Experience society is a term used partly in journalistic and popular sociological terms, partly in scientific and sociological terms, which describes a present-day (patient-hostile) consumer society that is oriented towards eudaimonia (happiness as the highest goal in life) and enjoyment , which is particularly characterized by hedonistic values and increasingly based on so-called virtues such as Solidarity , effort , patience and asceticism renounced. The adventure society does not have to contradict the secondary virtues, it is also characterized by order. In some cases, post-materialistic (i.e. not material) values come into play here in the experimental sense , but these generally do not aim at overcoming the consumer society, but rather aim at the individualistic design of one's own lifestyle - also with the means of consumption. “Experience your life” becomes the all-determining imperative for action.
Put simply, the term describes a society in which the individual is very selfishly focused on achieving as much enjoyment as possible.
The term “adventure society” chosen by Gerhard Schulze as the book title formulates a permanent sociological problem: Historically, there have been many hedonistic subcultures , especially in the wealthy upper classes .
He assumes different experience patterns that dominate in different milieus. He approaches this phenomenon by using a milieu model of 5 milieus, which are characterized and named more strongly through leisure activities and chosen lifestyle (in hierarchical gradation):
- Level environment (academics)
- Self-realization environment (students)
- Integration environment (employees and civil servants)
- Harmony environment (old workers)
- Entertainment environment (young workers)
Building on this, Schulze defines the term experience society as follows: "By experience society is meant ... a society that (in historical and intercultural comparison) is relatively strongly characterized by internally oriented views of life." The following applies: The analysis of the experience society "aims at commonalities, which develop under the influence of an inner-oriented conception of life. ”The inner orientation, in contrast to the outer orientation, is based on the subjective. Schulze gives an example: "Everyone can judge whether the car is driving (target anchored outside); everyone has to decide for himself whether one has a nice driving experience (target anchored inside)."
There is no such thing as one “experience society”, but rather only groups of people in pluralistic societies who have the same values in their own right (cf. also the results of the 2004 Sinus Study ). As a macro-sociological category, it seems to be linked to the trend towards " craft biographies " on the micro-sociological level of the individual (cf. Ulrich Beck ).
The concept of the “experience society” is to be understood as a combination of the individualization thesis (cf. risk society ) and the value change thesis. The new accent is given by the individual search for experiences. One concept of the “adventure society” speaks of “I-anchored - egocentric - self-realization ”, which can hardly be distinguished from sheer egoism .
The search for happiness as a promise of happiness?
The social problem lies in the increasing arbitrariness of the needs for experiences and in their always only short-term satisfaction. In this respect, the hunt for experiences does not necessarily make you “happier” than other attitudes, such as the pursuit of prosperity and asceticism , can.
Because of their short planning horizons and their habitual Un patience they depoliticized their followers, who at the same time face the demands of economic life on the premise of a stranger. Religiously it tends to be event-related, freely combinable, i.e. H. the mode of subjugated esoteric (cf .: syncretism ). An “adventure society” is very vulnerable in social crises.
The world of sport
Independent of the theoretical problems in specifying the adventure society , the adventure industry has captured the trend and z. For example, the traditional sports stadiums with running tracks around the soccer field have been converted into adventure arenas at high costs. This not only allows more spectators to enter the stadiums, but the closer contact with the event demonstrably increases the experience for the spectators.
- Karsten Kilian (2009): Experiential Marketing and Memorable Brand Experiences - A Conceptual Framework . In: Lindgreen, A./Vanhamme, J./Beverland, M. (Eds.): Memorable Customer Experiences - A Research Anthology, Farnham: Gover, pp. 87-99.
- Jörg Rössel (2003): The adventure society between social structure analysis and time diagnosis . In: Austrian Journal for Sociology , No. 28, pp. 82–101.
- Gerhard Schulze (1992): The adventure society: cultural sociology of the present . Frankfurt a. M .: Campus (study editions 2000 and 2005).
- Christoph Köck (1990): Longing for adventure: On the trail of the adventure society . Berlin: transit.
- Götz Lechner (2003): Has the adventure society arrived in Chemnitz? . Opladen.
- Armin Günther (2006): 20 years of adventure society - and more questions than answers . in: Paul Reuber u. Peter Schnell (ed.): Postmodern leisure styles and leisure spaces. New offers in tourism, Berlin, pp. 47–61
- Federal Agency for Civic Education, "Erlebnisgesellschaft" , 2000
- Gerhard Schulze: The adventure society: cultural sociology of the present. Study edition 2000. p. 54
- Gerhard Schulze, Erlebnisgesellschaft: Kultursoziologie der Gegenwart (Campus Verlag, Frankfurt / New York 1992) p. 37.
- Stefan Pfaff: Erlebniswelt Arena, in Arnd Krüger , Axel Dreyer (ed.): Sportmanagement. A topic-related introduction Munich: Oldenbourg, 2004, ISBN 3-486-20030-5 , pp. 211–246.