The paper is based on a comparative and qualitative case study of friluftsliv in Denmark and outdoor education in New Zealand. Cultural analysis with a comparative cultural perspective informed the research approach. Configurational analysis was used as an important supplement to focus on cultural patterns linked to bodily movement. It is argued that outdoor education in New Zealand is focused on action, risk and challenge, with personal development as the central pedagogical goal. There seems to be a general search for effectiveness and a special relationship to land and nature with both functionalism and personal relationships linked to identity. Outdoor education in New Zealand can generally be understood as a reproduction of political ideas and values in western liberal societies. Friluftsliv in Denmark exhibits complexity of forms and settings within outdoor education, with simple life in nature and adventure being two dominant trends. The study identifies differences as well as similarities between the cultural expressions of friluftsliv and outdoor education in New Zealand and discusses the results using theories of late modernity.
Journal of Adventure Education and Outdoor Learning, 2012, Vol 12, Issue 2, p. 121-136