Understanding the experiences of African American outdoor enthusiasts

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Title: Understanding the experiences of African American outdoor enthusiasts
Author: Cavin, Drew Alan
Abstract: The study of race /ethnicity and leisure has been an area of great interest to researchers since at least the 1970s . Numerous studies have shown that differences exist in the ways people from different racial /ethnic groups participate in outdoor recreation . Most of these studies have found that racial and ethnic minorities (i .e . non -White groups ) participate in many outdoor recreation activities at proportionally lower levels than do Whites . While these studies present numerous hypotheses to help explain this phenomenon , no study has been conclusive . In this dissertation , I present a theoretical framework and three empirical studies to investigate the nuances of this issue . The first study examines the theory of systemic racism (Feagin , 2006 ) and its utility to deepen our understanding of the factors that play into African Americans relationship with nature and outdoor recreation . The second study analyzes narrative and historical autobiographical accounts of African Americans from the three major racial eras in United States history in order to examine African Americans ? relationship with nature over time . The third study examines the racially related constraints of African Americans who are involved in serious leisure pursuits of activities generally considered outdoor recreation , as well as African Americans who are involved in nature related careers . The constraints I found with this group are reservations of family and friends regarding being in ?the woods , ? collective memory and fear , being the ?only one , ? discrimination and ?reverse curiosity , ? assumption of novice status , and balancing identity between being Black , and ?acting White . ? In the fourth study I analyze this same study group , but explore their experiences of being involved in serious leisure and look at the negotiation schema that this group employed to sustain participation . These negotiation schema are childhood formative experiences , realizing deep connections to nature , transcendental experiences in nature , leaning on knowledge of nature , comfort with White people /places /groups , and positive experiences with White people in nature . The four studies in this collection represent a rethinking and deepening of our knowledge of African American participation in the outdoors .
URI: http : / /hdl .handle .net /1969 .1 /ETD -TAMU -3062
Date: 2009-05-15

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Understanding the experiences of African American outdoor enthusiasts. Available electronically from http : / /hdl .handle .net /1969 .1 /ETD -TAMU -3062 .

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