Risk taking in Extreme Sports: A phenomenological perspective

Brymer, Eric (2010) Risk taking in Extreme Sports: A phenomenological perspective. Annals of Leisure Research, 13(1/2), pp. 218-239.

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Participation in extreme sports is enjoying incredible growth while more traditional recreational activities such as golf are struggling to maintain numbers. Theoretical perspectives on extreme sports and extreme sport participants have assumed that participation is about risk-taking. However, these theory-driven methodologies may reflect judgments that do not necessarily relate to participants' lived experience. In this paper I review current risk-oriented perspectives on extreme sports and present research findings that question this assumed relationship between extreme sports and risk and thus reposition the experience in a hitherto unexplored manner. Risk taking is not the focus. Participants acknowledge that the potential outcome of a mismanaged mistake or accident could be death. However, accepting this potential outcome does not mean that they search for risk. Participants argue that many everyday life events (e.g., driving) are high-risk events. Participants undertake detailed preparation in order to minimise the possibility of negative outcomes because extreme sports trigger a range of positive experiential outcomes. The study is significant as it followed a hermeneutic phenomenological process which did not presuppose a risk-taking orientation. Hermeneutic phenomenology allows for a multitude of data sources including interviews (10 male and 5 female extreme sports participants, ages 30 to 72 years), auto-biographies, videos and other firsthand accounts. This process allowed this unexpected perspective to emerge more clearly.

Impact and interest:

18 citations in Scopus
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ID Code: 41068
Item Type: Journal Article
Refereed: Yes
Additional URLs:
Keywords: Risk Taking, Phenomenology, Extreme Sports
ISSN: 1174-5398
Subjects: Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > COMMERCE MANAGEMENT TOURISM AND SERVICES (150000) > COMMERCIAL SERVICES (150400)
Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > COMMERCE MANAGEMENT TOURISM AND SERVICES (150000) > TOURISM (150600)
Divisions: Current > Research Centres > Centre for Health Research
Current > QUT Faculties and Divisions > Faculty of Health
Current > Institutes > Institute of Health and Biomedical Innovation
Current > Schools > School of Exercise & Nutrition Sciences
Copyright Owner: Copyright 2010 Taylor and Francis
Deposited On: 31 Mar 2011 23:40
Last Modified: 27 May 2013 07:49

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