The conspicuous consumption of wilderness, or leisure lost in the wilderness

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

The wilderness construct has long-been associated with the virtuous life. Threats to the virtue of wilderness through commodification of the wilderness experience have been previously documented. However, this article makes the specific argument that the increasingly conspicuous consumption of wilderness, largely through apparel and social media, presents emerging risks to the virtues of time spent in wildlands–including, courage, justice, and temperance. Citing the work of Aristotle and Veblen, a philosophical analysis of virtue and leisure is paired with a review of the wilderness construct and its commodification. This analysis yields the conclusion that wilderness leisure is a threatened phenomenon, endangered by sustained exclusivity and market-driven commodification, in-part fuelled by conspicuous consumption. Specifically, conspicuous consumption threatens the Aristotelian virtues of courage, justice, and temperance honed through wilderness leisure. Implications for the future management of wildlands are discussed, including the balance between discouraging social media use and promoting inclusivity and the regulation of wilderness-related brands.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)451-468
Number of pages18
JournalWorld Leisure Journal
Volume64
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - 2022

Keywords

  • Wilderness
  • apparel
  • conspicuous consumption
  • social media
  • wilderness leisure

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