Into Hot Air- : Exploring the Link Between Embodied Cognition and Reality Framing to Explain Escalation During an Everest Emergency Event

University essay from Umeå universitet/Företagsekonomi

Abstract: Contemporary crisis literature often returns to [in]famous and extraordinary cases with a recurring conclusion of how ill-irrational human factors lead to disastrous escalation. I argue in every crisis observed, there are human traits and paradoxes visible that commit itself to survival that can help us to explain how and why escalation occur. To enable escalation we inevitably construct realities to define aims to solve the crisis. Still if these realities can be inherently viewed as illusionistic they are inevitable and inherent to our mental states. So far there is a lacuna about how actors embody the experience of everyday life and crisis as such. Lately, management literature starts to appreciate how rationality often begins with irrational impulses, but also how crisis is socially materialized that involves how escalation builds up. Finally, how it is incorporated into our cognitive frames that constitutes reality. From an embodied perspective, this thesis aims to answer two questions, how does escalation occur and why do we escalate? Based on data from 2016, present thesis conducted an in-depth case study to explore an impromptu rescue mission on Everest. Method used was a video ethnography of 120 video clips that was analyzed through grounded theory. Specifically targeting verbal and non-verbal communication between members which is referred as a study of embodied cognition. Findings show how we tend to thinking from previous patterns from previous events. Emotions and embodiment are influential but equally important in the process, emotions are communicated that commit actions that shapes the events to become alive. Why it accomplishes is through constant reframing. I argue that our cognitive frame is a fabrication and that the embodiment helps us to revise the reality and emotions. The constant revision is accomplished since our interpretation is intimately connected to the existing fabric that also determines the emotional state. I finally propose a concept that illustrate how the fabrication process goes in loops. The conclusion of this thesis suggests emotions as prominent when and how we experience the world, the embodied dimensions are highly influential and important which not only triggers but airborne the mental cognition by making the reality come “alive”. 

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