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Getting down and dirty: An exploration of participation in the field of obstacle challenges

Maguire, Louise (2017) Getting down and dirty: An exploration of participation in the field of obstacle challenges. Journal of Consumer Behaviour. ISSN 1479-1838

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Abstract

This paper examines the contemporary phenomenon of obstacle challenges and why people participate in events that result in them getting soaking wet, freezing cold, and dirtier than they have ever been while also getting shot with pellets and receiving “electric shocks.” Many participants in these challenges have taken part numerous times and keep coming back for more. Using multiple research methods including questionnaires, participant observation where the author completed one of Ireland's more well-known and “toughest physical and mental endurance challenges,” and also depth interviews with challenge participants has resulted in a rich and detailed account of the obstacle challenge experience. These events are so much more than a few hours of strenuous and muddy physical exercise. The sense of community and camaraderie that people experience during these challenges could be described as “transformative” with participants in many cases more rewarded and moved by this collaborative aspect than the gruelling physical endeavour that they undertake. The escapism provided by the experience is also one its main rewards, relief from the quotidian and the chance to just “be.” The servicescape proves to be critically important to the experience but in ways that are largely incompatible with research in this area to date in that the comfort and cleanliness expected of more traditional servicescapes are spurned and physical hardship is welcomed. As this is an exploratory and novel research topic, suggestions for further research are plentiful.

Item Type: Article
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HF Commerce > Marketing > Consumer Behaviour
Divisions: School of Business > Staff Research and Publications
Depositing User: CAOIMHE NI MHAICIN
Date Deposited: 10 Aug 2017 08:47
Last Modified: 10 Aug 2017 08:47
URI: http://trap.ncirl.ie/id/eprint/2567

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