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”Shit happens”– the selling of risk in extreme sports’, Anthropology and Sport Special Edition


Palmer, C, 'Shit happens'- the selling of risk in extreme sports', Anthropology and Sport Special Edition, The Australian Journal of Anthropology, 13, (3) pp. 323-336. ISSN 1035-8811 (2002) [Refereed Article]


Abstract This article details the particular commodification of those high risk, high adrenalin activities known collectively as ‘extreme sports’. A variety of commercial operators now offer relative sporting neophytes the chance to take part in mountaineering, snow boarding or canyonning adventures that are billed as being ‘high thrill, low risk’. It is the way in which the risk and danger involved in these activities is discursively managed that is of particular interest for this article. The argument developed is that in selling extremity through a range of primarily tourist-oriented commercial avenues, the very real prospect of death and injury has been stripped from the activity itself. To elaborate this position, this article draws on several sporting disasters, including the much publicised, ill-fated ascent of Mount Everest in 1996, and the Interlaken canyonning disaster of 1999, as well as the burgeoning literary and media genre—the made-for-Hollywood ‘adventure saga’.

Item Details

Item Type:Refereed Article
Research Division:Human Society
Research Group:Anthropology
Research Field:Social and cultural anthropology
Objective Division:Culture and Society
Objective Group:Sport, exercise and recreation
Objective Field:Organised sports
UTAS Author:Palmer, C (Professor Catherine Palmer)
ID Code:91923
Year Published:2002
Deposited By:School of Social Sciences
Deposited On:2014-06-03
Last Modified:2014-06-03

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