Weighing up or weighed down with bouldering grades: freeing the crux through an autoethnographic movement with rock

Vishwasrao, Dhruv (2022) Weighing up or weighed down with bouldering grades: freeing the crux through an autoethnographic movement with rock. Masters dissertation, University of Cumbria. Item availability may be restricted.

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Rock-climbing as a sport is growing at great speed. My research study focuses on outdoor bouldering, which is one subset of rock-climbing. I have chosen an autoethnographic method for this study to critically analyse my relationship with bouldering through a lens of bouldering grades. It involves placing the self under an investigation while contextualising it with the ethnographic social, and cultural aspects of bouldering. My study attempts to unravel the relationship between bouldering grades and bouldering identity while situating it in its culture. At a time when the sport of rock climbing is seeing increased participation, I believe it is crucial to support it with literature that uncovers instrumental elements of the sport to further a well-rounded understanding of it. My study benefits from an autoethnographic research design as an insider positioning can help produce knowledge that is more authentic than that of an outsider. It is built on my personal stand that a researcher cannot be objective and thus completely separated from their research. I believe that bouldering is a highly embodied and corporeal sport which requires an accurate representation from within its lived experience. I have used a collection of personal bouldering logbook entries, fieldnotes, images and audio recordings as sources of data. There was a vital element of reflexivity in rewriting the self from these personal sources of data to reach critical consciousness on the research topic. My research study also contains certain vignettes in the form of personal bouldering logbook entries to provide flavour and evocative depth to the autoethnographic study. I employ a self-critical and reflexive style of research to challenge elements of identity construction in bouldering. As there is an element of bouldering in the outdoors, I have included personal ecological perspectives in this study to supplement further ethnographic contextualisation. My project aims to provide a way for rock-climbers to examine their relationship with their climbing to critique and understand various challenging elements that are part of their climbing identity and culture. I have written this autoethnographic study to provide ease of access for a broader readership that is not confined to academics, as I feel that the climbing community at large can benefit from it. It is my hope that this research project aims to create a cognisance and appreciation for the highly corporeal sport of bouldering within its mega set of climbing and beyond.

Item Type: Thesis/Dissertation (Masters)
Departments: Institute of Science and Environment > Outdoor Studies
Additional Information: Dissertation presented in part fulfilment of the requirements of the degree of Masters of Arts in Outdoor and Experiential Learning, Institute of Science and Environment, University of Cumbria. Supervisor: Richard Ensoll, September 2022, word count: 14,607 words.
Depositing User: Heather Prince
Date Deposited: 14 Nov 2022 09:57
Last Modified: 14 Nov 2022 10:00
URI: https://insight.cumbria.ac.uk/id/eprint/6676
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