Table of Contents

Handbook on the Experience Economy

Handbook on the Experience Economy

Elgar original reference

Edited by Jon Sundbo and Flemming Sørensen

This illuminating Handbook presents the state-of-the-art in the scientific field of experience economy studies. It offers a rich and varied collection of contributions that discuss different issues of crucial importance for our understanding of the experience economy. Each chapter reflects diverse scientific viewpoints from disciplines including management, mainstream economics and sociology to provide a comprehensive overview.

Chapter 4: Defining and categorizing experience industries

Berit T. Nilsen and Britt E. Dale

Subjects: business and management, marketing, development studies, tourism, economics and finance, cultural economics, industrial economics, services, social policy and sociology, sociology and sociological theory


This chapter discusses various challenges concerning the definition and categorization of experience industries. To shed light on the various challenges regarding different aspects of this classification, the discussion is seen in the light of a long-standing debate regarding how to define and categorize service industries. We also ask whether experiences should be seen as a subclass of the services or whether they have sufficiently strong characteristics to justifying treatment of them as a separate economic sector. Although a new and not yet clearly demarcated inter-disciplinary field of research, the concept of ‘experience industries’ has drawn much attention in the last 10 – 15 years. Although theories relating to experience industries have not been fully developed, for many Scandinavian politicians such industries are at the centre of attention with regard to regional and rural development ( Bille and Lorenzen, 2008; Lorentzen, 2009; Lorentzen and Hansen, 2009; Smidt-Jensen et al., 2009; Freire-Gibb,2011; Bille, 2012) and clearly related to contemporary consumer trends (Lorentzen and Hansen, 2009). Lund et al. (2005, pp. 25–7) identify as many as eight prominent perspectives on the experience economy in the Danish context.

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