Title page for ETD etd-04072010-144220

Document Type Master's Dissertation
Author Smook, Johan Fredrich
Email edrichsmook@absamail.co.za
URN etd-04072010-144220
Document Title When darkness summons
Degree Master of Arts
Department Psychology
Advisor Name Title
Dr L H Human Supervisor
  • dominant societal narrative
  • death
  • bereavement
  • exploration
  • competency
  • narrative
  • interpretive
  • deep technical cave diving
  • meaning
  • history
  • culture
  • construction
  • sense making
Date 2009-09-01
Availability restricted
On the 8th of January 2005, two deep technical cave divers entered Bushman’s Hole, a water filled cave system in the Northern Cape in South Africa. One did not return, the other, fighting the elements for over 12 hours, narrated the event the very next day. This exploration into the narratives of a technical cave diver, is an interpretive journey into the various constructions informing the process of making sense of the death of a fellow dive partner. Exploration of the unknown within the wombs of the earth uncompromisingly challenges society’s dominant views on death and the safekeeping imperative. This exploration of the culture within death and survival in water filled cave systems is situated within the narrative ontology. Subsequently this exploration is aimed at continuously integrating the historical and cultural messages within this dangerous pastime in attempt to find meaning within the narratives of one such individual who ventured into this darkness. Ultimately this exploration is aimed at understanding narratives of sense making employed by a technical cave diver after the loss of a fellow diver amidst the passion that summoned them to explore the darkness within water filled cave systems; a pastime that has been labelled by some as the most dangerous sporting pursuit available to humankind. The journey starts with a literature exploration on death, moving through various researched understandings of the bereavement experience. From there it continues into the nature of interpretive methodology, with an in-depth focus on the historical and cultural situated nature of the narratives we employ in making sense of our world. This qualitative approach is based on the subjective experienced and interpreted meaning that I discovered while moving through the narrated text, hence this journey is also reflective of the co-construction of meaning that implicitly takes place between individuals when making sense of their own experiences. As the receiver of this narrative exploration, you too will find meaning within this journey, meaning co-constructed with the multitude of narratives and experiences that have historically and culturally entered your interpretive process. Implicit within this exploration is the unique nature of the death and bereavement experience within the specific context of deep technical cave diving. This journey places the emphasis on the uniqueness of the bereavement experience, and ultimately challenges the objective approach to dealing with bereavement as a psychologist.

Copyright © 2008, University of Pretoria. All rights reserved. The copyright in this work vests in the University of Pretoria. No part of this work may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, without the prior written permission of the University of Pretoria.

Please cite as follows:

Smook, JF 2008, When darkness summons, MA dissertation, University of Pretoria, Pretoria, viewed yymmdd < http://upetd.up.ac.za/thesis/available/etd-04072010-144220/ >

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