Marketplace Tensions in Extraordinary Experiences
Researchers have analyzed various forms of extraordinary consumption experiences, using Victor Turner’s conceptualization of antistructure with a particular focus on their rather romantic and communal aspects. While such a focus contributed greatly to our understanding of these experiences, it also resulted in overlooking much of their individuated characteristics such as boundaries, conflicts, competition, and positional struggles at the interpersonal level. This ethnographic study of commercialized climbing expeditions on Everest provides significant evidence that participants negotiate and manage various marketplace tensions within an individual performance ideology. Our study challenges quixotic use of Turner’s antistructure-structure dichotomy and extends it such that extraordinary experiences, when bought in the marketplace, can be very individualistic and competitive as opposed to being conducive to feelings of community and liminal camaraderie.
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