1st Edition

Understanding Lifestyle Sport Consumption, Identity and Difference

Edited By Belinda Wheaton Copyright 2004
    236 Pages 5 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

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    The past decade has seen a tremendous growth in the popularity of activities like skateboarding and snowboarding; sports that have been labelled as 'extreme' or 'lifestyle' and which embody 'alternative' sporting values such as anti-competitiveness, anti-regulation, high risk and personal freedom. The popularity of these activities goes beyond the teenage male youth that the media typify as their main consumers. This book examines the popularity, significance and meaning of lifestyle sport, exploring the sociological significance of these activities, particularly as related to their consumption, and the expression of politics of identity and difference.

    Including much unique ethnographic research work with skaters, surfers, windsurfers, climbers, adventure racers, and ultimate frisbee players., the central themes explored in The Cultural Politics of Lifestyle Sports include:

    • How might we describe lifestyle sports?
    • What influence do commercial forces have on lifestyle sports?
    • Do lifestyle sports challenge the hegemonic masculinities inherent in a traditional sport environment?

    This book is a compelling exploration of sport as a way of life, and is a vital resource for any lecturer or student interested in Sociology and Cultural Studies in a Sports context.

    1. Introduction: Mapping the lifestyle sport-scape 2. 'Chicks dig scars': Commercialisation and the transformations of skateboarders' identities 3. Death, danger and the selling of risk in adventure sports 4. Sustainable Adventure: Embodied experiences and ecological practices within British climbing 5. Surfing: From one (cultural) extreme to another 6. Taking risks: Identity, masculinities and rock climbing 7. 'New Lads'? Competing masculinities in the windsurfing culture 8. 'Mandatory equipment': Women in Adventure Racing 9. 'Anyone can play this game': Ultimate Frisbee, identity and difference 10. Extreme America: The cultural politics of extreme sports in 1990s America


    Belinda Wheaton

    "Since they emerged in the 1960s, so-called "lifestyle sports" have offered a radical alternative to mainstream, hyper-commercialized competitive sports.  But what happens when "new" sports cultures are no longer new? Are they inevitably compromised, commodified and institutionalized? Do such forms of physical culture still offer modes of cultural resistance to dominant paradigms? In her brilliant new book, Belinda Wheaton answers these questions. From the beaches of Durban, South Africa to Southern California and beyond, Wheaton shows how the emergence and global diffusion of lifestyle sports are complexly bound to questions of identity.  As empirically rich as it is theoretically sophisticated, The Cultural Politics of Lifestyle Sports is the definitive text for anyone interested in understanding the history of lifestyle sports why they matter today."

    Ben Carrington, Associate Professor of Sociology, University of Texas at Austin, USA