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Geocachers are deviants!

August 30, 2010

Search “Geocaching” in Google Scholar and you very quickly (I’d say too quickly) come across a link to a research article called

‘Agon and Ecstasy: Transgression, Transformation, and Transcendence in Competitive Geocaching’

by Francis Frederick Hawley, Professor of Criminology and Criminal Justice at Western Carolina University.

Read the abstract and you find the following:

Geocaching is an organized leisure activity that combines use of computers, Global Positioning System receivers (GPSr), map skills, and the use of reasoning in solving complex problems. It can also involve planned deception and criminal-like behavior while engaged in the activity itself.

Well, yes, I suppose it does. But wait there’s more:

Although geocachers see their activity as admittedly deviant, they actively disavow deviant identities and self-identification in their “normal” articulation within the world at large.

Is that just another way of saying we know we’re deviant but we won’t say we are deviant? It gets better:

The deviant, intrusive nature of the act of finding and logging the cache and the after “find” exultation resembles the behavior and emotional process of burglars and thieves, and links the pastime to other constructions of “transgressively agonistic” deviance.

So Geocachers are most closely related to, in terms of pastime at least, criminals. Does this mean we should be looking for new geocachers amongst the court pages? Or should we be looking for each other amongst the court pages? Is geocaching a ‘gateway’ deviant behaviour? Does being involved in ‘deviant’ behaviour make me a ‘deviant’?

All this from only the abstract. Still searching for a free copy of the article, will post more when I find it.

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