Tacit hierarchising in online communities of hillwalkers

David Brown, Sharon Wilson

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This research explores how Munro-baggers – hillwalkers aiming to climb all 282 Scottish mountains over 3,000ft – hierarchise themselves and others as serious leisure participants. This increasingly popular hobby contributes to Scotland’s economy and profile, but its sparse literature insufficiently analyses the influence of Stebbins’ Serious Leisure Perspective (SLP), the recent reappraisal of Serious Leisure or the influence of online communities. Therefore, we critically revisit the SLP to re-evaluate Munro-bagging. Through phenomenological interviews, we explore how Munro-baggers hierarchise each other, tacitly and otherwise, offline and online, through their activities’ perceived characteristics. Ambiguities and overlaps are explored and the interplay of contexts analysed. We identify factors influencing Munro-baggers’ perceptions of seriousness amongst fellow hobbyists, taxonomising participants by their perceived characteristics of seriousness. Findings suggest that they draw upon quantitative and qualitative judgments of hobby-relevant activities and qualitative judgments of certain ad hominem characteristics. The expansion of the pastime beyond its temporospatial boundaries into online spaces is found to influence the extent to which actors categorise or hierarchise each other and the characteristics used to do so.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationTourism dynamics
Subtitle of host publicationnew perspectives and changing directions
EditorsNikolaos Pappas, Anna Farmaki
Place of PublicationOxford
PublisherGoodfellow Publishers Ltd
Number of pages18
ISBN (Electronic)9781911635949
ISBN (Print)9781911635932
Publication statusPublished - Sept 2021


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