1st Edition

Understanding Young Chinese Backpackers
The Pursuit of Freedom and Its Risks


Xie Jia

  • Available for pre-order. Item will ship after July 27, 2021
ISBN 9781032039985
July 27, 2021 Forthcoming by Routledge
192 Pages 5 B/W Illustrations

USD $170.00

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Book Description

An activity that originated in western societies, backpacking has gained increasing popularity among Chinese millennials. In a spirit of the"search-for-self", young Chinese backpackers have sought to display their pursuit of freedom, independence, and responsibility within an increasingly individualized society through backpacking.

This volume investigates contemporary young Chinese’ views on backpacking culture and backpackers. A group of Chinese backpackers are studied using interview and participant observation, and focus groups are conducted to study young professionals and university students’ attitudes towards backpacking. The results indicating a profound cultural change along with a degree of division. On the one hand, the backpackers often begin their journey due to a desire to pursue freedom, and use the pursuit as a process of reflexive awareness; on the other, the risks of carrying out a freewheeling lifestyle within an individualised society drive the majority of them to return home. The author concludes this phenomenon as a kind of"staged individualism", describing how Chinese millennials strike a balance between individual interests and wider social obligations.

Students and scholars of sociology, tourism, and youth culture will be interested in this volume.

Table of Contents

1. Introduction. 2. Conceptualization 3. Methodology. 4. Pursuing freedom: Backpackers in the eyes of their contemporaries. 5. Be a backpacker, be independent. 6 Alternative seeker: Backpacking as a way of life. 7. A new classification of the backpacker. 8. Understanding young Chinese backpackers: The pursuit of freedom and its risks

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Jia Xie is a distinguished research fellow in the School of Tourism Management at South China Normal University. Her research covers backpacker culture, sociology of tourism and geographies of media and communication.