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Ocean cruising: A study of affirmative deviance

Macbeth, Jim (1985) Ocean cruising: A study of affirmative deviance. PhD thesis, Murdoch University.

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Modern day ocean voyaging in private sailing vessels dates back to the turn of the century. Despite this, the present thesis is the first academic study of ocean cruising to be completed of the thousands of people who make ocean voyages only a few hundred are committed to the lifestyle of cruising, that is, see cruising as a whole way of life that they will pursue indefinitely. The thesis first presents an ethnography of the lifestyle of cruising with particular attention to (1) what activities constitute the lifestyle, (2) why people cruise, and (3) what values, attitudes, and characteristics attach to the participants. Second, the thesis relates this ethnography to several theories in sociology and psychology.

In sociology, subculture and deviance theories are used to place cruising in the context of the wider scholastic study of society. Pearson (1979) and others are drawn upon in placing cruising in the context of subcultures while the work of Walter Buckley (1967) is used to modify deviance theory to account for the apparently positive nature of the deviance inherent in the cruising lifestyle.

In psychology, theories of autotelic rewards, enjoyment, and human satisfaction are used to understand the experience of and motivation to cruise. In addition, theories of personal growth developed by Hampden-Turner (1970) and others are applied to cruisers and their way of life.

The thesis concludes that cruisers, as cultural 'heroes', can be seen as affirmative deviants. That is to say, given an humanistic and western individualistic value system their deviance can be seen as contributing to their individual health and growth, and to positive social evolution.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Murdoch Affiliation(s): School of Social Inquiry
Supervisor(s): Raser, John, Stokes, Geoff and Hallen, Patsy
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