2009 volume 27(4) pages 738 – 750

Cite as:
Mould O, 2009, "Parkour, the city, the event" Environment and Planning D: Society and Space 27(4) 738 – 750

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Parkour, the city, the event

Oli Mould

Received 16 September 2008; in revised form 7 April 2009

Abstract. Parkour, or l’art du déplacement, has become widely practised in recent years, with most of its participants (or traceurs) conducting it in urban environments. Studying parkour and those who practise it provides urban geographers with a new and fascinating way in which movement is perceived in the city. Using the theoretical idioms of ‘smooth and striated space’ (Deleuze and Guattari, 1987, A Thousand Plateaus Continuum, London) and ‘the event’ (Badiou, 2005, Being and Event Continum, London), this paper will position parkour as an alternate way of theorising the city as an arena for capitalist versus subversive practices. Moving away from the idea of smooth space incorporating a ‘war machine’, the Badiouian event is a more appropriate lens through which to theorise parkour and its participants’ relationship with the city, in that it embraces a serene ethos of urban rediscovery.

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