations such as slavery, can be conceptualized as taking on the properties of objects. Just as this work transcends the subject/object dichotomy, so too can meanings attached to intangible or atmospheric qualities of a tourist destination be seen as intimately linked to its measurable, economic value.