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Le parkour, freerunning and young white men


Lawrence, S.



‘Race’, Youth Sport, Physical Activity and Health

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This chapter argues that future scholarly accounts of Le Parkour and freerunning (PKFR), and all its associated elements, are well advised to consider the role of racialised and gendered discourse to avoid overstating the extent to which the movements distort ‘old’ certainties. PKFR emerged in a zeitgeist purportedly sympathetic to notions of enhanced civil liberty, multiculturalism and individualism. The genesis of PKFR has taken place at a socio-historical moment quite different to the ones in which older more traditional sports came into being. The history told by dreadlocks, particularly their aesthetic association with resistance and oppression, certainly appeal to some involved with PKFR who wish to associate with popular portrayals of traceurs as ‘heroic rebels and urban warriors’. Much of the literature on PKFR to date has understood the movements as consisting of disparate, but digitally connected, glocal communities, populated by boys and young men that struggle against ‘late modern capitalist modalities of life’.


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