Drawing on Pierre Bourdieu’s concept of field, this paper explores the particular stakes and struggles that animate both the relationships among adventure racing (AR) participants and the competition among race organizers in order to highlight the social dynamic and power structure of this new “lifestyle” sport. Our investigation relies on a diversity of qualitative data, namely semi-structured interviews with 37 AR participants. Adventure Racing Association Listserve discussion, and participant observation of Eco-Challenge Argentina 1999. Our analysis demonstrates that what is at stake in the AR field is both the definition of the sport practice’s legitimate form as well as its orientation with respect to two dominant delineating forces: “authenticity” and “spectacularization” of the adventure. These two forces currently constitute the specific forms of capital (sources of prestige) that define the AR field.
The authors are with the University of Montreal, P.O. Box 6128, Station Centreville, Montreal, QC, Canada H3C 3J7.