The concept of edgework refers to a wide range of activities in which individuals voluntarily assume risks that could result in death, serious injury, or incapacitation. The term edgework, borrowed from Hunter Thompson's journalistic accounts of recreational drug use and related high-risk behaviors within the youth culture in the United States, dates from the mid-1960s. Stephen Lyng, who first used this concept in social scientific research, focused on high-risk leisure sports, such as skydiving, hang gliding, mountain climbing, motor vehicle racing, and other types of “extreme” sports and high-risk recreational activities.

Today, scholars apply the edgework concept more broadly to cover risk taking activities outside of the leisure domain. This includes dangerous occupations (firefighting, police work, rescue squads), high-stakes financial transactions (stock and bond trading, ...

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