Waikato Journal of Education


The body is a symbol of status, a system of social markings and a site of distinctions. Drawing on documentary and visual sources, combined with participant observations, this article explores the body as a signifier through an examination of numerous cultural practices used by snowboarders to distinguish themselves from nonsnowboarders and each other. In examining embodied  snowboarders I firstly analyse their cultural tastes and styles of dress, language and bodily deportment. Secondly, I consider how boarders earn symbolic capital through demonstrations of commitment, physical prowess and risk taking. This analysis implicitly views the body as a social phenomenon, that is, it conceptualises the body as a possessor of power, a form of status, a bearer of symbolic value and a form of physical capital. The body now plays a central role in producing and reproducing social groups and the 'embodied boarder' is an important case study for understanding how contemporary youth both construct and make sense of their worlds.

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