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Ethical behavior in the outdoors: the impact of COVID-19 on outdoor recreation

King, Jordy Paul (2021) Ethical behavior in the outdoors: the impact of COVID-19 on outdoor recreation. Masters thesis, Northern Arizona University.

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Abstract

Defining ethical behavior in the outdoors has been a growing point of discussion among people with an interest in outdoor recreation. With increased popularity of outdoor recreation over the past twenty years, those who regularly take part in recreational activities in the outdoors are questioning how people should behave when engaged in outdoor pursuits. The Outdoor community, includes a broad and diverse group of individuals who enjoy outdoor recreation, is engaged in attempts to construct a shared image of appropriate behavior to guide the larger community. In attempting to create a version of what “appropriate behavior” consists of in the outdoors, community members employ a variety of mechanisms to portray their form of outdoor recreation as encompassing ethical behavior. In this thesis, I use Mary Douglas’ framework of boundary creation and maintenance to consider three key areas of negotiating appropriate behavior in the outdoors. The first area is how community insiders work to separate insiders from outsiders by upholding an image of what an outdoor enthusiast looks like and defining the “other” who does not belong. Second, insiders engage in what Douglas refers to as a purification process, maintaining standards of wildness and purity as central to outdoor recreation and approaching the natural environment. Outdoor enthusiasts point to certain behaviors as unacceptable, even framing them as forms of defilement. Third, I explore how outdoor enthusiasts capitalized on the COVID-19 pandemic, using social media and news outlines, to demarcate ethical behavior in the outdoors and further define who belongs and who does not. COVID-19 In this research I explored how the COVID-19 Pandemic allowed for a clear example of how outdoor enthusiasts use different interpretations of behavior to create a set of rules and demonstrate what it means to be an outdoor person.

Item Type: Thesis (Masters)
Publisher’s Statement: © Copyright is held by the author. Digital access to this material is made possible by the Cline Library, Northern Arizona University. Further transmission, reproduction or presentation of protected items is prohibited except with permission of the author.
Keywords: Contagion ; COVID-19; Ethical Behavior ; Outdoor Community; Outdoor Recreation; Wilderness
Subjects: G Geography. Anthropology. Recreation > GN Anthropology
NAU Depositing Author Academic Status: Student
Department/Unit: Graduate College > Theses and Dissertations
College of Social and Behavioral Science > Anthropology
Date Deposited: 02 Feb 2022 21:54
Last Modified: 02 Feb 2022 21:54
URI: https://openknowledge.nau.edu/id/eprint/5639

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