Online Summer-School
Phenomenological Perspectives on Extreme Sports (2 ECTS)


This two-day online summer school provides an introduction to state-of-the-art qualitative methods in psychological research on extremes. In current psychological research, there is disagreement about what exactly constitutes the „extreme.“ One possible definition is that phenomena are extreme if they can be classified as such along two dimensions, namely a) the judgement of the intensity of the experience and b) the perception of the temporal conditions under which the experience takes place.

An experience can be extreme if it lasts for a long time and is of high intensity (e.g. surviving torture); an experience can be extreme if it is of lower intensity but is too demanding in terms of time, e.g. because the event happens overnight without allowing the individual to adapt/habituate (e.g. the much-cited moment of shock when one could still avoid an accident). If both factors are high, it is also an extreme experience if the event is both sudden and of high intensity (e.g. pandemics, also Covid-19 or the first lockdowns).

Research to date has mainly focused on the quantifiable aspects of extreme sports, or has addressed specific qualitative-phenomenological aspects. However, there is no common empirical definition of the phenomenon. Together with the participants of the summer school, we want to collect data from extreme athletes (conversational research) and then systematise the data in joint workshops according to the principles of qualitative analysis.

The course consists of a mixture of lectures, practical data sessions and individual consultations with participants. It will provide participants with both theoretical background and initial practical training in the basic principles of qualitative research that can access and empirically conceptualise the phenomenon. A general knowledge of qualitative research, ethnography, mixed methods, comparative or collaborative methods is helpful but not required.

Course Schedule

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The Summer School is part of an institutional collaboration between the working groups of Thomas Stodulka (FU Berlin), Meike Watzlawik (SFU Berlin), Dominik Mihalits (SFU Vienna), and Carolin Demuth (Aalborg University) that intends to establish long-term collaboration between psychology, anthropology, and the humanities. The first conference of the rotating system was held in Aalborg (in 2021), followed by FU Berlin (2022), will take place at SFU Vienna in 2023 (local hosts: Dominik Mihalits & Natalie Rodax)  and will continue at SFU Berlin in 2024.


Participation fee is 150 EUR. An invoice will be sent after registration.


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