Expedition (Auto)ethnography: An adventurer-researcher’s journey

Suzanne Kennedy*, Ann Macphail, Peter Justin Varley

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Citations (Scopus)


Adventure expeditions are characterised by their unique temporal and spatial separateness from the quotidian and their exploratory and oft times risky nature. As such they offer a multitude of possibilities in research terms for the inquisitive investigator. Few studies however have considered the researcher’s experience of exploring such settings. Primarily methodological in focus, this paper examines the challenges and management of the adventure-researcher’s multiple roles during a sea kayaking expedition. An expedition observation framework is constructed as a tool to aid the conceptualisation of the field. In a candid and reflexive social commentary, the relative and fluid positioning of the researcher in insider-outsider terms is probed and despite their nuanced differences, the interplay of ethnography and autoethnography in achieving this. The concept of existential authenticity as a complementary theoretical framework is used to illustrate the marginality and liminal nature of the adventure scape and the researcher’s task within it.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)187-201
Number of pages15
JournalJournal of Adventure Education and Outdoor Learning
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2019
Externally publishedYes


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