Text messaging as a near synchronous method in adventure

Prince, Heather (2017) Text messaging as a near synchronous method in adventure. In: 6th International Adventure Conference: Climates of Change, Rethinking the Outdoor Experience, 30 January - 2 February 2018, Segovia, Spain. (Unpublished)

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Adventure is situated in the changing climate of technologized spaces. Mobile technology has omnipresence globally yet limited application as a research method. This paper explores the methodological and ethical challenges of a parent researcher remotely supporting the time, nature and being of adventurers in the context of a cycling expedition. In transient adventure settings such as expeditions and journeys, mobile communication, usually a smartphone, is often used as part of a safety framework and/or for adventurers to keep in touch with friends and family. Data from text messages (or SMS: Short Message Service) as a near synchronous method are used here together with an interactionist approach through supplementary mobile telephone conversations, to understand the lived experiences of participants. The paper conceptualizes text messaging within the mobilities paradigm and its application in an adventurous setting, and positions it in a methodological framework within a phenomenological and ethnographic, including autoethnographic, approach exploring the challenges and tensions emergent and contingent on that definition. The dualistic application of methodologies captures the co-construction of meaning through the interpretation of textual information and of lived experiences in cycle touring by a parent researcher, and is able to provide deeper explanations and reasons for the intentions, actions and motivations of participants. The data show necessarily pertinent and focused dialogic interaction at times when advice, information or reassurance is requested by the participants and illustrate their increasing autonomy and confidence as the expedition progresses. This ‘experiential’ ethnography allows co-construction of knowledge and insights into the behaviours observed (Salzman, 2002) and supports knowledge construction in the wider context of communicative travel and connected presence (Licoppe, 2004). The data from this research contribute to an understanding of the transition of young people to adulthood, the so called ‘rite of passage’ (van Gennep (1909), 1960) in terms of increasing confidence, autonomy and self-reliance in adventurous settings. It is hoped that this research will have relevance for remote supervisors of adventure in formal, non-formal and informal situations. This paper responds to the call to rethink mobile methods and methodologies (Merriman, 2014) and draws on a plurality of approaches. Methods and methodologies in technologized space will develop rapidly in the future and adventure that is often mobile and transitory in personal and professional practice will provide contextual application in this mobilities paradigm.


Licoppe, C. 2004. ““Connected” presence: the emergence of a new repertoire for managing social relationships in a changing communication technoscape.” Environment and Planning D: Society and Spaces 22: 135-156. doi:10.1068/d323t.

Merriman, P. 2014. “Rethinking mobile methods.” Mobilities 9 (2): 167-187. doi: 10.1080/17450101.2013.784540.

Salzman, P.C. 2002. “On reflexivity.” American Anthropologist 104 (3): 805-813.

van Gennep, A. (1909) 1960. The Rites of Passage. (Translated by M. B. Vizedom and G. L. Caffee.) Reprint, Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Press.

Item Type: Conference or Workshop Item (Paper)
Departments: Academic Departments > Science, Natural Resources & Outdoor Studies (SNROS) > Outdoor Studies
Depositing User: Heather Prince
Date Deposited: 07 Feb 2018 14:40
Last Modified: 05 Jul 2021 15:01
URI: https://insight.cumbria.ac.uk/id/eprint/3582


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