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Title: Commoditised religious souvenirs and visitor experience at Chinese Buddhist sites
Author: Shi, Fangfang
ISNI:       0000 0001 3404 7948
Awarding Body: Nottingham Trent University
Current Institution: Nottingham Trent University
Date of Award: 2007
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Commoditisation is a common phenomenon at most visitor attractions, and sacred sites are no exception: The merchandising opportunity is taken by many retailers to gain considerable economic benefit. For example, the annual sales of religious souvenirs' in Italy were estimated at US$255m. While most of the studies associated with commoditisation at sacred sites concentrate on the commercialisation process or its soqial and/or cultural impacts, little research has been done to investigate its influence from a visitor's perspective. In addition, compared with Christian sites in western countries, Buddhist sites in China have received much less academic attention. 'The aim of this study is to fill the above research gaps by investigating the role of commoditised religious souvenirs in visitor experience' at Chinese Buddhist sites. Specifically, it seeks to achieve the follOWing objectives: to find out the major factors considered by visitors in evaluating their experience at Chinese Buddhist sites, the importance of the availability of religious souvenirs in the overall visitor experience, visitors' attitudes toward commoditisation at these sacred places and the factors that account for these different attitudes. The field research was carried out at three Buddhist sites in China, the Historic Ensemble of the Potala Palace in Lhasa, Wutai Mountain in Shanxi Province and the Lianhua Temple in Liaoning Province, which were chosen as a result of a classification according to different levels of commoditisation. In-depth interviews and observation were used as data collection methods. Overseas visitors were excluded from the sample to eliminate the influence caused by cultural differences on visitors' evaluation. Four types of factors were identified to be considered by the respondents during their evaluation of their visit experience, i.e. those related to people, place, facilities and critical incidents. Among these factors, the availability of Jeligious souvenirs was not regarded as significant to their visit by most respondents. Their attitudes to commoditisation at the Chinese Buddhist sites varied -from aversion, tolerance, acceptance. and enjoyment to mixed feelings and differentiation. Their opinions were formed mostly with consideration of the purpose, location. ownership and sales practice of the souvenir trade. There was the possibility that their age, profession, life stage, religious background and level of Buddhist knowledge had spme influence on their views on commoditisation at the Chinese Buddhist sites.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available