Feeling opulent: adding an affective dimension to symbolic consumption of themes
Themes direct the symbolic consumption of tourism. Most tourism research argues for symbolic association to represent cognitive meaning-making. Responding to the call for an affective turn in tourism studies, we argue for symbolic consumption of themes to be both affective and cognitive through the concept of ‘feeling’. We draw from our five-year long (2014–2019) ethnomethodological study of a gastronomic themed trail and explore opulence as a feeling. We find affective symbols of opulence, including sensory engagements, materialities and discourses. They demonstrate opulence to be an affective and cognitive amalgamation that comprises feelings of exclusivity, eliteness, indulgence and enrichment. Opulence is embodied, felt, as well as knowingly conformed to, through the entanglement of meanings and affects, and as understood through the theoretical discourses on affective dimensions of symbolic consumption in tourism. Managerially, the marketing of gastronomic trails is understood as a luxurious pursuit.
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