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Relative deprivation, globalization, and reflexivity: a cross-community comparative analysis of tourists as a salient reference group in the Mexican Yucatán peninsula

dc.contributor.authorSydoriak, Stacia, author
dc.contributor.authorHempel, Lynn, advisor
dc.contributor.authorRaynolds, Laura, committee member
dc.contributor.authorVelasco, Marcela, committee member
dc.contributor.authorTaylor, Pete, committee member
dc.description.abstractAs developing countries are becoming more globally engaged, inequality continues to persist. As a result, there has been an increased interest in relative deprivation and its implications for societal health and wellbeing (i.e. Wilkinson and Pickett 2007, Ravallion 2008, Mangyo and Park 2010). To advance the current literature of relative deprivation, I will explore the impact that increased interactions with tourists have on participants' perceptions of relative deprivation and inequality in six different communities in the Mexican Yucatán peninsula. A principle tenant of relativity in the context of deprivation is the existence of a comparative component, known as reference groups. A central question in the relative deprivation literature poses is: When we speak of the relative deprivation of a population, just who is it that we are comparing them to? In this study, I conduct 64 semi-structured interviews to addresses what type of differences in reference group formation exist at the community and individual level in a globalizing world. Specifically, I explore the way the constant flow of international tourists through the communities in the Yucatán Peninsula might create a type of "global-local" reference group that extends beyond the literature's traditional understandings of reference groups. An important methodological contribution to reference group theory is also made, as opposed to previous research, participants' in this study self-selected salient reference groups for themselves. Findings suggest that the way in which an individual defines inequality impacts their perceptions of its existence and persistence within their own communities, as well as the basis for how their reference group(s) for self-comparison form. In addition, salient reference groups extend beyond the traditional types of reference groups, and, in this case, include foreign tourists. Drawing on these findings, I posit that in this study, participants' daily interactions, with whom they frequently interact, and at what level of depth these interactions take place influences the way in which they perceive themselves in comparison to others, and with whom they tend to compare themselves to. Essentially, the salience of tourists as a reference group represent one of a multitude of ways increased global interactions under the umbrella of globalization influence reference group formation. This suggests that there are likely a variety of ways that a developing nation's move toward a more globalized society impact individuals perceptions of inequality, and that there are a plethora of individuals and groups that can emerge as salient reference groups as a result of the globalization process. In the future, it appears that as countries continue to develop, relative deprivation will become an increasingly important way to conceptualize and address poverty and social problems as a whole. Moving forward, qualitatively building on relative deprivation and reference group theory advancements may prove to be integral to enhancing both individual and societal wellbeing, and so must continue to be examined carefully as part of the solution to decreasing inequality and relative poverty around the globe.
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dc.publisherColorado State University. Libraries
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dc.titleRelative deprivation, globalization, and reflexivity: a cross-community comparative analysis of tourists as a salient reference group in the Mexican Yucatán peninsula
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