Making magic ↖ consumption: A study of white-water river rafting

Eric J. Arnould, Linda L Price, Cele Otnes

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

79 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Recourse to magic is a universal strategy for trying to resolve intractable social problems. Within the context of white-water river rafting, the authors illustrate the conjunction of elements (condition of the performer, rite, and formula) that make magical experience possible in a constructed consumption setting. They show how "river magic," like all magic, concerns itself with the relationship between humans and the world, how it activates certain "latent virtues," and how it consists of ritualized acts directed toward concrete ends. River magic is practical but also performative and rhetorical. It serves to restructure and integrate the minds and emotions of the actors. The authors emphasize the spontaneous evocations of hope, optimism, and confidence common both to traditional magical systems and to river magic. In postmodernity, magic may reemerge from the margins of modern thought to ritualize hope and optimism and to reinscribe us in a meaningful cultural milieu.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)33-68
Number of pages36
JournalJournal of Contemporary Ethnography
Volume28
Issue number1
StatePublished - 1999
Externally publishedYes

Fingerprint

river water
river
water
social problem
optimism
recourse
Social Problems
ritual
consumption
Water
Magic
Rivers
emotion
confidence
experience
world
Optimism

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Urban Studies

Cite this

Making magic ↖ consumption : A study of white-water river rafting. / Arnould, Eric J.; Price, Linda L; Otnes, Cele.

In: Journal of Contemporary Ethnography, Vol. 28, No. 1, 1999, p. 33-68.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

@article{4e548143a3834813a214f74780ca06e2,
title = "Making magic ↖ consumption: A study of white-water river rafting",
abstract = "Recourse to magic is a universal strategy for trying to resolve intractable social problems. Within the context of white-water river rafting, the authors illustrate the conjunction of elements (condition of the performer, rite, and formula) that make magical experience possible in a constructed consumption setting. They show how {"}river magic,{"} like all magic, concerns itself with the relationship between humans and the world, how it activates certain {"}latent virtues,{"} and how it consists of ritualized acts directed toward concrete ends. River magic is practical but also performative and rhetorical. It serves to restructure and integrate the minds and emotions of the actors. The authors emphasize the spontaneous evocations of hope, optimism, and confidence common both to traditional magical systems and to river magic. In postmodernity, magic may reemerge from the margins of modern thought to ritualize hope and optimism and to reinscribe us in a meaningful cultural milieu.",
author = "Arnould, {Eric J.} and Price, {Linda L} and Cele Otnes",
year = "1999",
language = "English (US)",
volume = "28",
pages = "33--68",
journal = "Journal of Contemporary Ethnography",
issn = "0891-2416",
publisher = "SAGE Publications Inc.",
number = "1",

}

TY - JOUR

T1 - Making magic ↖ consumption

T2 - A study of white-water river rafting

AU - Arnould, Eric J.

AU - Price, Linda L

AU - Otnes, Cele

PY - 1999

Y1 - 1999

N2 - Recourse to magic is a universal strategy for trying to resolve intractable social problems. Within the context of white-water river rafting, the authors illustrate the conjunction of elements (condition of the performer, rite, and formula) that make magical experience possible in a constructed consumption setting. They show how "river magic," like all magic, concerns itself with the relationship between humans and the world, how it activates certain "latent virtues," and how it consists of ritualized acts directed toward concrete ends. River magic is practical but also performative and rhetorical. It serves to restructure and integrate the minds and emotions of the actors. The authors emphasize the spontaneous evocations of hope, optimism, and confidence common both to traditional magical systems and to river magic. In postmodernity, magic may reemerge from the margins of modern thought to ritualize hope and optimism and to reinscribe us in a meaningful cultural milieu.

AB - Recourse to magic is a universal strategy for trying to resolve intractable social problems. Within the context of white-water river rafting, the authors illustrate the conjunction of elements (condition of the performer, rite, and formula) that make magical experience possible in a constructed consumption setting. They show how "river magic," like all magic, concerns itself with the relationship between humans and the world, how it activates certain "latent virtues," and how it consists of ritualized acts directed toward concrete ends. River magic is practical but also performative and rhetorical. It serves to restructure and integrate the minds and emotions of the actors. The authors emphasize the spontaneous evocations of hope, optimism, and confidence common both to traditional magical systems and to river magic. In postmodernity, magic may reemerge from the margins of modern thought to ritualize hope and optimism and to reinscribe us in a meaningful cultural milieu.

UR - http://www.scopus.com/inward/record.url?scp=22644450115&partnerID=8YFLogxK

UR - http://www.scopus.com/inward/citedby.url?scp=22644450115&partnerID=8YFLogxK

M3 - Article

AN - SCOPUS:22644450115

VL - 28

SP - 33

EP - 68

JO - Journal of Contemporary Ethnography

JF - Journal of Contemporary Ethnography

SN - 0891-2416

IS - 1

ER -