2006 Abstracts Stage 3

The Desire to Play with Death: An investigation into the increase of man’s participation in extreme sports in relation to a postmodern society

Georgina Urry, 2006, Stage 3

● It has become apparent that a huge increase in those taking part in extreme sports has occurred over the last 40 years. There are currently, across the globe, 168 million participants in activities such as sky-diving, SCUBA diving and snowboarding. It is my contention that this growth is due to more than greater accessibility to facilities for such sports. ● Jean-François Lyotard: maintenance of the death of grand-narratives meaning that we lose our ability to create an identity for ourselves. New methods for self validation must be found in the postmodern society. Text: The Postmodern Condition [2005] ● Friedrich Nietzsche: we must go above and beyond ourselves if we are to escape this mentality. We must adhere to masterly behavior and act as we please. Text: Beyond Good and Evil [1998] ● GWF Hegel: only in pushing to the limits of death do we experience freedom. In risking life we affirm life. Text: The Phenomenology of Spirit [1977] ● By looking at the possible relationships between extreme sports and the three philosophers cited above it should become apparent that whilst the postmodern society encourages individuals to seek new methods of self-identification, of which extreme sports is one, partakers in extreme sports maintain a Hegelian notion of death, in seeking it to affirm life, whilst not going beyond it as Nietzsche would request. In this respect, extreme sports offer a positive method of self-validation in the postmodern climate which pushes but does not exceed boundaries.

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