Investigating sustainable tourism heterogeneity. Competing orders of worth among stakeholders of a Nordic destination

Lindberg, Frank/Fitchett, James/Martin, Diane  (2019)

In: Journal of Sustainable Tourism 27(8), pp. 1277-1294.

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“This paper contributes to increased knowledge of sustainable tourism heterogeneity by identifying how different underlying mindsets characterise negotiations among community stakeholders in a popular Nordic destination. Based on convention theory (orders of worth), this paper theorises how sustainable tourism is negotiated in-between tourism regimes that are shaped by order structures of society. While much research argues for stakeholder heterogeneity by presupposing the influence of a dominant tourism-centric logic, our ethnographic inspired study reveals the co-presence of an “activist” regime that brings about social change among “welfare” and “professional market” regimes. Assessing the disputes among stakeholders we reveal six orders of worth that constitute opposing justifications of sustainable tourism and thus the underlying mindsets of heterogeneity. We discover that stakeholders from various local cultures legitimise their positions quite arbitrarily across the various regimes to question previous theoretical accounts of the community-based perspective. We theorise the challenge of “boundary worth”, i.e. when a tourism initiative receives its identity on behalf of different orders of worth that blurs expectation and intentions. Finally, we argue that activist involvement in a destination can result in “composite compromises” that ease heterogeneity by balancing conflicting regimes without converging to either of the respective logics.”