Like a fish in water : Habitus adaptation mechanisms of informal tourism entrepreneurs in Thailand

Çakmak, Erdinç; Lie, Rico; Selwyn, Tom; Leeuwis, Cees


This article investigates possible pathways of habitus change by informal tourism entrepreneurs in Thailand. Bourdieu's concept of habitus is depicted as a person's understanding of the world. Do people adapt their worldview in response to only external stimuli? Through ethnographic fieldwork including participant observations and active semi-structured interviews with 53 participants, this paper identifies a classification of four modes of habitus adaptation: (1) Understanding and appreciating the field and its conditions, (2) Challenging core beliefs systems, (3) Applying a practical sense to ‘objective possibilities’, and, (4) Challenging non-reflective dispositions. We argue that charting the modes of habitus adaptation could help policymakers understand the change processes of informal entrepreneurs in the tourism sector and their willingness to change.