Horgen, Fasting, Lundhaug, Magnussen; & Østrem (Eds.): UTE! (2016)

UTE! (2016, OUT! Outdoor activities (friluftsliv) – educational, historical and sociological perspectives) is an anthology of research-based articles that add to our knowledge about outdoor activities/friluftsliv. The book is edited by Horgen, Fasting, Lundhaug, Magnussen; & Østrem, and divided into three parts, each of which explores various didactic practices and different landscapes.

In Part 1, Outdoor activities (friluftsliv) in light of the philosophy, play and learning, the first article examines a winter activity as an example of how practical knowledge can be verbalized in tertiary sports education; in this case, students gain experience in digging a snow shelter (kantgrop). Another article presents empirical evidence collected in a study of a sea-kayaking course, exploring adult learning in a practice collective. In contrast, the final article considers children’s autonomous, free play in various landscapes in the local community and analyses the characteristics of such play.

Part 2, Outdoor activities (Friluftsliv) in a teaching context, opens with an article that investigates sustainable didactics in outdoor activities from a school perspective. The second article examines leadership of learning in outdoor locations, and the third narrows this focus to outdoors as the topic in physical education. The last article addresses issues related to the theme of guided nature walks, questioning whether this represents the professionalization or the commercialization of outdoor competence.

In Part 3, Outdoor activities (friluftsliv) in a historical and sociological perspective, more general themes are addressed. The first article examines outdoor activities in the Norwegian population, providing an overview that indicates the various activity types engaged in, and their distribution. The second article investigates the safety hazards associated with various outdoor activities. Another article explores the various factors that motivate participants to undertake long and intense expeditions, based on a case study of a ski trip in the wilderness. Turning to extreme sports, the aim of the fourth article is to identify what motivates people to participate in such risky activities, approaching base jumping from various perspectives. The aim of the final article is to explore the factors that motivate people who choose to work as leaders of peak Climbs.

All the anthology’s contributors and the five editors are employed in the tertiary education sector in Norway. They represent ten different universities in Norway and are all members of the Forum for outdoor activities in higher education.

OUT! is the first message conveyed to the reader through the combination of the title OUT (UTE) and the cover photo, which depicts a late-summer scene in the high mountains, with snow capped summits, sunshine and blue sky. The photograph provides an immediate sense of something magnificent and depicts nature as a whole landscape and as something original. Closer study reveals some tracks in the snow and a small group of people moving across this landscape. The choice of a photo like this sends a clear message regarding what outdoor activities (friluftsliv) are, what nature is, and what landscape is highlighted as an arena for learning and education.

This book is important and relevant for anyone interested in the outdoor life (friluftsliv). In the context of the NaChiLit research group, it will be possible to analyze the articles on the basis of the matrix. The educational practices in the articles will then be positioned in an anthropocentric horizon, with an emphasis on a predominantly celebratory view of nature and only a few references to a problematizing view of nature.

Bjørg Oddrun Hallås 13.11.2016