The ties that bind: exploring the relevance of neotribal theory to tourism

Anne Hardy, Brady Jay Robards

Research output: Contribution to journalReview ArticleResearchpeer-review

56 Citations (Scopus)


In tourism studies/tourism management, traditional approaches to the segmentation of tourists have tended to focus upon the tangible aspects of why people travel, such as visitors' motivations, demographic characteristics, and values and behavior exhibited at specific destinations. This review article from Hardy and Robards takes a critical approach to challenge the governing assumption involved here, that marketing studies of “tourism” should routinely or necessarily focus on the individual and thus upon class-based characteristics such as income to define tourists. Rather, the authors argue that tourists may be fruitfully segmented by commonalities of intangible aspects, such as “a shared sense of sentiment,” “tourist ritual,” “collective bonding,” and “belonging.” Hardy and Robards thereby suggest that neotribal approaches indeed offer rich opportunities to do this by empowering the exploration of tourists' symbolic and behavioral characteristics. This review article consonantly proposes that by returning to Maffesoli's work, researchers in the twin fields of tourism studies/tourism management may make substantial critical contributions to unfolding understandings of and about “consumer tribes.” Hence, Hardy and Robards suggest that subtribes exist within broader neotribes and that that sort of “membership” may not in fact be as fluid as many investigators have previously suggested.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)443-454
Number of pages12
JournalTourism Analysis
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2015
Externally publishedYes


  • Consumption
  • Critical theory
  • Maffesoli
  • Neotribes
  • Recreational vehicle users
  • Subtribes

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