Deviance and Risk on Holiday: An Ethnography of British Tourists in Ibiza


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This book represents the first attempt to step inside the holiday experience of young British tourists. Using ethnographic methods such as observation, open-ended interviewing and focus groups in San Antonio, Ibiza, this book reveals the ugly truth about 'how' and 'why' young Brits get involved in deviance and risk-taking when they go abroad, exploring vivid accounts of drug use, drug dealing, violence, prostitution, and injury.

In contrast to existing knowledge and populist depictions, Briggs argues that the root of these behaviours is not pathological but rather it is more about how this social group have come to self validate what is expected of them in their leisure time and, as a consequence, how their attitudes are subtly guided and endorsed by the commodified social context of resorts which are only interested in making money at their expense.

Came across this study after listening to Thinking Allowed's Ethnography Award feature last week on Radio 4. Did some searching and found that it'd been featured on the programme last September (available here: Anyone read it?

Interview with Daniel Briggs available here too:

padraig (u.s.)

a monkey that will go ape
I doubt it's unique to Ibiza. I've specifically heard it about Vegas.

i.e. that the "What happens in Vegas" mentality leads people to do all kinds of crazy shit they never would at home in their regular lives

I also worked for a while in a heavily-tourist servicing industry, if not in a resort location, and saw it first-hand

would be surprised if it wasn't largely the same anywhere young tourists from affluent countries gather

Thailand, Cancun + Acapulco, Goa, what have you, even U.S. Spring Break towns

something about privilege, the conception of "paradise", entrepreneurial opportunity to hustle $, lax local enforcement, and so on

ed.: didn't notice "their attitudes are subtly guided and endorsed by the commodified social context of resorts". that is more interesting, in its broader application of fault.
ed. again: read the interview, does sound interesting. still would be surprised if it's unique to Ibiza, except in extremity and the particularly British demographic.
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Darned cockwombles.
I read the Spin article - very entertaining, but this guy seems to be blurring the line to unintentional comic effect between genuinely terrible situations and the time-honoured pastime of getting wasted. I think the commodification of entertainment and excess is a really interesting subject, but this guy sounds like he's overly virtuously denying the vicarious thrills he's getting from observing the decadence of others.

Very quotable though:

"So many of the stories coming out of Ibiza sound almost like Harmony Korine's Spring Breakers?
It comes back to what I was saying about these depictions. Is that not a blatant advertisement for young people approaching the end of their high school years to go out and get absolutely hammered? We have a very similar film, The In-Betweeners, which is about these guys finishing school. When they turn 17, 18, what do they do? They go on holiday, they go to Ibiza and get wasted. They do crazy stuff like give themselves blowjobs and things like that. It's just really, really sordid, bizarre shit. But it's become so normal and ingrained in what's expected."

"And now you can go back and experience it vicariously in your research from a safe remove?
Well, yes, a safe remove. This has attracted a lot of attention from my colleagues who think that I've gone there and had fun. I've come back really, heavily depressed, you know? Millions of people do this every year. And it's not fun when you hear stories of people being raped and finding themselves on beaches or floating in pools naked without a passport. That's not fun."
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