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Title: Meaning(s) in 'sustainable tourism' : a social semiotic approach
Author: Sorokina, Nadezda
Awarding Body: Oxford Brookes University
Current Institution: Oxford Brookes University
Date of Award: 2013
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It can be argued that ”sustainable tourism” is considered to be a solution for ensuring the industry’s long-term survival. However, the concept of “sustainable tourism” is contested. A key issue is a lack of consensus in how stakeholders define “sustainable tourism”, and this creates communication challenges when different stakeholders discuss the concept. Within the field of sustainable tourism, there is limited literature on the meanings that stakeholder groups attribute to the concept of “sustainable tourism”. This study aims to address this theoretical gap, by exploring the meanings that stakeholders attribute to “sustainable tourism”, and the potential for the creation of shared meanings. This thesis addresses this gap by applying a social semiotic approach to exploring the meanings attributed to “sustainable tourism” by various stakeholder groups. Social semiotics is a theory that studies meanings created in groups, and is applied in this thesis as an analysis of “sustainable tourism” stakeholders’ web-pages. A total of 18 webpages from five stakeholder groups: the Public sector, the Tourism industry, Universities and research centres, the Third sector and Environmental and tourism consultancies, have been analysed for the purpose of this study. The findings of the thesis add value to both theory and practice. The theoretical contribution is twofold. Conceptually, the study has contributed to the theory of “sustainable tourism” by establishing that there is no orderliness in the ways that stakeholders conceptualise “sustainable tourism” meanings. Instead, further fragmentation of values, according to clusters or individual organisations within stakeholder groups, occurs. The meanings identified in this study can be organised into five dualities and tensions, and represent the positions in power relations in “sustainable tourism”. Methodologically, the study has contributed to the body of knowledge by introducing social semiotics into “sustainable tourism” research methodology, and by developing an original and replicable research instrument based on methods of social semiotics. The practical implications of the thesis are twofold as well. The meanings identified in the study can help breach perceptual gap between organisations in different stakeholder groups and clusters, promoting more effective communication, inclusion and participation in “sustainable tourism”. Furthermore, the original research instrument developed for this study can be adopted by practitioners for the analysis of their own webpage for the meanings conveyed.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available