Phenomenology in a wetsuit : understanding biophilia in pacific coastal environments
Banavage, Meg Elise
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Subjectbiophilia; ecopsychology; Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis; outdoor adventure training; Pacific ocean; phenomenological psychology
To examine possible links between biophilia (love for living systems) and outdoor adventure training, this study explored various emotional relationships participants developed during Hooksum Outdoor School on Vancouver Island, British Columbia. Drawing from phenomenological psychology, ecopsychology, outdoor adventure training, and biophilia literature, I sought to answer the questions (1) if, and how, individuals develop emotional relationships with coastal environments; (2) what role the ocean plays in emotional change; (3) how individuals act in response to their relationships with the coast. Analysis included grouping themes from observation notes, questionnaires, and Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis of individual interviews. A focus was bringing the researcher into participants' lifeworlds as they experienced the program. Four individual participant stories demonstrate active relationship-building (1) within participants' inner selves; (2) between each other; (3) with the coastal environment. Findings contribute to recommendations for future research, providing insight into how program design can effectively address the biophilia tendency.
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