Leisure and Death

An Anthropological Tour of Risk, Death, and Dying

edited by Adam Kaul and Jonathan Skinner

Paperback Price $32.95
Ebook Price $30.95
30-day ebook rental price $15.50

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foreword by Jane Desmond, epilogue by James Fernandez

 2020 Ed Bruner Prize from The Anthropology of Tourism Interest Group
Leisure and Death opens up important new connections and lays the ground for further work to be done on this topic . . . an evocative, compelling collection.”

—Fiona Murphy, Dublin City University

“A truly exciting book that will make a significant contribution to both death studies and the study of leisure and tourism.”

—Arnar Árnason, University of Aberdeen

"This volume should be of keen interest to scholars of death, religion, tourism, sports, and digital worlds. . . . By taking seriously people’s desire to explore their own relationship with death through recreational pursuits—death in and through play—it offers readers a rich reflection on their own mortality."

"Leisure and Death offers a fresh contribution to the anthropology of tourism. The essays are attentive to the entanglements of embodiment, the political, and even the macabre."
—The Journal of Anthropological Research

"The chapters in the book are all ethnographically strong, and full of beautiful details and sometimes lively pictures."
Anthropology News


This anthropological study examines the relationship between leisure and death, specifically how leisure practices are used to meditate upon—and mediate—life. Considering travelers who seek enjoyment but encounter death and dying, tourists who accidentally face their own mortality while vacationing, those who intentionally seek out pleasure activities that pertain to mortality and risk, and those who use everyday leisure practices like social media or dogwalking to cope with death, Leisure and Death delves into one of the most provocative subsets of contemporary cultural anthropology.

These nuanced and well-developed ethnographic case studies deal with different and distinct examples of the intertwining of leisure and death. They challenge established conceptions of leisure and rethink the associations attached to the prospect of death. Chapters testify to encounters with death on a personal and scholarly level, exploring, for example, the Cliffs of Moher as not only one of the most popular tourist destinations in Ireland but also one of the most well-known suicide destinations, as well as the estimated 30 million active posthumous Facebook profiles being repurposed through proxy users and transformed by continued engagement with the living. From the respectful to the fascinated, from the macabre to the morbid, contributors consider how people deliberately, or unexpectedly, negotiate the borderlands of the living.

An engaging, timely book that explores how spaces of death can be transformed into spaces of leisure, Leisure and Death makes a significant contribution to the burgeoning interdisciplinary literature on leisure studies and dark tourism. This book will appeal to students, scholars, and laypeople interested in tourism studies, death studies, cultural studies, heritage studies, anthropology, sociology, and marketing.

Contributors: Kathleen M. Adams, Michael Arnold, Ray Casserly, Jane Desmond, Keith Egan, Maribeth Erb, James Fernandez, Martin Gibbs, Rachel Horner-Brackett, Shingo Iitaka, Tamara Kohn, Patrick Laviolette, Ruth McManus, James Meese, Bjorn Nansen, Stravoula Pipyrou, Hannah Rumble, Cyril Schafer

Lives of the Mind Podcast
Anthropology News Interview

Adam Kaul is associate professor of anthropology at Augustana College. He is the author of Turning the Tune and coeditor of the third edition of Tourists and Tourism and has written numerous articles and book chapters on traditional music, commodification, and tourism in Ireland.

Jonathan Skinner is a reader in anthropology at the University of Roehampton and adjunct fellow at the Centre for Cosmopolitan Studies, University of St. Andrews. He is the author of Before the Volcano, editor or coeditor of several books, coeditor of the book series Movement and Performance Studies, and advisor to the arts health charity Arts Care.

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  • Paperback Price: $32.95
  • Paperback ISBN: 978-1-60732-728-8
  • Ebook Price: $30.95
  • 30-day ebook rental price: $15.50
  • EISBN: 978-1-60732-729-5
  • Publication Month: May
  • Publication Year: 2018
  • Pages: 330
  • Illustrations: 26 black and white photographs
  • Discount Type: Short
  • Author: edited by Adam Kaul and Jonathan Skinner
  • ECommerce Code: 978-1-60732-728-8
  • Get Permissions: Get Permission

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