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In your own words, explain the following definitions of

a. Maladaptiveness of behaviour
b. Deviation from social norms
c. Deviation from statistical norms
d. Personal distress

Before explaining the four interrelated concepts, I shall try to make a short
incursion into the history of abnormality and highlight some of the most
important instrumental notions which help in my attempt to defining the
Throughout history, philosophers and physicians gave different
explanations and classifications for abnormal behaviour. Suffice it to say
that even a bird's-eye view of the basic studies will place us in a difficult
position of finding the right ingredients and defining comprehensively
abnormality and deviance. Human nature seems to firmly obstinate to get
encapsulated in our definitions. When it comes to transfer western
classifications and diagnosis across cultures, one can find itself lost as not
only that our tools are inadequate but they do not find any reference, any
object to treat the disorders are missing. The occidental behaviours are
not normative and their deviations neither. The lens have to be changed
otherwise we run the risk of being diagnosed as culturally blind. Culture
blindness may not be so far, through its consequences, from the
superstitions and supernatural forces ascribed to mental and behavioural
disorders in the ancient times. Throughout history there have been many
theories of the etiology of mental illness: supernatural, somatogenic or
psychogenic interpretation framework coexisted and developed over time.
Hippocrates, Galen, Avicenna, Paracelsus, J. Weyer, Ph. Pinel, Benjamin
Rush, Emil Kraepelin, Freud, Mesmer, Charcot, Breuer, the classical
behavioural schools and all the modern and postmodern paradigms are
the main stops in our voyage through madness and civilization. We have
to stop and pay a visit to their material bodies too, the modern
institutionalised houses, hospitals, asylums where disordered minds,
possessed bodies found their cure or reached the abysses of insanity or
complete demonic possession. Religious or magical remedies, healing
rituals, charms and prayers, trephining, hallucinogens, drugs, acupuncture,
bloodletting, talking therapy, incubation in temples, incantations, amulets,
exorcism, purification through tortures, starvation, extreme pain, diets,
shocking the possessed person, animal magnetism (Mesmer), lobotomies,
insulin shock therapies, cathartic methods, electro convulsive therapies,
psychic energizers, cognitive behavioural therapies, natural therapy,
massages, homeopathy and all the postmodern therapies are examples of
treatments for the troubles of the soma and psych throughout the history
of humanity. If in doubt or to be on the safe side, we can always consult
International Classification of Diseases (ICD) or (DSM) that stands for
Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders and the answers,
methods, techniques, remedies, cures for casting the evil spirits out of our
imbalanced bodies and neurotic minds are all there.

Maladaptiveness of behaviour

Adaptive behaviour is related to an individuals social competence, that is,

to what is appropriate within a particular context or situation. Adaptive
behaviour was defined by AAMR (2002) as the collection of conceptual,
social, and practical skills that have been learned by people in order to
function in their everyday lives. As we can see, within this broad construct
of social competence. adaptive behaviour is related to how the social and
cultural values of personal independency and social responsibility are
effectively and appropriately accomplished by a particular individual.

Generally, people deviating from the norm are considered "abnormal".

Maladaptive behaviours are related to the incapacity of individual to
manage constructively negative emotions, frustrations, temporary anxiety
and to re-adjust to social life by engaging in positive behaviours. Usually
maladaptive behaviours are seen as dysfunctional because they are
non-productive in the long run and provide only short-term relief from
anxiety. In the long run they prove to be harmful to himself and to others
around by their outcome. As the main root of the problem leaves unsolved,
the individual finds himself in a trap without many chances of escaping
from the dangerous addictions or behaviours.
Some examples of maladaptive behaviours are the addictions (sex
addiction, internet addiction, addiction to exercise etc), substance abuse,
anger conversion, attention-seeking behaviour, disordered eating, self-
harm, work-alcoholism etc.
As a means to cope with fear or anxiety, sometimes people use alcohol or
other substances that provide a temporary relief and the illusion of control
over the situation. Once dependence is installed, the individual will lose all
control over himself and his will becoming this way the slave of his
addiction. Mentally and behaviourally he will be at the mercy of the
consequences of his addiction and in order to recover he has to engage in
a long psychological process and follow specific therapies accordingly.
Some maladaptive behaviour can be very dangerous not only for the
individual but also for others around as they become the witnesses of the
auto-destruction process, the victims of a kind of emotional abuse. Without
entering in any psychological analysis, self-harm, alcoholism, suicide
attempts, substance misuse, self-inflicted destruction etc have a direct
negative impact on others as well as they feel emotionally and socially
responsible to help the individual to recover. These kind of maladaptive
behaviours are harmful to one`s self and to family or society as well by
their disruptive consequences at macro-social level. Sometimes there is
only a slight boundary between a maladaptive behaviour with negative
consequences for the subject himself and for the others. When these
maladaptive behaviours lead to harming other people, the private sphere
ceases and the public authority will be entitled to manage the disruptive

There are other maladaptive behaviours such as sport addiction, internet

addiction that even if are compulsory do not have a negative impact on
others or at social level the disruptiveness level is low.

Deviation from social norms

The abnormal behaviour is related this time to deviation from the social
norms or conventions that regulate as an invisible hand the behaviours of
individuals in a given society at some point in time. The social norms
existed and exist in all cultures and it is impossible to imagine one place
populated with at least two individuals and without any rules or
conventions that govern their social order. The norms can be formal or
informal; can be conventions, rules without any meaning or legitimacy
outside a certain delimited space/ territory or period of time. Depending
on how open or exposed the social group is, the norms can be subject to
influences or changes over time.
Norms impose uniformity of behaviour within a given social group and any
small deviation is frowned upon or severely punished according to the
degree of importance of the norm or the feelings offended.
From their birth, through socialisation process, people are exposed to all
kind of norms and social constrains, more or less explicitly justified, more
or less rational. People are expected to internalise them and to behave
accordingly. When fail, the group shall use its punishment tools in order to
restore the social equilibrium and direct the individual on the right path. If
the wrong behaviour persists, the individual is labelled as abnormal and
pressures are made in order to determine the individual to adhere to
majority norms.
Deviation is related to cultures, to contexts, to times. Wearing burqa is a
must in some Islamic countries, unusual in other countries, habitual or
ignored in others. Labelling an entire culture as abnormal, in some cases,
may be as unfair as labelling a single individual as abnormal when
deviating from the majority rules or failing to meet the "standard deviation
There are numerous studies analysing the relationship between
intelligence and cultures. While there is a little consensus on what
intelligence really means from one culture to another, the literature
suggests that culture of an individual will determine how intelligence is
conceived. The problem arises when people from one culture will be
assessed according to standards and criteria from another culture and
labelled as retarded. It is well known the example of Japanese students
failing to get good scores in their literature assignments while studying in
France. Their way of analysing the texts was not well appreciated by their
French teachers as perceived as beat around the bush, too metaphorical
and poetics. The Japanese students, despite an excellent command of
French language, were failing to leave up to the analytical, rigorous
standards of French tradition.

Deviation from statistical norms

Social norms designate a number of cultural phenomena that prescribe

and proscribe behaviours in specific circumstances, according to Hetcher
and Opp, 2001. In economy, a norm is defined by the regularity that can
be measured by the mean or median behaviour within a reference group
and any deviation is measured accordingly. Following this paradigm, in
psychology statistical normality/ abnormality assumes there is such a
thing as average behaviour. The difficulties arise when trying to place in
fixed categories and measure human nature according valid indicators.
How can we measure the normality for hunger, enthusiasm, beauty,
emotional intelligence etc? How legitimate is to speak about Abnormally
beautiful? Abnormally sick or healthy? Abnormally creative?

Perception on beauty for instance varies significantly from culture to

culture and over time we can see a remarkable diversity of beauty ideals.
A curvy women body is seen as image of beauty and health in Latino or
most African countries but as overweight or unhealthy in most western
In countries like Mauritania, Nauru , Samoa, Jamaica, Tonga, Tahiti being
fat is considered a sign of prosperity, health and beauty whereas in most
occidental countries fat is exactly the opposite.

Human behaviour can be seen as abnormal if it falls outside a range that is

considered statistically typical.
Apart from all cultural differences or historical times, the statistical norms
are relative to the population that is being measured. For instance,
measuring the anxiety would be a difficult task as there would be
necessary to discriminate between children, women, men and all other
categories because trying to apply the same criteria and making the same
mean would give us inappropriate answers.

Thus, one has to be aware of the limits of these statistical norms when
analysing human behaviour and labelling them as normal or abnormal.

Personal distress
A third criterion of abnormal behavior is personal distress. When
we engage in abnormal behavior, the cause (and sometimes, result) of our
behavior can be distress. A good example of this is obsessive-compulsive
disorder, where anxiety about something can lead to compulsive behaviors
meant to relieve that distress. The problem with personal distress, though,
is that some people with mental illness do not feel distress, such as people
with antisocial personality disorder who have an underdeveloped
We all suffer from some form of distress but sometimes distress may
be indicative of an underlying psychological problem. Distress therefore
becomes the symptom of psychological disorder and is often used as a
way of gauging someone's mental state.

Psychological distress is a general term used to describe

unpleasant feelings or emotions that impact your level of functioning. In
other words, it is psychological discomfort that interferes with your
activities of daily living. Psychological distress can result in negative views
of the environment, others, and the self. Sadness, anxiety, distraction, and
symptoms of mental illness are manifestations of psychological distress.

So, no two people experience one event the exact same way.
Psychological distress is a subjective experience. That is, the severity of
psychological distress is dependent upon the situation and how we
perceive it. We can think of psychological distress as a continuum with
'mental health' and 'mental illness' at opposing ends. As we continue to
experience different things, we travel back and forth on the continuum at
different times throughout our lives.

Traumatic experiences, such as the death of a loved one, are causes of

psychological distress. Psychological distress can be thought of as a
maladaptive response to a stressful situation. Psychological distress occurs
when external events or stressors place demands upon us that we are
unable to cope with. For example, we may struggle to accept that a loved
one is no longer with us. As a result, we become sad and have trouble
getting out of bed, we are unable to focus at work, and we lose interest in
social activities.
Major life transitions, i.e. moving to a new state or graduating from
college, can be a source of psychological stress if you are unable to cope
with the demands that these transitions place on you or are having
difficulty adjusting to the new situation. Sudden unexpected events, such
as a loved one's death of a heart attack or being fired from a job, can also
cause psychological distress.
Even everyday stressors, such as traffic, have the potential to cause
psychological distress. Some other sources of psychological distress
Cancer and other medical illness
Starting a new job
Being a victim of bullying
Adverse school experiences
Adverse work experiences
Mental illness
s we previously stated, psychological distress is a subjective experience.
Just as no two people experience events in the same way, no two people
manifest psychological distress in exactly same way. For example, suppose
that you and your mother were in a car accident and both experienced
psychological distress as a result. Yet while you experience sleep
disturbances, fatigue, and sadness, your mother experiences anxiety
related to driving and memory problems and avoids social activities.
Other symptoms of psychological distress include:
Weight gain
Anger management problems
Obsessive thoughts or compulsions
Physical symptoms not explained by a medical condition
Decreased pleasure in sexual activities
Reckless acts, i.e. excessive shopping sprees
Belief that others can hear your thoughts
Belief that your thoughts are not your own
Strange or unusual behaviors, i.e. wearing your clothing backwards




28 years ago, my interlocutor was 32. Nowadays he is 60 and he kindly

accepted a short time travel into his past and the past of our country,
Romania. I decided to choose my country for this analysis out of a
personal interest in the culture of Romania over time and also as an
opportunity to become more aware of different perceptions and compare
with mine (even if I was at the beginning of my adolescence at that time).

As two weeks ago I returned to Bucharest on holiday, I took advantage and

invited Adrian at a cup of tea at Libraria Carturesti (an intimate and
charming place in the old city of Bucharest) and ask him to leave his
memories wander between past and present.
I allowed my interlocutor all freedom to develop his ideas giving him some
at the beginning some indicative questions regarding: Cultural Romanian
Identity or Identities?; Areas of Romanian culture that changed the most
and how; Cultural features that disappeared over time or altered in a
significant way; Directions of change nowadays; Romanian culture
between change and stability.

Notes :

Definition of concepts: distinction between social change and cultural

change : cultural change broader than social change as the term cultural
change embraces all changes occurring in art, science, technology, forms
of social organisation.

Examples: the impact of technology, ideology, new practices,

and lifestyles can lead to a cultural change. Social change refers to
alterations or changes in social relationship among people.

Social change is a permanent feature of all societies and at all times. It

may be slow, almost imperceptible, incremental or it may be sudden and

The role of ideology in cultural change

Marxists believed that social order was maintained through socialisation,
education and ideology
Social movements, along with technology, social institutions, population,
and environmental changes, create social change.

Revolutions are another way in which cultures can change. Entire political
and economic systems, legal systems, rulers, and ways of life can change
due to revolution

The fall of Ceausescu Regime and the beginning of a new page of history

1989 was the year of remarkable popular uprisings throughout the world.
December saw the fall of the communist dictator, Nicolae Ceauescu and a
new era started.

- the new governments implemented a series of economic and

democratic reforms. Romania became a member of NATO and
the European Union in 2004 and 2007, respectively.

Social change is a continual process in all societies

Various factors, such as revolutions, technological progress,

demographic, cultural diffusion, economic and education alter
structural relationships in a society and bring about social
change. New social values and beliefs produce social change;

Laws, public opinion, media, the electoral process = instruments

of social change.

The new face of Romania of today cannot be understand without reference

to the cultural and political legacies of communist past.

Nowadays dramatic changes at micro-level: decomposition/ disintegration

of families cell of society;
Immigration and drama at personal and familial level

Fragmentation of identity the nomad identity

Major changes at political, economic, institutional levels, civil society;
integration in EU and all international organizations.
Today Romania has one of the most dynamic media markets in south
eastern Europe.
At least the main big cities like Bucharest, Timisoara, Cluj, Iasi, Constanta
etc can be comparable with many occidental cities.

Big international corporations chose Romania as destination for their


Dramatic changes in mentalities, values, attitudes of people

Mixed feelings: nostalgia for the communist past to older generations =

unable to adapt to the new social realities
Still Coexistence between modern/democratic and communist
Romania Identity or Identities? Answer Identities

Major victim: family identity because of immigration experiences;

dissolution of families.

Directions of change nowadays- one way: a stable democratic country

Romanian culture between change and stability incremental changes at

all levels; cultural change by diffusion process; Romanian society is open
to absorb, adapt or just borrow new values, behaviours, ways of being,

The Problem of identity at micro-level the main problems may be related

to identity issues as if in the past the facility used to live together, after
Revolution, despite all difficulties with visa a great number of young and
middle age people, women and men left the country for temporary or
permanent job. One Romania entered the UE, the families faced a new
wave of dismantlement. The dramas are going not only at family level, but
also at personal one as after a number of years spent abroad the
individuals face identity problems; they not feel any more willing to live in
their country in the long run, they feel strangers elsewhere, they are
nostalgic and idealise their home country pendulum between two
confused identities or more.

2. using notesessay

My interlocutor focused his discourse on the analysis of one major social

change that one society can face, namely a revolution, event that change
abruptly and radically the destiny of his country. The analysis focuses on
selecting major moments and factors that influenced significantly the
culture, the history of the nation, the destiny of its people. The fall of
communist regime represents the most important moment that allowed
the construction of the new Romania a patchwork of old and modern, of
communist remains (architecture, mentalities) and occidental values and
styles that combine more or less harmoniously and in constant conflict.
Free movement of goods, capital, services, and people, private propriety,
private initiative, access to credits. freedom of speech, freedom of justice,
freedom of media, internet, free access to information, democracy, living,
working and travelling in the EU, competition, digital economy, human
rights, McDonalds, mobile phone, global village concept, rights for gays
and lesbians, etc we take them for granted nowadays but 28 years ago
there were not even a dream.

Even if a stable democracy now, Romania is still in full process of

democratisation at all levels. If we look at the big cities, we can find
striking similarities with any modern European city; if we go further in the
heart of some villages one may still wondering if people there are living in
Romania of today.
The transitional periods are confronted with a process of remodelling
existential choices, transforming mind settings, shifting mentalities.

Nearly a generation has passed since Romania embarked on its historic

transition from communism to capitalism and democracy.

All societies are involved in a process of social change, however, this

change may be so incremental that the members of the society are hardly
aware of it. In our case, the change was abrupt and all the changes
imposed themselves not giving enough time to people to internalise them.
As cultures change, religious and moral beliefs either transform, become
modified or rejected, or simply remain the same. Some societies reconcile
new cultural changes into their existing moral code, while others
discontinue the old values claiming an entirely new worldview. Romania
can be defined as a mixed of both, like a marriage started some decades
ago and still in process of deciding to divorce or not. This tumultuous and
conflictual relationship will finish in the end in a divorce.
Like in any separation, there are victims, losses and pain. Our interlocutor
stopped on the most affected part of the society the family and
individual identity.

Marx viewed the course of history (social change) in terms of the

philosophy of dialectics. (An idea borrowed from Hegel but Marx called it
materialistic. According to Hegel, evolution proceeds according to a
system of three stagesthesis, antithesis and synthesis). Accordingly, the
change, development, and progress take place by way of contradiction
and conflict and that the resulting change leads to a higher unity.

Even "rock-solid" institutions like the family, the law, and religions are
subject to change, even though they represent social continuity. There has
always been 'family' and it is still the
foundational institution for society and the primary agent of socialisation,
however the composition of 'family' has changed in recent years, leading
to different kinds of families and different socialisation experiences for
their members.
The desintegration of the traditional familiy model has had dramatic
consequences on their members for both those that left the country and
those remaining. Chidren spent their childhood without at least one of
their parents, couples lived separately for long periods of time, parents felt
abandoned, and those that left the country felt divided between two lands.

Social and cultural continuities can be likened to individuals' habits -

comfortable patterns of behaviour that give individuals a sense of security
and personal control - a haven or a respite in a sea of social and cultural
change. There is a high correlation between the rate of social and cultural
change and resistance to that change. In times when members of a
society feel that change is 'out of control', it is likely that the desire for
continuity becomes more extreme, resulting in backward-looking
idealisations of the past.

As Bauman notes, 'Most of us, most of the time, are in two minds about
that novelty of "bond-free living" - of relationships "with no strings
attached". We covet them and fear them at the same time.' The flipside of
freedom from ties rooted in social convention is a lack of guarantees, and
a heightened consciouness of the risk involved in relationships.

Forms of modern life may differ in quite a few respects but what unites
them all is precisely their fragility, temporariness, vulnerability and
inclination to constant change. To be modern means to modernize
compulsively, obsessively; not so much just to be, let alone to keep its
identity intact, but forever becoming, avoiding completion, staying under
- defined.

Each new structure which replaces the previous one as soon as it is

declared old-fashioned and past its use-by date is only another momentary
settlement acknowledged as temporary and until further notice. Being
always, at any stage and at all times, post-something is also a feature of

As time flows on, modernity changes its forms in the manner of the
legendary Proteus . . .
According to some authors, we are living now in a 'liquid modernity' and
we are having now a liquid identity.

The major problem my interviewee highlighted is an ontological one: the

society, the groups, the family and the individuals are in constant process
of defining themselves. The rigid and predictable social structures were
replaced by ever - changing and fluid form and in order to survive one
must to adapt to fluidity. In order to adapt one must learn and practice
new competencies and behaviours. As forgetting is impossible, it is easily
understandable why we can still find relic of old mentalities and
sometimes some strange monsters with two heads communist and
democratic one.
In my opinion, we have different degrees of rigidity and different tempos of
change attaching to different social structures, social identity or personal
identity. Under the inexorable and fatal passage of time, everything in this
world, from cultures, civilizations, to human beings seems to be destined
to both a solid and liquid existential condition - a "stiff molasses".

3. Did you learn ?

My conversation with Adrian makes me reassess a wide array of concepts

and reflect upon new perspectives of reading and interpreting some
existential problems. I call them existential because they are related to my
past and my present, to my country and my fragmented identity.

I was a teenager when the Revolution happened but I recall vividly a lot of
quotidian experiences from that communist period school time, queues
to get rationalised bread, meat, sugar, oil etc. As an anecdote, the queue
is not only a British cultural feature but also a Romanian one we have a
long tradition in making a queue but with a huge difference; the organised
and patient English queues have a chaotic, angry and impatient version in
Romania maybe now when seeing Romanian people in their queue you
will be more tolerant and comprehensive keeping in mind that we still
associate probably staying in queue with a survival experience to be
lucky enough to get your piece of bread!

Nowadays I can hardly recognise parts of my country or my city. In some

respects, in the last 28 years, probable Romania and similar Est European
countries developed more than any other European country. The
modernity totally replaced many of the ancient traces. In the same time, I
am frightened by the still pervading communist relics in public
administration, for instance.
Mentalities have changed even if they coexist with old contradictory
versions; people have embraced an occidental lifestyle. The presence of
international corporations has had a huge impact on the dynamics of the
market and on the labour market.

The educational systems are in full process of reforms like many other
spheres of public life.

People react on the streets and just recently we have had hundreds of
thousands of anti-corruption demonstrators fighting against corruption and approved
amendments to the criminal code on amnesties for prisoners.

Romanian feel Europeans and adhere to European values and are as Europeans as any other
European citizens. Strolling on the streets of Bucharest is a voyage through history and
hopefully the old will continue to survive with the new in a good marriage as we must never
forget our history and our past. As the saying goes: Those who do not remember their past
are condemned to repeat their mistakes.

In regard to the complex and problematic issue of identity, Romanian people face maybe the
same confusion and disequilibrium as many other individuals living in the actual fluid
international context.

Cultural identity is not a fixed essence, lying unchanged outside history. It is not some
universal and transcendent spirit, it is not once-and-for all. Modern identities seem to be
framed by two axes, simultaneously operating: similarity/ continuity and difference/
rupture. From this perspective, the identities have to be thought of in terms of the dialogic
relationship between these two axes. To return to your country after any long absence is to
experience again the shock of the doubleness of similarity and difference.

One thinks of identity whenever one is not sure of where belongs; to what place, to what time.
One is not sure where and how to place oneself among the variety of behavioural styles, and
how to make sure that people around would accept this placement as right and appropriate.
Often correlated with durability, solidity, stability, similar to something material nowadays
identity has the ontological status of a project and a postulate. It is like we are being thrown
into the world for borrowing the heideggerian idea and our identity, personal, cultural or of
our country is being towards-projects, towards to- become. We cannot pretend to keep our
identity unaltered whilst our history and our past are composed of fragments, of waves, of
waxes and wanes; it is not a river. How should we have a continuous identity in the middle of
such a tumultuous storm?

Having a home is a part of the safety package, in the beautiful Zygmunt Bauman` words.
Home is the place to go, to return when the adventure is over. The world become the place I
am visiting and homesickness is just the reflection of our need of belonging.

For concluding, the self, individual or even the self of one culture becomes a kind of project
that individuals have to work on: they have to create biographical narratives that will
explain themselves to themselves. People and countries long for a consistent and coherent
identity; the idea of the eternal return accompanies us whenever and wherever.

What makes me myself rather than anyone else is the very fact that I am poised between two
countries, two or three languages and several cultural traditions.
It is precisely this that defines my identity.
Would I exist more authentically if I cut off a part of myself?

In the name of identity: violence and the need to belong, Amin Maalouf

4. We are all different. Ways that we can learn more about people from
cultures different to our own.

Learning about other cultures is an invaluable experience and it is more

difficult that seems at the first sight. The boundaries between countries are
now so fluid and we are more and more exposed to new cultures, different
people, languages, customs, lifestyles, traditions; we are travelling more than
ever, and are exposed to information more than we can consume. We feel even
overwhelmed. The curiosity to discover more about the world around, its people
and their culture seems to be innate and not more possible than ever. However,
the traditional ways of getting in contact with the new cultures has a lot of limits
in my opinion.
There are many ways to attain knowledge about other cultures. For simplification
reasons, I would distinguish between active and passive modalities, between the
armchair traveller and the globetrotter. As a way to expand our knowledge and
feed our curiosity we can always read, watching documentaries, movies, learn
specific languages, get a pen or email pal, join social media groups, make friends,
travel, study abroad, volunteer, etc. We can prove all exotic meals, dress in their
traditional way, make wonderful pictures in the most out of the ordinary places,
buy the most extravagant and original artefacts and return home with tons of
beautiful memories but no genuine knowledge about that culture.

Conversely, we can spend months even years in one country working or

studying and returning home more or less the same as the people from my
first example. And this happen because once outside our culture we may
become suddenly ethnocentric and mingle with people similar to us,
eating our food, acting according our values, becoming suddenly fond of
our cultural identity and overvaluing our own cultural features. We remain
encapsulated in ourselves.
In this case, looking shortly at both extremes what would be the most
potential fruitful ways of approaching and learning something about a
different culture?
Personally, the most enriching cultural experiences in knowledge,
emotions and memories were when I approach a different culture like a
child: as much as possible deprived of any previous knowledge, without
the cultural guide, without my tourist suit.

1. The Collector

A sophisticated hunter-gatherer, a hoarder of the exceptional and exotic. Not, however, of

endangered species or looted antiquities. He or she travels with a purely metaphorical
blunderbuss or bullwhip - or, rather, butterfly net, swishing it this way and that in order to
gather up uncommon experiences in out-of-the-way places. Once caught, these are
meticulously pinned in memory and proudly displayed in conversation. Like an actual
scientist, The Collector delights in the poetry and precision of proper names ('You haven't
really lived until you've seen the Orionids meteor shower in the night sky over Pisco Elqui in

2. The Conformist

A dreary universal type. The Conformist travels not for personal satisfaction but for social
acceptance - perhaps even finds personal satisfaction in social acceptance. Destinations are
chosen from a limited, unimaginative, class-determined table d'hte menu. This is by no
means a toffs-only snob thing. It applies across the social spectrum. The Conformist can be
spotted from Magaluf to Megve. The point isn't where you've been but what your peers think
about where you've been.

3. The Thrill-Seeker

Not so much of the adventure-sports variety, though of course there's no shortage of

nincompoops willing to tie their ankles to a rubber band and leap off a bridge or whatever. As
with The Conformist, The Thrill-Seeker exists along a continuum - one that runs from the
ticket-purchasing slum-tourist or frequenter of dodgy-looking dive bars to the professional
war correspondent. The Thrill-Seeker is not altogether unlike

4. The Escapist

Fugitive from the familiar. An intriguing type, labouring under that most delightful of
delusions, namely, that anything at all - boredom, worry, heartbreak, guilt, fear, failure,
conflict, one's own reflection in the mirror - can be lost with distance. Alas, it cannot. Yet it
always seems worth a try.

5. The Self-Improver

Admirable if a little dull. Up early, out late, cheerfully making the most of everything a new
place has to offer. Tremendous stamina. Sensible shoes. Likely to do a lot of research
beforehand, to pack a lot of books and to return with even more. A second cousin of

6. The Pilgrim
Follower of trails, visitor of shrines - religious and otherwise. The most devoted Pilgrims I
have ever seen were not at Lourdes or on the banks of the Ganges but at Beatrix Potter's old
house, Hill Top, in Cumbria. But that was ages ago. These days certain shopping streets and
malls seem to exert a similar fascination. I recently played a round of golf in Norway and
afterwards bought my three companions beer and waffles at the clubhouse. The teenage girl
tending the bar clearly knew her way around a waffle iron but seemed to me far too young to
be serving alcohol. I asked her how she planned to spend the money she was earning. 'In
London,' she said, beaming. 'At Westfield.' Which of the two Westfields? 'The Stratford one.
It's bigger.'

7. The Pioneer

Almost extinct in the wild. Like most endangered species, The Pioneer is running out of
habitat, since so much of the world has been pioneered already. In a lounge at Changi Airport
the other day I had occasion to wonder whether The Pioneers of today are not great, fearless,
eccentric explorers of the Vasco da Gama or Wilfred Thesiger variety but grey-faced men in
suits opening up obscure business ventures in (I don't know) parts of China where there are
cities that you and I have never heard of with populations of four or five or six million people.
I'm afraid I'm automatically suspicious of business travellers, a reaction probably born of a
combination of ignorance and the jealous assumption that they're likely to become insanely
rich through their nefarious trade-related missions. I try to remind myself that Marco Polo was
basically a business traveller, as well as a true Pioneer and a stand-up guy.

8. The Occasional

There for a reason - an event, a honeymoon, a do, a football match. Half-sibling to

9. The Oblivious

The saddest type of traveller. The one not paying attention, not remotely interested in where
he or she is. I was shocked, many years ago, to hear someone ask Ruth Prawer Jhabvala about
her fabulously glamorous life as a celebrated novelist and screenwriter responsible for several
wildly successful Merchant-Ivory movies. 'Most of the time I don't even bother to look up and
see where I am,' she drawled from behind a pair of enormous sunglasses, or words to that
effect. I was floored. 'Room with a View' indeed.

10. The Genuinely Curious

Eyes, ears, mind all wide open. Rare and precious and beautiful

Holidaymakers. Backpackers & Adventure Travellers, Of

importance in backpacking is a sense of authenticity. Backpacking is perceived as being more than
a vacation, but a means of education. Backpackers want to experience the "real" destination rather
than the packaged version often associated with mass tourism. There is also the cocept of witnessing
real life with more involvement with local people.

Adventure travel can be defined as: a vacation or trip to a natural environment or remote location
with the specific purpose of active physical participation and exploration of a new experience.
Nowadays many specialist companies and organisations can design a personalized itinerary that suits
your individual adventure travel desires
Adventure travel is to intentionally go beyond ones normal known area, seeking out experiences
which are unfamilar. This form of travel can expose travellers to additional health risks and it is this
group of travellers who will probably benefit the most from taking their own customised medical kit with

Long Term Travellers

This group includes embassy staff, voluntary workers, missionaries, etc. intending to stay
several years in a country. Some people intend to emigrate permanently whilst others may only intend
to visit relatives for an extended period. Sometimes backpackers fall into this category e.g. those who
take a year out to backpack "round the world".

1. The Techie Travels just so they can purchase new travel tech gear

The partier When are we gonna start drinking?" they say at 8 a.m.

Likely destination: The nearest bar.

2. The planner Likely destination: Anywhere on their pre-planned itinerary.

4. The Chiller They have no plans. They just go with the flow and see where they end up
every day.

Likely destination: They have no idea. They'll figure it out later

5. The No-Expense Traveler Zero budget. Buys ALL the souvenirs and meals.

Likely destination: Anywhere with a mall

8. The Guidebook Memorizer Likely destination: The most popular places

found in the guidebook.

The Repeater ikely destination: Disney World for the 1,000th time.

14. The Complainer Likely destination: Place with the most similar
culture to their own.

15. The Group Likely destination: All major monuments and famous

16. The Solo Traveler Likely destination: Anywhere off the beaten path.

18. Chatty Cathy Likely destination: Anywhere there's someone to talk

to. Otherwise known as everywhere.

The different types of tourists in tourism industry

How will you define a tourist? Tourist can be defined as a person, who makes
a tour away from home for leisure, business or other purposes for more than
one day but less than a year. Based on their various needs and reasons for
traveling, tourists are classified in the following categories:

Incentive tourists: Incentives tourists are those few lucky individuals, who
get a holiday package as a reward from his company, for good work or
achieving targets, set by the company. Incentive tourists draw inspiration
from such tours to work harder, improve work relations and focus on team
bonding. A salesman who is awarded with a nice holiday package for
accomplishing the target sales is a perfect example of incentive tourist.

Health or medical tourist: Those who seek special medical treatment,

which is only possible away from home, make trips to other places and are
called Health or medical tourist. Some of these tourists avail medical
assistance in other countries, for they may be expensive in their own country.
Many health or medical tourists also make trips simply to stay for few days
in healthier climate. Hoards of medical tourist fly to South Africa from
oversee countries to undergo plastic surgery.

Business tourist: Tourist traveling with relation to business is known as

business tourist. Business tourism is part of the business world. Most of the
cities feature conference centers that cater to the needs of business tourists. A
proper example of a business tourist is a salesman, who makes trips to
different places to attend trade shows, to display and promote his own
products also.

Education tourists: Tourists traveling to a particular place in another town,

city or country for further study in order to improve his or her educational
qualification are termed as education tourist. There are also group of people,
who travel to attend workshops to upgrade skills. A clinic nurse, who makes
trip to another province to attend a particular workshop, qualifying individual
about infectious diseases is an example of an educational tourist.

Adventure tourists: Adventure tourists look for some unusual or bizarre

experience. They seek adventurous activities that may be dangerous, such as
rock climbing, river rafting, skydiving, shark cave diving and bungee

Cultural tourist: These types of tourists travel to experience the essence of

assorted cultures, such as San rock art, or cultural festivals such as the
National Art Festival in Grahams town, or the International Jazz Festival in
Cape Town. Cultural tourists also prefer to witness the World Heritage Sites
of the traveled country.

Eco-tourists: Nature loving tourists, who love to go green like traveling to

Bonita Gardens in Bloemfontein South Africa or similar destinations are
called eco-tourists. They travel throughout the world in search of destinations
not affected by pollution or much human intervention.

Leisure tourist: These tourists want to rejuvenate and revitalize with

comfort, while enjoying a break from mundane routine of life. Examples of
this type of tourism are cruising while vacationing or simple relaxing on a

Religious tourist: Religious tourist travel to sites of religious significance.

World is dotted with a number of religious locations like Hajj in Mecca,
Jerusalem in Israel, Varanasi in India, and the Vatican in Rome. During
Easter, a huge conglomeration of Christian pilgrimage takes place in Zion

Sport and recreation tourist: These sorts of tourists either take active part
in or just watch sports events. Some of such popular sport events are the
Soccer World Cup, Wimbledon Tennis Championship, Comrades Marathon,
and Fisher River Canoe Marathon.

Backpacking or youth tourist: This group of tourist is of young age and

they travel with minimum luggage and on a limited budget. But they are very
passionate and love excitements and adventures, while traveling. They
generally have no specific travel schedules and tend to travel independently.

Special Interest Tourist (STI): They nurture particular passion in different

things like bird watching, nature, fishing during the Sardine Run, food and
wine or attending the Cape Town Book Fair