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



336 – 355

This ethnographic study examined how a group of high altitude climbers (N = 6) drew on ethnomethodological principles (the documentary method of interpreta­tion, reflexivity, indexicality, and membership) to interpret their experiences of cognitive dissonance during an attempt to scale Mt. Everest. Data were collected via participant observation, interviews, and a field diary. Each data source was subjected to a content mode of analysis. Results revealed how cognitive disso­nance reduction is accomplished from within the interaction between a pattern of self-justification and self-inconsistencies; how the reflexive nature of cognitive dissonance is experienced; how specific features of the setting are inextricably linked to the cognitive dissonance experience; and how climbers draw upon a shared stock of knowledge in their experiences with cognitive dissonance.


Authors: Shaunna Burke, Andrew C. Sparkes, Jacquelyn Allen-Collinson

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