Drunken sled dogs: celebration, alcohol use and teamwork in nature tourism guiding

Saara Pirjetta Koikkalainen, Jarno Valkonen, Heikki Sakari Huilaja

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review


Work in the tourism industry often suffers from the blending of leisure and work as frontline service sector employees are expected to partake in the tourists’ celebrations as a routine part of their job. This article focuses on the wilderness safari business where the celebratory culture of tourism influences employee relations at work and the social use of alcohol has become a part the of team-building and recruitment practices of the field. The article is based on thematic interviews of nature tourism guides working in Finnish Lapland. The safari guides use common celebrations and bonding at the pub at the end of the long working day as a way of becoming a tight-knit and efficient team. The article
highlights the dual role of alcohol in the tourism business: while the tourist drinks as a part of the fun of being on holiday, the tourism worker drinks as a part of her job, of how employee roles are divided and new guides trained into the business during the winter high-season. The metaphor of drunken sled-dogs is used to illustrate this team-building process.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)41-58
JournalJournal of Comparative Research in Anthropology and Sociology
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2016
MoEC publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed


  • tourism
  • guiding
  • alcohol
  • team building
  • Lapland

Field of science

  • Sociology


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