Power to the paddlers? The internet, governance and discipline

Paul Gilchrist, Neil Ravenscroft

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This article explores the role of the internet in the processes of organisation and mobilisation of a sporting subculture in asserting rights to enjoy the countryside for recreational purposes. It reports upon findings from a qualitative survey of chat room posts surrounding claims made by canoeists for better access to inland waterways in England and Wales. Informed by a reworking of the gift relationship, the findings question claims about the power of the internet to shape and realise democratic participation, indicating instead that it supports wider hegemonic relationships that constrain sporting activity and provides a mechanism for discipline within the subculture that is counter‐intuitive to a broader politics of access for recreational purposes.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)129-148
Number of pages20
JournalLeisure Studies
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2008


  • canoeing
  • bandit canoeist
  • river access
  • access to the countryside, internet, gift relationship, recreational conflict, water‐based sport and recreation, England and Wales


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