Graduation Year


Document Type




Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)

Degree Granting Department


Major Professor

Margarethe Kusenbach, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Laurel Graham, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Beatriz Padilla, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Feng Hao, Ph.D.

Committee Member

David Schweingruber, Ph.D.


China, package tourism, Identity, social media


I situate my dissertation research within cultural sociology, specifically the cultural phenomenon of international tourism, and social psychology, particularly the subfields of identity, interaction, and emotion. I conducted a qualitative study of participants in international package tourism and individual travelers, more specifically, Chinese tourists who travel to the United States. Main topics of exploration included tourists’ experience of their trips and package tours, how they interpreted American culture and compared it to their own, how they constructed and performed identities both as tourists and as Chinese nationals, their emotional experiences and how they made sense of an environment that they were not intimately familiar with before they arrived.Also central to the research was an exploration of the interactions and constructions of meaning that happened during the trip, including interactions among tourists, between tourists and the tour guide, tourists and Americans, and between tourists and their family and friends back home. I argue that while traveling to the United States, Chinese tourists faced a situation that required them to re-categorize ideas about who they are while making sense of a new social and physical environment, which included interpreting the local cultural and emotion rules. At the same time, they constructed and maintained tourist identities in both physical and virtual settings in various ways.

Included in

Sociology Commons