Surfing and Social Theory: Experience, Embodiment and Narrative of the Dream Glide

Categories: Books, Featured

Surfing has emerged from ancient roots to become a twenty-first century phenomenon – an ‘alternative’ sport, lifestyle and art form with a global profile and ever-increasing numbers of participants. Drawing on popular surf culture, academic literature and the analytical tools of social theory, this book is the first sustained commentary on the contemporary social and cultural meaning of surfing.

Core themes of mind and body, emotions and identity, aesthetics, style, and sensory experience are explored through a variety of topics, and particular attention is paid to:

* evolving perceptions of the sea and the beach
* the globalization of surfing
* surfing as a subculture and lifestyle
* the embodiment and gendering of surfing.

Surfing and Social Theory is an original and theoretically rigorous text that sets the agenda for future work in this area. Along with the Surf Science courses now appearing in universities around the world, this text provides students and researchers in sport, sociology, culture and geography with a new perspective and a thought-provoking text.

Editorial Reviews


“Surfing and Social Theory far exceeds Nick Ford and David Brown’s modest goal of contributing to the burgeoning area of surfing studies. This text will define the subject for a very long time. Sport sociologists should also look at the book as a potential template for analyzing individual sports as complex multidimensional and embodied phenomena, and even as an embryonic model for a fresh theoretical synthesis of the field. In this regard Surfing and Social Theory is replete with intriguing suggestions and ideas.” – Douglas Booth, Sociology of Sport Journal.

About the Author

Nick Ford is Senior Lecturer in geography at the University of Exeter, UK. He is a lifelong surfer.
David Brown is Lecturer in the sociology of sport and physical culture in the School of Sport and Health Sciences at the University of Exeter, UK. His research focuses on qualitative socio-cultural understandings of the body, the self and society in sport and physical culture.

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