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Parkour, The Affective Appropriation of Urban Space, and the Real/Virtual Dialectic

Authors


Jeffrey L. Kidder, Northern Illinois University, Department of Sociology, DeKalb, IL 60130; jkidder@niu.edu.

Abstract

Parkour is a new sport based on athletically and artistically overcoming urban obstacles. In this paper, I argue that the real world practices of parkour are dialectically intertwined with the virtual worlds made possible by information and communication technologies. My analysis of parkour underscores how globalized ideas and images available through the Internet and other media can be put into practice within specific locales. Practitioners of parkour, therefore, engage their immediate, physical world at the same time that they draw upon an imagination enabled by their on-screen lives. As such, urban researchers need to consider the ways that virtual worlds can change and enhance how individuals understand and utilize the material spaces of the city.

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