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Confecting adventure and playing with meaning: the adventure commodification continuum.

Varley, Peter (2006) Confecting adventure and playing with meaning: the adventure commodification continuum. ISSN 1477-5085

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The paradoxical notion of 'the adventure' sold as a predictable, managed experience-commodity is explored here. The extant literature on the consumption of sport tourism adventure products is contrasted with definitional work drawn from adventure education, tourism and sociology sources and from Nietzsche's original ideas. In doing so 'the adventure' is presented as being located in the interstices between the controlled Apollonian and the chaotic Dionysiac forms of life. These efforts lead to the notion that the 'true' or 'original' adventure, in its ideal-type, has clear characteristics that the commodity version cannot allow. A model is then constructed; the adventure commodification continuum. This is designed to show that the products labelled as 'adventures' range from the controlled, rationalised and risk-managed 'post-adventure' experiences in the shallow end, to those experiences that allow greater levels of commitment, risk and responsibility at the deep end of the model. The continuum to some extent anticipates the potential criticisms of the definitional work for its essentialist stance by illustrating that the extent of the containment of adventure elements in adventure products varies considerably. Some are essentially just 'adventure flavoured' experiences - simply the product of marketing rhetoric and perhaps also the situational factors, such as an unusual physical environment. Other tourist products have rather more connection to 'original adventure' in terms of the definitional characteristics developed here. The final conclusion, however, is that only a lazy accommodation of the term 'adventure' would accept that this phenomenon is an experience that can be packaged and reliably offered to a customer in exchange for money. It is therefore proposed that the direct experience of the definitive, Dionysiac chaos at the heart of adventure is commodification-proof.

Item Type: Article
Additional Information: Full-text of this article is not available in this e-prints service. This article was originally published following peer-review in Journal of Sport and Tourism, published by and copyright Routledge.
Divisions: Legacy Research Institutes > Research Institute for Business and Management (RIBM) > Marketing and Retail Research Group
Faculties > Faculty of Business and Law > Marketing and Retail
Date Deposited: 13 Nov 2009 16:12
Last Modified: 01 Sep 2016 13:57
URI: http://e-space.mmu.ac.uk/id/eprint/86197


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