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Title: Backpacker mobilities : train travel in Central and Eastern Europe
Author: Johnson , James
Awarding Body: University of Sunderland
Current Institution: University of Sunderland
Date of Award: 2013
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This project is about backpacker travel in Central and Eastern Europe. Existing studies of backpacking tend to privilege Southeast Asia and Australasia and despite the existence of accommodation and transport infrastructures for backpackers no research has explicitly studied backpacker experiences in the region, this PhD seeks to redress this imbalance. The aim of the PhD is to unpack backpacker travel in Central and Eastern Europe, to form an understanding of the connexions between a range of travellings, including, those of place, imaginations, performance, travel and transportation (Urry, 2007). Theoretically, this PhD is grounded in research into a new mobilities paradigm (Hannam et al 2006; Sheller and Urry, 2006). The new mobilities paradigm places meaningful movements at the centre of the analysis of contemporary social life (Urry, 2000; Adey, 2010) and in doing so provides a suitable framework for the analysis of backpacker travel in the region. Drawing extensively on a mobile ethnography completed in Central and Eastern Europe during the summer months of 2007, 2008 and 2009 the PhD's empirical findings are separated into four substantial results chapters. I explore the imaginative mobilities of backpacker travel. It is demonstrated that backpackers in Central and Eastern Europe play an active role in creating and imagining a post-soviet image of place, a place re-imagination that suits their travel style. In the second empirical chapter backpacker identities are considered as expressive and self-reflective, I explore how identity is negotiated in the context of lifestyles biographies, narratives and performances of real travel that are powerful signifiers of a contemporary cosmopolitan and mobile lifestyle. In the third empirical chapter it is argued that the backpacker is dwelling in mobility (Urry, 2000). That the places backpackers traverse are rich and vivid , a heterogeneous space (Edensor, 1998) made up of a diverse and uneven network of flows of time and space (May and Thrift, 2001). The backpacker, an actor perceiver of such environments, their movement and wayfinding, is skilful , interactionary, tactile and creative (Ingold, 2000). Train travel is the focus of the final l result chapter through which notions of travel time, are used to critically evaluate how time spent travelling is considered as integral to the backpacker experience. Throughout the research the backpacking in Central and Eastern Europe emerges as eventful, the backpacker an active performer, one that creates meaning, identity and experience through travel.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available