Media, Mountain Culture and the Identity Politics of Risk Recreation: A Media Discourse Analysis of Snowmobiling Avalanche Deaths in Western Canada

  • Author / Creator
    Flaherty, Erin J
  • Avalanche accidents involving backcountry snowmobilers are on the rise in Canada (CAC, 2012a). The 2008-09 and 2009-10 winter seasons were marked by two devastating accidents near Sparwood and Revelstoke, British Columbia, that resulted in multiple fatalities and garnered widespread media coverage. Using a cross-case comparison, this study provides a media discourse analysis (Sampert & Trimble, 2010) of selected newspapers’ coverage of the two avalanches. More specifically, it examines how the media depicted “risk” and “liability” in their framing of the snowmobiling accidents and how these representations, in turn, intersected with social and regional identity. The findings suggest that social and regional identity discourses operated to construct diverging depictions of “risk” and “liability” in the media’s sense-making of the two avalanches. The produced effects included undermining accident prevention efforts, homogenizing diverse and hybridized identities and reproducing risk and gender ideologies that positioned men as naturally risk-seeking while further marginalizing women/femininity in backcountry mountain settings and adventure recreation contexts.

  • Subjects / Keywords
  • Graduation date
  • Type of Item
  • Degree
    Master of Arts
  • DOI
  • License
    This thesis is made available by the University of Alberta Libraries with permission of the copyright owner solely for non-commercial purposes. This thesis, or any portion thereof, may not otherwise be copied or reproduced without the written consent of the copyright owner, except to the extent permitted by Canadian copyright law.
  • Language
  • Institution
    University of Alberta
  • Degree level
  • Department
    • Physical Education and Recreation
  • Supervisor / co-supervisor and their department(s)
    • McDermott, Lisa (Physical Education and Recreation)
  • Examining committee members and their departments
    • Robinson, Zac (Physical Education and Recreation)
    • Trimble, Linda (Political Science)
    • Fox, Karen (Physical Education and Recreation)