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Signposting risk Parkour parks and the materialities of regulation


Gilchrist, P. & Osborn, G.



Lifestyle Sports and Public Policy

Publication type

Capítulo de libro





This chapter draws upon a longitudinal study of the evolution of parkour spaces in the UK in order to illustrate how parkour is being co-constructed with, and by, the law. We subject to close examination the information sign at the parkour park as a material and symbolic artefact that can both illuminate the values and philosophies of the sport, as well as being a socio-legal artefact that may document processes of juridification: the enfolding of sport into legal and regulatory frameworks and modes of thinking. We read the sign as a 'text', albeit one that may include pictorial depictions, which makes known an underlying reality about the culture of parkour at a particular moment. The sign is read as a correspondence to truth in that we see it as reflecting an objective reality, anchoring key messages which are derived from the inputs of various actors - traceurs, parkour crews, coaches, local authorities, facilities providers - as they have come to reflect and debate the meanings of the activity. Signs are also viewed in explicitly cultural terms, informing us how parkour space is being imagined, how place is made and how cultural meanings are asserted. We also attend to the contexts of the sign, its changing form and content as different iterations of advice and guidance have appeared at parkour parks over time. In this respect, the sign is read not only for its prescriptions of behaviour occuring at the site and how it structures citizenship, but also how it reveals evolving policies and adherences to legal stipulations around permissible risk and safe practice, in ways that can lead to a sharper legal contextualisation of parkour spaces


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