Ultimate Frisbee: Communicative Action in a Self-officiated Sport




Doyle, Peter T.

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Ultimate Frisbee is the fastest growing sport in the United States. Traditionally, Ultimate has been self-officiated, implying there are no active referees, leaving the players themselves to self-regulate the game. In recent years the practice of employing Observers to help monitor games has gained currency in the Ultimate community. I will examine the impact of self-officiating on the individual player, how (s)he constructs meaning in context of the officiating system, and how ethical discourse and communication may explain self-government on the Ultimate field. Qualitative methodology is necessary in order to investigate the experience of an Ultimate player, his or her perspective on current practices within the sport and the cultural significance of self-officiating. A phenomenological approach is used in effort to gather the essential account of the individual experience of persons who actively participate in Ultimate, representing a vested group concerned with the current state and future of the sport. The analytical framework of critical theorist Jürgen Habermas will support the qualitative research collected from player-participants. Through in-depth interviews I will systematically investigate the personal experience of Ultimate through the players themselves.



Ultimate frisbee, Habermas, Officiating, Meaning, Phenomenology


Doyle, P. T. (2011). <i>Ultimate frisbee: Communicative action in a self-officiated sport</i> (Unpublished thesis). Texas State University-San Marcos, San Marcos, Texas.


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