Publication Date

Spring 2010

Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


Hospitality, Recreation and Tourism Management


Ranjan Bandyopadhyay


Narratives, Other, Reflexivity, Self, Self-Identity, Tourism

Subject Areas



This study has set forth to close gaps, explore innovative methods, and create a better understanding of "Who am I?", in tourism research. Few studies in tourism research focus on how experiences gained from traveling shape self-identity through personal biographies. Building on the work of seminal authors on self-identity, personal narrative, and tourism, this study explores the reflexivity of self-identity as represented in travel narratives. The lived experiences offered through narrative condition spontaneous instances of self-discovery allowing for the (re)creation of new self-identities.

Participants were selected through a snowball sample; in-depth interviews were held with fifteen (15) adults born and raised in the United States who have traveled abroad for leisure purposes. Two, ninety-minute, digitally recorded and empirically observed interviews were held with each participant. These interviews, thirty in total, were transcribed verbatim and a member check was conducted.

The qualitative design of the research triangulates grounded theory with narrative analysis, which is insubordinately unique in the field of tourism research. The principal results of this research uncovered tools, not yet applied in tourism research, concerning self-identity: e-mail, online applications (e.g., Skype, blogs, etc.), journals, diaries, scrapbooks, and self edited DVDs. Moreover, the narratives reveal how the "Other" becomes a venue for reflexivity in generating a range of dimensions of the "Self," further exploring, "Who am I?"