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On the Edge : Leisure, Consumption and the Represention of Adventure Sports

A One Day Symposium: Tuesday, March 18th 2008

Organiser: Dr Joan Ormrod

Cost: 20 - tea and coffee provided.

Confirmed keynote speaker: Dr Belinda Wheaton, University of Brighton - "The cultural politics of lifestyle sport: understanding white lives"

Representations of adventure sports in the mass media demonstrate what Beck describes as the importance of experiencing danger and 'living life to the full' in a 'risk society'. The late 20th and the early 21st centuries seem to signal a major shift in leisure participation in industrialised countries. Millions of people now apparently seek 'danger' and discomfort in unpredictable or physically threatening settings in the performance of their leisure activities. The representation and consumption of these sports is big business, and the association of 'adventure' with a product or service seems to lend a glamour and desirability formerly only achieved using sexual imagery as marketing gloss.

Contemporary culture is saturated with images of adventure sports. Advertisements use the excitement of adventure sports to sell aftershave lotion, cars, soft drinks and mobile phones. Magazines such as such as Snowboard Uk, Skateboarder, On The Edge, Carve and Wavelength devoted to specific sports, fill newsagents' shelves. Films such as Blue Crush, Stone Monkey, and Dogtown and Z-Boys present the danger but also the vertigo inspired by the sport. National and global networks of adventure sports subcultures are supported by the internet with enthusiasts and clubs setting up websites and chatrooms providing information about venues, news and local activities. However, one of the issues surrounding lifestyle sports is how can they be represented? Lifestyle sports enthusiasts would argue that the feelings evoked by surfing, skateboarding, rock climbing etc cannot be described in words.

This symposium is organised by the 'Images, Narratives and Cultures' research group affiliated to MIRIAD in Manchester Metropolitan University. It focuses on the consumption and representation of adventure sports, the communities and subcultures that practice them, and the effects that they have on individuals and groups. It will be of interest to researchers in subject areas such as sociology, sport, film, media, design, geographies, leisure studies and cultural studies.

Conference Poster to Download

On the Edge Conference - Poster to download
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Further Information

If you are interested in attending please contact:

Joan Ormrod
Email: j.ormrod@mmu.ac.uk
Tel: 0161 247 1938

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