Authenticity, being true to oneself when making life choices, is a concept taken from existentialism. Simone de Beauvoir has one of her characters in her novel, The Mandarins pose a key, and serious existential question, ‘And then how shall we live?’ (Beauvoir, 1954, 35) to encourage her readers to examine their own lives rather than accept the social norms weighing upon them. ‘How shall we live?’ is a challenge to everyone to take responsibility for what they decide to do next. Tourism studies itself often returns to this theme first, as consumers choose destinations to visit and later, during holiday-making, when they make micro-decisions on what activity to do next, freed, as they are, from the everyday constraints of work. Ideas of authorisation, permission and even guilt surround these decisions during leisure time and the analysis in my own doctoral research (Mansfield 2015) uncovers these in a participatory case study. Visitors on literary holidays do have a source of authorisation or leadership provided by the author of the novel that has taken them to the resort when they are interrogating their cultural capital for knowledge on what to do next. New approaches to analyse this process are used in the analysis of my research findings, which uses auto-ethnography and grounded theory coding as proposed by Kathy Charmaz (2006).
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