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Green Spirituality and Physical Culture. Extreme Sports and the Imagery of Wilderness

Department of Social Sciences, University of Naples Federico II, 80138 Naples, Italy
Societies 2018, 8(4), 96;
Received: 7 August 2018 / Revised: 21 September 2018 / Accepted: 24 September 2018 / Published: 27 September 2018
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Physical Culture)
PDF [273 KB, uploaded 23 October 2018]


In an area of increasingly widespread practices, the strengthening of the self through physical activities is exponentially reinforced by the inflexible laws of wild nature, now seen as a supreme judge. The knowledge of one’s personal limits and their overcoming through the verdict of an implacable, inscrutable but fair nature, allows access to the powerful source of meaning of green spirituality. This phenomenon is closely linked to an unprecedented imagery of nature. In contemporary Western society there is a widespread trend to sacralise nature, but in the terms of a “disneyfied” object—to paraphrase David Lyon. The ritual of “symbolically challenging death”—to say it with David Le Breton—through extreme sports, forces wild nature to manifest its transcendent properties: Getting out of this trial unharmed means being able to recognise one’s higher qualities. Challenging death and coming out unscathed means giving back to the disoriented contemporary individual a right and “nomized” cosmos—in the words of Peter Berger—capable of recognising the “chosen ones”, that is to say the ones that deserve salvation. I conclude that the growing phenomenon of extreme sports in the wilderness represents the attempt of experiencing an amplification of the self in order to “enter into resonance” with nature, to become “one” with it. Nature strengthens the ultimate meanings of experience, integrating them into a sort of green eschatology. View Full-Text
Keywords: nature; risk; meaning; sport; wilderness; spirituality nature; risk; meaning; sport; wilderness; spirituality
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited (CC BY 4.0).

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Camorrino, A. Green Spirituality and Physical Culture. Extreme Sports and the Imagery of Wilderness. Societies 2018, 8, 96.

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