Acta Geographica Sinica ›› 2015, Vol. 70 ›› Issue (10): 1632-1663.doi: 10.11821/dlxb201510008

• Rural Settlement and Tourism Geography • Previous Articles     Next Articles

The construction of tourists' placeness identity of Barkhor Street in Lhasa

Xianyang HU1,2(), Kai BAI2()   

  1. 1. School of Geography and Planning, Sun Yat-Sen University, Guangzhou 510275, China
    2. School of Tourism and Environment, Shaanxi Normal University, Xi'an 710062, China
  • Received:2014-12-17 Revised:2015-05-30 Online:2015-10-20 Published:2015-10-20
  • Supported by:
    National Natural Science Foundation of China, No.41271157;Planning Project of National Tourism Administration, No.TYETP201343;Social Science Foundation of Shaanxi Province, No.13Q046;Fundamental Research Funds for the Central Universities, No.11SZYB32, No.GK201505105


Place is a subjective creation of human groups at regional level. Its structure changes with differences among diverse identity groups. In order to explore the dimensions and structure of placeness identity, this paper selects Barkhor Street in Lhasa as a case to conduct an empirical research from the tourists' perspective. Involving theoretical construction and empirical test, the research uses Grounded Theory and SEM to enrich the theoretical connotation of place theory and provide reference for further research. The authors build an exploratory theoretical model of tourists' placeness identity, which includes three categories-perceptional space, living space and subjective space, and seven subcategories-natural distinctiveness, cultural distinctiveness, self-efficiency, environmental manageability, consistency, attachment and self-esteem. Placeness identity is not a metaphysical concept, but a concept existing in the heart of each tourist. A questionnaire was developed to measure tourists' placeness identity. The scale consists of 23 items, which belong to seven dimensions. The scale is well-formed and has a good reliability and validity. The study finds that tourists tend to agree with the features of Barkhor Street' placeness. Perceptional space has the highest score, followed by living space and subjective space. In the seven subcategories, cultural distinctiveness is the highest, followed by natural distinctiveness, attachment, self-efficiency, environmental manageability, self-esteem, and consistency. This paper designed five competition models according to the theoretical structure. With confirmatory factor analysis, model five was found to be the best model which has good convergent validity and discriminant validity. The conclusion confirms the effectiveness of the exploratory model. In addition, this paper discusses the formation procedure of placeness, and the interaction between the production of space and placeness identity, as well as the level progression and transformation of placeness identity.

Key words: placeness, tourist identity, Barkhor Street, grounded theory, theory construction, scale development, Lhasa