Paradoxes of Material Culture: The Political Economy of Surfing

  • Douglas Booth
Part of the International Political Economy Series book series (IPES)


This chapter analyses the material bases of surfing culture (including surfboards, wetsuits, clothing, accessories, magazines, books, memorabilia, videos, competitions, tourism and surfing schools),1 which is worth an estimated US$4 billion each year (Gliddon, 2002: 20). In particular, it investigates the paradoxes of a culture that celebrates social freedom, escape from drudgery and a harmonious interaction with the natural world, and which simultaneously propagates capitalist accumulation, competition and exploitation in its modes of economic and political organization.2 Most surfers are only too well aware of the paradox; but how do they reconcile the contradictions?


World Wide Material Culture World Title Capitalist Mode Board Manufacturer 
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© Douglas Booth 2005

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  • Douglas Booth

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