Playing with fear: Parkour and the mobility of emotion
Saville, S. J.
Social and Cultural Geography
Tipo de publicación
Artículo de revista
fear, parkour, freerunning, emotional geography, mobility, place, play
This article engages debates on emotional geography and non-representational theory by considering fear as a distinctly mobile engagement with our environment. Parkour, or freerunning, has exploded into public consciousness through commercial media representations and films. It is depicted as a spectacular urban sport that either can or cannot be done. Through ethnographic research with groups of parkour practitioners I consider what has been excluded from these representations: the emotions involved in trying, experimenting, and gradually learning to be in places differently. In parkour places are ‘done’ or mobilised in tentative, unsure, ungainly and unfinished ways which can be characterised by a kind of play with architecture. I argue that this play is contingent upon an array of fears, which, rather than being entirely negative, are an important way in which practitioners engage with place. Here fears can manifest differently, not only restricting mobility, but in some cases encouraging imaginative and playful forms of movement.