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Surface and substructure: beneath surfing's commodified surface


Stranger, MJA, Surface and substructure: beneath surfing's commodified surface, Sport in Society, 13, (7/8) pp. 1117-1134. ISSN 1743-0437 (2010) [Refereed Article]

DOI: doi:10.1080/17430431003780054


This article discusses the important role that surfing's own 'culture industry' plays in the internal dynamics of the surfing subculture and at the nexus between the subculture and mainstream society. It looks at the 'Big Three' surfing culture companies - Quiksilver, Billabong and RipCurl - and their trajectory fromgrass-roots, cottage-industry businesses to global corporations. An alternative model to Marx's modern (economic) base and (social) superstructure is proposed; i.e., an (economic) surface and (social) substructure. This alternative model provides a useful framework for examining the dynamic between the postmodern surfing subculture and the economy (both its own and the mainstream economy). The model depicts a substructure consisting of surfing's social formations and sectors, based upon shared foundational experience of transcendence- a sublime loss of self in the act of surfing. Surfing's culture industry is shown to provide goods for insiders and present a commodified surface of symbolic tokens for mainstream consumers of surfing style, and in the very process act both as a bulwark against mainstream subsumption and an agent of postmodernization within the mainstream. © 2010 Taylor & Francis.

Item Details

Item Type:Refereed Article
Research Division:Law and Legal Studies
Research Group:Public law
Research Field:Public law not elsewhere classified
Objective Division:Law, Politics and Community Services
Objective Group:Justice and the law
Objective Field:Justice and the law not elsewhere classified
UTAS Author:Stranger, MJA (Dr Mark Stranger)
ID Code:65884
Year Published:2010
Deposited By:Law
Deposited On:2010-12-08
Last Modified:2014-10-16

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