Peripheral travelers: how American solo women backpackers participate in two communities of practice
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To investigate the ways in which communities of practice affect individuals' identity development, qualitative research methods were used to understand the impact solo travel had on American women's identity development. A theoretical framework developed from the disciplines of tourism, feminism and adult education was used to inform the study. Using a combined method methods approach (naturalistic inquiry and grounded theory), three components of the backpacker community of practice were identified which gave rise to a model of identity development within a particular community. This study has implications for adult education theory as it clearly suggests the interrelatedness of the social context in which this learning takes place (communities of practice), and adult development theory (identity formation). In practical terms it illustrates and also challenges the notion of identity change as irreversible, suggesting learners need constant support to retain new ways of viewing the world and themselves.
Tomaszewski, Lesley Eleanor (2003). Peripheral travelers: how American solo women backpackers participate in two communities of practice. Doctoral dissertation, Texas A&M University. Texas A&M University. Available electronically from