Consuming the city: Conceptualizing and researching urban tourist knowledge

Martin Selby

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

78 Citations (Scopus)


It is promising to find that studies of urban tourism, drawing upon planning marketing, management science and materialist perspectives, are finally being complemented by research into the culture and experience of place consumption. Notwithstanding, this paper argues that many cultural studies still fail to engage with landscapes, representations and encounters which are salient to place consumers. This paper aims to examine and address these problems, in terms of both conceptualization and research. The discussion initially emphasizes the readings of different groups of place consumers. Although recent studies exploring the embodied nature of tourism are useful, studies of urban tourism can be revitalized with humanistic concepts and methods focusing on the knowledge of place consumers. This is demonstrated through a study of tourist knowledge of Cardiff, using both repertory grid interviews and surveys. The data reveal an intersubjective language of tourist knowledge and discrepancies between mediated and non-mediated knowledge. Concepts and methods focusing on the knowledge-of-place consumers subsequently enable tourism geographers to capture the lived realities and everyday readings of urban tourism landscapes and representations.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)186-207
Number of pages22
JournalTourism Geographies
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - May 2004
Externally publishedYes


  • Cardiff
  • Culture
  • Experience
  • Knowledge
  • Place consumers
  • Urban tourism

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • Tourism, Leisure and Hospitality Management


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