Travelling neo-tribes: Conceptualising recreational vehicle users



Publication Details

Hardy, A., Gretzel, U. & Hanson, D. (2013). Travelling neo-tribes: Conceptualising recreational vehicle users. Journal of Tourism and Cultural Change, 11 (1-2), 48-60.


Neo-tribes have been defined as including people from different walks of life who come together in fluid groupings, bound by common interests, similar lifestyles, rituals and language. This concept is popular in sociological literature, but has rarely been applied to travellers or tourism literature. This study sought to understand whether neo-tribalism could add insights into our existing knowledge of recreational vehicle (RV) users in Canada. Using a grounded theory approach including focus groups and in-depth interviews, the research found RV users exhibit neo-tribal characteristics which can be characterised as symbolic and behavioural. The behavioural aspects of this neo-tribe are evident in campsites, where rituals such as happy hours exist. Symbolic aspects included fluidity of membership and commitment to the RVing lifestyle. The findings suggest that the neo-tribal concept is a highly useful tool for understanding the motivations, behaviour and needs of travellers and adds new insights into our understanding of the RVing experience.

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