Play and Conatus: An Exploration of the Resistance against Mainstream Commercialism within Communities of Boardsports

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While alternative sports like snowboarding, skateboarding, and surfing have experienced an unprecedented increase in both popularity and industry revenues the last three decades, these boardsports are often permeated by an anti-capitalist or anti-commercial ideology that is manifested through a resistance against mainstream commercialism. The purpose of this current article is to conceptually investigate this ideology. How can we interpret, analyze, and better understand this resistance against mainstream commercialism that is often manifested by boardsport practitioners? In the attempt to conceptually explore this question, this article will draw upon Huizinga’s (1955) notion of play and argue that the essence of this resistance against mainstream commercialism can be found in the playful practice of riding boards. To clarify this conceptual argument this article will also point to the affectivity of play and argue that the subcultural ideology permeating alternative sports should first and foremost be understood as an epiphenomenon of the affectivity of play. While this article is an outcome of an empirical study done on the boardsport community in Finland, it is primarily conceptual in nature, i.e., this article is primarily an exploration of how Huizinga’s (1955) notion of play can be used as an analytical tool to illuminate the essence of the resistance against mainstream commercialism within communities of boardsports.

Original languageUndefined/Unknown
Pages (from-to)53–64
JournalThe International Journal of Sport and Society
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2019
MoE publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed

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