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Kidnapping for fun and profit? Voluntary abduction, extreme consumption and self-making in a risk society

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This article explores the emerging phenomenon of ‘staged kidnapping’, a consumer-oriented experience in which individuals voluntarily subject themselves to abduction and associated experiences of detention, deprivation, interrogation and degradation. We explore the staging, presentation and consumption of voluntary abduction through an analysis of the online marketing and reporting of the phenomenon, to consider the ways new consumerist trends alter traditional notions of hospitality. We analyse the phenomenon’s emergence within the twin theoretical frames of Beck’s ‘risk society’ thesis and Lyng’s account of ‘voluntary risk-taking’ as a form of ‘edgework’. We argue that the framing and appeal of such experiences can be fruitfully located as an element in the reflexive production of the post-traditional self, a process that requires subjects to confront and manage (materially or symbolically) the conditions of risk and uncertainty that characterize contemporary inhospitable lifeworlds.

Keywords: consumption; edgework; hospitality; kidnapping; risk; simulation

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: Lancaster University 2: University of Leeds

Publication date: June 1, 2019

More about this publication?
  • Hospitality & Society is an international multidisciplinary social sciences journal focusing upon hospitality and exploring its connections with wider social and cultural processes and structures. The journal welcomes submissions from various disciplines and aims to be an interactive forum expanding frontiers of knowledge and contributing to the literature on hospitality social science. Articles that stimulate debate, discussion and exchange across disciplines are welcomed, as well as review essays or short topical pieces that are provocative and problematic in nature.

    Hospitality & Society is the official journal of the Council for Hospitality Management Education
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