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A break from 'reality': An investigation into the 'experiments with subjectivity' on offer within the promotion of sustainable tourism in the UK

Journal of Consumer Culture

Published online on


In recent years concerns surrounding the impact of humans on the environment and other humans have been increasingly voiced in the West, particularly in relation to the production–consumption chain. This article aims to explore the trajectories of these social and environmental concerns via the promotion of an explicitly ethical product: sustainable tourism. What follows shall presents a brief account of the ways in which consumer goods are increasingly suggested to offer a means to the ‘external’ promotional of an ‘internal’ self. With this in mind it will then be suggested that such a vision of the self is too simplistic and Foucault’s understanding of power, knowledge and ethics briefly presented. This article shall then move on to explore the methodology adopted in the present research, offering an account of the use of the internet in data collection and the framework for analysis employed. Following this the article will turn to explore, via the promotion of sustainable tourism on the internet, the ways in which potential sustainable tourists are being invited to understand themselves as ‘ethical’ and ‘experiment with subjectivity’. Finally, some brief thoughts will be offered regarding the implication of such understandings of ethics and sustainability for both the potential tourist and host community.