The role of travel and mobility in processes of identity formation among the Positanesi

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Publication details

Canosa, A 2014, 'The role of travel and mobility in processes of identity formation among the Positanesi', Tourist Studies: an International Journal, vol. 14, no. 2, pp. 182-202.

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This article is based on an ethnographic study of the community of Positano on the Amalfi Coast in the south of Italy. It examines how the flows of visiting tourists have shaped the economy, lifestyle and rhythms of this small but world-famous tourist destination. Through visual imagery and narratives, I explore how residents of the community create meaningful identities amidst the continuous flux and flow of people arriving and departing. The article builds on the concepts of travel and mobility as underlying features in postmodern societies and as vehicles of identity formation among residents in tourist destinations. The findings illustrate how tourism has transformed the locality of Positano into a network of networks, and has thrust the inhabitants of this small coastal village into the global economy. The research also explores some of the intergenerational differences among older and younger residents that are exacerbated by the changes brought about by tourism. Reflecting on my role as an anthropologist doing research ‘at home’, the article seeks to contribute to the growing field of the anthropology of tourism.

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