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The Emergence of Action Sports in the Middle East: Imagining New Mobilities with Parkour in Gaza


Thorpe, H.



Transnational Mobilities in Action Sport Cultures

Tipo de publicación

Capítulo de libro



Palabras clave

Social Medium, Middle East, Action Sport, Arab World, Refugee Camp 


To date, action sports have been a predominantly western phenomenon. Despite increasing diversity, many action sports (such as BMX, surfing, skateboarding, snowboarding, windsurfing) have been dominated by young, white, heterosexual, privileged men in North America, Europe, Australia and New Zealand, as well as some Asian countries (particularly Japan) (Beal, 1995; Booth, 2011; Thorpe, 2011; Wheaton & Tomlinson, 1999). Moreover, with many action sports having roots in North America, and the majority of transnational action sport-related media and companies based in the United States, action sports have become closely interconnected with American popular culture, fashion and music, and particularly the ‘cool’ California youth culture aesthetic. For some — though certainly not all — this is part of the appeal. With the development of highly mediated action sport events such as the X Games, Gravity Games, and the inclusion of action sports into the Olympics, highly evocative images of (predominantly North American and European) action sport athletes riding waves, carving down snowy mountains, leaping across buildings and grinding empty swimming pools are reaching even the remotest of destinations. With the rapid expansion of the Internet and the global reach of transnational action sport companies, media and events, combined with the increasingly ‘exotic’ travel patterns of action sport athletes and enthusiasts, children and youth throughout the Eastern world are also exposed to action sports.


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