Surfing Life : Surface, Substructure and the Commodification of the Sublime book cover
1st Edition

Surfing Life
Surface, Substructure and the Commodification of the Sublime

ISBN 9780367602215
Published June 30, 2020 by Routledge
300 Pages

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Book Description

Surfing Life is a study of surfing and social change that also provides insights into other experience-based contemporary subcultures and the nature of the self and social formations in contemporary society. Making use of extensive empirical material to support innovative theoretical approaches to social change, this book offers an analysis of the relationship between embodied experience, culture and the economy. With its ground breaking theoretical contributions, and its foundation in an ethnographic study of surfing culture in locations across Australia, this volume will appeal not only to those interested in the social and cultural phenomenon of surfing, but also to anyone interested in the sociology of sport and leisure, the sociology of culture and consumption, risk-taking, subcultures and theories of contemporary social change.

Table of Contents

Contents: This study of surfing; Pleasure and discipline: a surfing history; Resistance and incorporation: contemporary surfing life; Risk, self and social configurations; Fear, desire and a postmodern sublime; Commodification, reflexivity and trust: the surfing culture industry; Aestheticization and sportization: towards synthesis; Conclusions; Appendices; References; Index.

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Mark Stranger has taught Sociology at the University of Tasmania, Australia.


’An exhilarating contribution to the sociology of leisure and sport. Stranger writes with real verve and insight. A marvellous book.’ Chris Rojek, Brunel University, UK 'Searching for the essence of the surfing experience and the nature of surfing culture, Surfing Life digs extraordinarily deep into social theory, philosophy and history. A thoughtful, sensitive, insightful and fruitful search, Surfing Life also exposes the corporate greed and professional sporting bureaucracies that threaten the joy of surfing.' Douglas Booth, University of Otago, New Zealand 'An important, unique and timely contribution to the growing academic as well as popular interest in surfing as a socio-cultural form and how it articulates with contemporary social change. Stranger not only lays bare the surfing culture, its industry and the relationship between them, but uses it as a fascinating exemplar of postmodern cultural processes, challenging theoretical orthodoxies about such contemporary social formations.' Belinda Wheaton, University of Brighton, UK 'Successfully subjecting his life as a surfer to insightful sociological analysis Mark Stranger has gone where few other analysts of sport cultures have ventured. His insights into risk taking, characterisation of the tribal social formations of surfers and analysis of the major players in the surfing industry and their conflicted relationship with the culture, provide an important model for future analyses of sporting cultures.' Peter Donnelly, University of Toronto, Canada 'Surfing Life is a serious academic book based on sound ethnographic research and appropriate theoretical analysis. It’s a bonus that it allows the reader a vicarious connection with world famous surfers who are quoted from interviews... In Surfing Life, Stranger takes us to conceptual places that allow us to understand the complexity of the surfing subculture in the context of its maturation and commodification. Surfing is still a leisure pursuit of i