Understanding Valuing Devices in Tourism through “Place-making”
The paper explores how valuing devices and verification mechanisms such as user-generated content (UGC) websites partake in performing placeness. The findings are based upon a corpus of data including a case study at the offices of the largest user-generated travel website, TripAdvisor, a longitudinal netnographic approach and a conceptual review. Originally inspired by theorists of space we treat places as sites of becoming that are performed through everyday practices. In claiming that places become meaningful only in and through practices we stress the importance of treating rating and ranking mechanisms as generative, rather than merely reductive algorithmically produced representations. By juxtaposing traditional enactments of traveling, we are discussing how placeness has been transformed and how this has fueled a series of further revisions to valuing tourism. We conclude the paper by appreciating the multiplicity of performativity as being implicated in the algorithmic configurations on contemporary valuing devices and enacted as we read, interpret, write, imagine. It is suggested that although earlier valuing devices have evoked place-making in various ways, the rise of UGC websites has converted the travel experience into a constant negotiation process whereby both the value of places and the value of valuing devices are contested.
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