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Party Tourism

“Journal of Festive Studies”, n°5

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Published on Wednesday, March 02, 2022


This special issue of the Journal of Festive Studies is dedicated to Party tourism. While many types of festivities - religious celebrations, film festivals, and traditional local festivals - have been touristified over the last 150 years, what is generally referred to as “party tourism” (i.e, travel for which the main motivation is partying) is more specific. It involves one type of party that is usually urban, commodified and privatized, targets a young clientele, and centers on the massive consumption of psychoactive substances (alcoholic or otherwise). This phenomenon is often the subject of an approach focused on risks and conflicts between residents and partygoers, or between city officials and residents. While important to our discussion, these themes will not be central, so as to leave room for other, less-explored topics. This special issue wants to encourage a comprehensive approach to this phenomenon. It sits at the intersection between tourism studies and festive studies. We welcome contributions from various disciplinary fields and papers centering on nightlife economy in tourism, history representations and practices of party tourism and more.



Party tourism has often been subjected to strong, negative judgments in which one may discern a form of moral panic. The truth is that festive traditions are constantly reinvented and (re)born. Small-scale celebrations are not incompatible with the profit motive, and urban festivals are not by essence without soul. If the festive framework proposed by tourism promoters aims at limiting surprises – the organization of the parties leaves little room for improvisation –, perception may be different at the individual level, with the unexpected arising from the recesses of the “party playbook.” Customers play as big a role in the party as organizers do. The framework guides, but does not totally constrain. The partying practices of young Westerners are thus complex and make for a disparate leisure practice (Crozat and Fournier, 2005). Analyzing them requires that scholars avoid the twin pitfalls of moral/ social panic and festive enchantment.

As an economic sector, party tourism is not homogenous either. Tourist trips with a central festive motivation may be linked to a one-off event such as a festival or to a permanent festive fabric (as is the case with certain cities) or seasonal (think of certain European seaside resorts, for instance). Different party destinations do not attract the same type of clientele (whether in terms of gender, age, sexual orientation, social class, etc.), and they all have their own geography. Psychedelic raves, for instance, are more common in neglected neighborhoods ; “mass youth tourism” or “clubbing on holiday” take place in seaside resorts ; freshman orientation parties at business schools usually take place in privatized spaces ; stag and hen parties are commonly organized in downtown areas, etc. The type of party that we intend to focus on in this issue is of the commercial, organized, and professionalized kind – festivities that “are immediately part of urban and globalized modernity” (Lallement, 2019 : 10).

One way to look at them is as sites of youth identity construction. Marketing professionals certainly see the development of party tourism as a way to attract young people. This generational segmentation is rather new. In many older festivals, the whole community participated, at least until a certain time in the night. By focusing on the youth, big nightlife entrepreneurs are reinforcing the generational gap. Which does not mean that party tourism cannot be transgenerational, of course (this is the case with many Southern France ferias, for example). The “youth” category itself is far from uniform. Thus, certain forms of party tourism concern young heterosexual men in particular and have been considered a privileged site for the construction of masculinities (Thurnell Read, 2011 ; Boirot, 2020). Bachelorette parties are its counterpart for the study of the constructions and representations of the feminine. 

Party tourism can also be seen as a site of conflict – over noise, waste, land use, etc. – between residents and partygoers, or between city officials and residents. These issues, much like the risks incurred by partygoers (physical harm, substance abuse) are widely discussed in the literature on party tourism. While important to our discussion, these themes will not be central, so as to leave room for other, less-explored topics.

In brief, this issue sits at the intersection between tourism studies and festive studies. The two fields actually have a lot in common, as notions of escapism, time out of time, and liberation are projected onto both festivals and travelling. The main question that we wish to investigate is actually the following : What does the party do to tourism and what does tourism do to the party ?


Consequently, we welcome papers centering on the following topics :

- the Night Time Economy (NTE) in touristic places

- the circulation of goods in party tourism

- marketing campaigns in party tourism (Tour operators, night clubs, etc.)

- forms of labor in party tourism locations

- the production and the regulation of parties (workers, managers, Tour Operators, police, public authority...)

- party tourism as an element of discourse (political, economic, moral, etc.)

- history of party tourism and of places related to it

- methodological issues concerning party tourism (research methods, reference works, etc.),

- party tourists’ experiences, values, and representations

- the sociology of the actors/stakeholders of party tourism (age, class, race, gender, nationality, etc.)

Submission guidelines

As this list shows, our call for submissions is meant to attract scholars of all disciplinary backgrounds, including (but not limited to) urban sociologists, tourism studies scholars, cultural historians and anthropologists.

Scholars interested in submitting should upload their article (6,000-12,000 words) with an abstract (c. 250 words) and a brief bio statement (150 words max.) to the Journal of Festive Studies website by June 30, 2022.

the Journal of festive studies, (https://journals.h-net.org/jfs), an international peer-reviewed journal published on H-Net.

Please consult the author guidelines and our About page for more information on the journal before submission.

Evaluation procedures

All original articles published by JFS undergo a rigorous double-blind peer review process prior to publication.

Editorial Team

Lead Journal Editors

  • Ellen Litwicki (Professor Emerita of History, State University of New York at Fredonia, USA)
  • Aurélie Godet (Associate Professor of American Studies, Nantes Université, France)

Editorial Board

  • Lionel Arnaud (Professor of Sociology at Toulouse University, France) (2019-21)
  • Russell Belk (Professor of Marketing at York University, Toronto, Canada) (2019-21)
  • Linda A. Curcio-Nagy (Associate Professor of History, University of Nevada-Reno, USA) (2019-21)
  • Matthew Dennis (Professor Emeritus of History and Environmental Studies at the University of Oregon, USA) (2019-23)
  • Nicole Ferdinand (Senior Lecturer in Hospitality Management at Oxford Brookes University, UK) (2019-21)
  • Samuel Kinser (Professor Emeritus of History at Northern Illinois University, USA) (2019-23)
  • Alexis McCrossen (Professor of History at Southern Methodist University, Dallas, Texas, USA) (2019-23)
  • Jack Santino (Professor of Folklore and Popular Culture Studies at Bowling Green State University, Ohio, USA) (2019-21)
  • Alessandro Testa (Research Fellow, Institute of Sociological Studies, Charles University, Prague, Czech Republic) (2019-21)
  • Lisa Voigt (Professor of Spanish and Portuguese at Ohio State University, USA) (2019-23)
  • Shane White (Challis Professor of History at Sydney University, Australia) (2019-21)


If you have any further questions, please contact Alix Boirot (alix.boirot@ehess.fr).


  • Thursday, June 30, 2022


  • party, tourism, young, nightlife economy, festive studies, tourism studies, representation, springbreak, drinking culture, night


  • Alix BOIROT
    courriel : alix [dot] boirot [at] inserm [dot] fr

Information source

  • Alix BOIROT
    courriel : alix [dot] boirot [at] inserm [dot] fr


CC0-1.0 This announcement is licensed under the terms of Creative Commons CC0 1.0 Universal.

To cite this announcement

« Party Tourism », Call for papers, Calenda, Published on Wednesday, March 02, 2022, https://doi.org/10.58079/18d6

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