High Altitude Climbers as Ethnomethodologists Making Sense of Cognitive Dissonance: Ethnographic Insights from an Attempt to Scale Mt. Everest

  • Shaunna M. Burke, Andrew C. Sparkes, Jacquelyn Allen-Collinson
  • The Sport Psychologist, September 2008, Human Kinetics
  • DOI: 10.1123/tsp.22.3.336

An ethnographic study of high altitude climbers making sense of dissonant experiences

What is it about?

Drawing on data from an ethnographic study, this article explores how a small group of high altitude climbers attempting to scale Mt. Everest sought to make sense of the cognitive dissonance they experienced in relation to the climb. The findings illuminate the following: (a) how cognitive dissonance reduction is accomplished from within the interaction between a pattern of self-justification and self-inconsistencies; (b) how the reflexive nature of cognitive dissonance is experienced; (c) how specific features of the setting are inextricably linked to the cognitive dissonance experience and; (d) how climbers draw upon a shared subcultural stock of knowledge in their experiences with cognitive dissonance.

Why is it important?

Investigating how extreme sports participants, such as high-altitude climbers, handle a range of challenging situations, social and physical, is important in learning how to deal effectively with such challenges.

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The following have contributed to this page: Professor Jacquelyn Allen-Collinson