Drunken mobilities: backpackers, alcohol, 'doing place'
This article seeks to advance the understanding of the role of alcohol, drinking and drunkenness as an important, if under-researched, element of tourism. In so doing, we work at the intersection of three bodies of writing focused on mundane mobilities; performativities of tourism and geographies of alcohol, drinking and drunkenness. Drawing on empirical research undertaken in Australia, we highlight how alcohol, drinking and drunkenness are key to backpacking holidays: first, to help soften a number of (un)comfortable embodied and emotional materialities associated with budget travel; second, as an aid to spatial and temporal imperatives of ‘passing the time’ and ‘being able to do nothing’ and finally, to heighten senses of belonging with fellow travellers and ‘locals’. Crucial is participation in specific experiential practices and performativities that are fundamental to practices of ‘doing place’. Alcohol, drinking and drunkenness are key to unpacking backpacking and offer potentially fruitful research avenues for broader theoretical and empirical debates in tourist studies.
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