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Title: The rationalisation and commodification of adventure
Author: Varley, Peter.
ISNI:       0000 0001 1860 6797
Awarding Body: Manchester Metropolitan University
Current Institution: Manchester Metropolitan University
Date of Award: 2005
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This thesis contrasts the ideal of the adventure as drawn from historical-theoretical sources with the new socio-cultural form of the commodified adventure, exemplified in outdoor leisure products such as guided white water rafting, rock climbing courses and commercialb ungeej umps. It is proposedt hat, whilst the original form generatesa `taken for granted' meaning of adventure involving responsibility for ones self, the experience of uncertaintya nd personalc ommitment,t he latter kind of `adventure-as-commodityi's one of bounded responsibility, managed risks (removed uncertainty) and mere financial commitment. The meaningo f adventure,i t is suggestedh, as beenh ollowed out in order to make it palatable for consumption in the competitive marketplace. In an effort to understand the place of the adventure in late modernity, the plight of the individual is considered as they search for some respite from the monolithic structural constraints of `high' modernity. The classicala ccountso f disenchantmenitn Weber's iron cagea re contrastedp rimarily with the work of Georg Simmel, underpinned throughout by Nietzsche's ideas on the need for tensions between Apollonian and Dionysian social forms in healthy societies. The escapea ttemptso f the leisure adventurersa re thus characterizedin the study as part of the messy, complex aspect of modernity which thrives in between the regulative structural aspects which impinge on everyday life. This is the so-called forgotten broken ground of the other modernity as Lash describes it. In an effort to better understand the meanings derived from such escape behaviours, this empirical study of adventurers-atleisure examines the world of the sea kayakers on the Isle of Anglesey in North Wales. A selection of data from studies of members of informal kayaking groups and consumers/professionaplr oviders is presented.T his is then analysedi n terms of the paradoxical problem of the `original' meaning of adventure contrasted with the commodified,r isk-removedv ersionss old to consumersa nd the form createdb y the independents eak ayakersw ho choosen ot to use the servicesf or sale. The conclusion is that there are adventure-like experiences available to all in all kinds of adventures ettings,a nd that momentaryf eelings of belongingnessa nd collective excitementa re accessibleth rough membershipo f temporary leisure protocultures (thiasos). The original adventure, however, is far more elusive, demanding as it does a willingness to break through beyond the expert systems and support structures which comfort the consumer of commodified adventure. Moments of letting-go; of self and of othersa re realiseablee ven in the commercial situation, but responsibility for the outcome is taken by a paid professional. Commodified adventure threatens to succumb to the Apollonian progression toward control and regulation, so that those who seek adventure but do not find its authentic form may increasingly turn toward more dangerous and socially damaging outlets for their spirit.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available