This article explores empirical and theoretical aspects concerning the heightened state of institutionalization of backpacking tourism. The exploration is accomplished through examining the evolution of Israeli backpacking in Asia and America over the past four decades, and the effects of institutionalization on the tourist experience. From a theoretical perspective, the article seeks to illustrate modern processes of institutionalization through a conceptualization of three, interrelated dimensions: changes in personal experience, social and cultural vicissitudes in social systems, and organizational processes. From an empirical point of view, these dimensions are considered across three faces of the evolution, during which they have undergone significant, concomitant changes. This has resulted in the gradual transformation of backpacking from the liminal and marginal practice, in which few alienated individuals participated during the sixties of the twentieth century, to a massive and normative form of touristic right of passage in contemporary Israeli society.
Keywords: Backpacking; Social Change; Israeli Society; Interpersonal Communication; Interpretation; History of Tourism; Institutionalization.go back to Articles