As the global industry of tourism evolves, a prominent niche market that is experiencing exponential growth is adventure tourism. This sector places a particular emphasis upon the accumulation of symbolic capital – most obviously in the way it connects culturally diffuse ideas of adventure, wildness and travel. This departure from convention demands a different framework of investigation to existing tourism theory. This book is concerned with understanding the way people enter into a commodity exchange process that generates forms of ‘capital' which provide the building blocks of identity formation. The analysis draws on ethnographic data to illuminate the complexity of identity formation in mountaineering whereby existing traditional values are challenged by the influx of people whose currency allows them to by-pass established protocols of mountaineering apprenticeship. Understanding these fluid and dynamic social processes should be of particular interest to adventure tour operators but also anyone interested in the relationship between sport, physical activity, lifestyle and identity.
Paul A Beedie, PhD: studied Sport Sociology and Adventure Education at Birmingham University, Sheffield University and University College of North Wales, Bangor. Principal Lecturer, Department of PE and Sport Studies, University of Bedfordshire.