Social world, hiking and nation: the Israel National Trail

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Hiking is a system of spatial behaviour. This study explores hiking as practiced along the Israel National Trail and posits that hiking and the hikers’ community together constitute a ‘social world’. Our study asked three primary research questions: As the mobility of hiking is typically contextualized within the social world of the pastime, how has the conceptualizations of social world and mobility contributed to the research? What are the characteristics, features, processes and constructs of the social world of hiking a national trail? What is the role of culture, sociability, nation, place and place identity in this specific social world? The study was implemented using two complimentary methods: the quantitative and qualitative analysis of questionnaires and a phenomenological method of participant observation and 60 semi-structured in-person interviews conducted over 20 days of hiking between 2015 and 2016, as one of the authors hiked the trail. The combination of these methods allowed a deeper understanding of the hikers’ social world. The major finding was that Israeli hikers reflect distinct features of a social world, including involvement, commitment and sense of place. A comparison of our findings with other studies and theories of hiking highlights the prominence of place identity in hiking.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)810-838
Number of pages29
JournalSocial and Cultural Geography
Issue number6
StatePublished - 2018


  • Hiking
  • Identidad de lugar
  • Mots clés: randonnée
  • Movilidades
  • Mundo social
  • Nación
  • Palabras clave: Senderismo
  • Sentido de lugar
  • appartenance au lieu
  • mobilities
  • mobilités
  • monde social
  • nation
  • place identity
  • sense of place
  • social world

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • Cultural Studies


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