Distinction through ecotourism: Factors influencing sustainable consumer choices

Katarzyna Negacz*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to JournalArticleAcademicpeer-review


This paper analyses behavioural patterns related to sustainable consumption and ecotourism, using the theoretical framework of Pierre Bourdieu referring to social differentiation expressed through consumption. Our goal is to evaluate how the theoretical approach of Bourdieu can be used to analyse sustainable consumption in the tourism sector. We address this question by determining how different types of capital influence consumer choices. Firstly, we analyse the theoretical assumptions of Pierre Bourdieu’s framework relating to sustainable consumer choices using content analysis. Secondly, we conduct semi-structured expert interviews. Thirdly, we examine a case study of ecotourism. The results show that sustainable consumption in tourism is present in all social classes through diversified behaviour, although motivations for it differ considerably, and a minimum amount of a cultural capital is necessary. Based on Bourdieu’s framework, we derive four assumptions related to sustainable consumption subsequently confirmed in the interviews and the case study of ecotourism. The findings of this study provide a better understanding of factors influencing sustainable consumption, and will be useful for researchers, policymakers and business practitioners.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)514-530
Number of pages17
JournalScandinavian Journal of Hospitality and Tourism
Issue number5
Early online date23 Sep 2021
Publication statusPublished - 2021

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This work was supported by the Warsaw School of Economics. The author want to extend his/her thanks to Bas Bruning and Sandhiya Goolaup for reviewing the manuscript in an early phase.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021 The Author(s). Published by Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group.


  • cultural capital
  • distinction
  • ecotourism
  • Pierre Bourdieu
  • sustainable consumption


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