Women's mountaineering tourism experiences: The constraint negotiation process and benefits of participation

DORAN, Adele (2019). Women's mountaineering tourism experiences: The constraint negotiation process and benefits of participation. Doctoral, Sheffield Hallam University.

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Link to published version:: https://doi.org/10.7190/shu-thesis-00203


Participation in recreational mountaineering and mountaineering holidays continues to grow in the UK, however, participation rates are higher for men than women. Despite women’s under-representation, little has been done to understand women’s experiences of mountaineering. This study employed a mixed-methods approach to examine the experiences of female mountaineer tourists. In doing so, it utilised concepts related to participation constraints, constraints negotiation and participation benefits, which have previously been examined independently of each other. The qualitative component of this study involved one-month of phenomenology-based ethnography fieldwork in Nepal where I, the author, participated in a commercially organised mountaineering expedition. An observant participant role was adopted, and data were generated by my own practical co-participation and combined with other data collection methods. The quantitative component consisted of an online survey, which produced 307 usable responses. The findings revealed that intra-personal constraints, in particular self-doubt in one’s fitness and climbing ability, were key constraints for female mountaineer tourists. Moreover, the negotiation of intra-personal constraints is a complex process and efficacy plays a pivotal role and is central to successful participation. The identification of a fourth category relating to family constraints independent to the three familiar constraint categories (intra-personal, interpersonal and structural) represents a theoretical contribution to literature and an additional barrier to women’s participation in mountaineering tourism. The findings also demonstrate how women utilise a range of negotiation strategies to ensure participation and, regardless of the mountaineering tourism activity they participate in, seven core participation benefits were present. New constraint negotiation and benefit categories were also quantitatively verified and new in-situ constraints and negotiation strategies specific to the context of commercially organised high-altitude expeditions emerged in the qualitative data. In addition, the findings of this study also contribute to our understanding of women’s empowerment through their participation in mountaineering tourism. A conceptual model illustrates these key findings and the interrelationships between women’s participation constraints, constraints negotiation and participation benefits of mountaineering tourism. Some of the findings reinforce previous research on the experiences of female adventure participation, in particular those relating to constraint negotiation and benefits. Therefore, this conceptual model not only enhances our understanding of female mountaineer tourists, it also contributes to adventure tourism and adventure recreation literature more broadly. The originality of this study is also present in the ethnography approach employed. Through my own practical co-participation, I was able to understand the meanings and record an embodied account of a mountaineering expedition, which would have been undetected through observation by a non-experiential ethnographer. The implications for adventure tourism management and future research are also considered.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Thesis advisor - Pomfret, Gill [0000-0003-1161-7703]
Additional Information: Director of studies/Supervisor - Dr Gill Pomfret No PQ harvesting
Research Institute, Centre or Group - Does NOT include content added after October 2018: Sheffield Hallam Doctoral Theses
Identification Number: https://doi.org/10.7190/shu-thesis-00203
Depositing User: Louise Beirne
Date Deposited: 08 Aug 2019 09:21
Last Modified: 03 May 2023 02:06
URI: https://shura.shu.ac.uk/id/eprint/24981

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