Endurance work’: embodiment and the mind-body nexus in the physical culture of high-altitude mountaineering

Sociology 52 (6):1324-1341 (2018)
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Abstract

The 2015 Nepal earthquake and avalanche on Mount Everest generated one of the deadliest mountaineering disasters in modern times, bringing to media attention the physical-cultural world of high-altitude climbing. Contributing to the current sociological concern with embodiment, here we investigate the lived experience and social ‘production’ of endurance in this sociologically under-researched physical-cultural world. Via a phenomenological-sociological framework, we analyse endurance as cognitively, corporeally and interactionally lived and communicated, in the form of ‘endurance work’. Data emanate from in-depth interviews with 18 high-altitude mountaineers, ten of whom experienced the 2015 avalanche. The article responds to Shilling’s (2016) call to address an important lacuna identified in sociological work: the need to investigate the embodied importance of cognition in the incorporation of culture. The concept of endurance work provides a powerful exemplar of this cognitive-corporeal nexus at work as a physical-culturally shaped, embodied practice and mode-of-thinking in the social world of high-altitude climbing.

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References found in this work

The Absent Body.Drew Leder - 1990 - University of Chicago Press.
Phenomenology of the Social World.Alfred Schutz - 1967 - Northwestern University Press.
The Descriptive Phenomenological Psychological Method.Amedeo Giorgi - 2012 - Journal of Phenomenological Psychology 43 (1):3-12.
The Phenomenology of Body Memory.Thomas Fuchs - 2012 - In Sabine C. Koch, Thomas Fuchs, Michela Summa & Cornelia Müller (eds.), Body Memory, Metaphor and Movement. John Benjamins. pp. 84--9.

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