Regimes of Visibility in the Global Parkour

Critical Impulses from Morocco

In: Middle East Journal of Culture and Communication
Ines Braune University of Marburg Germany Marburg

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Parkour is often defined through its strikingly visual dimension with breathtaking images of leaps covering amazing distances, recordings of seemingly impossible body movements and flying bodies apparently no longer constrained by gravity. However, the basic idea behind parkour is to find the most efficient or direct path as one crosses from one point to another while overcoming all obstacles using only one’s bodily capacities. No additional tools are used or are necessary. The seemingly weightless traceurs and traceuses (parkour practitioners) run, jump and climb through public and digital space. At the same time, they produce visual footage of their best movements. As in other sporting cultures, such as skateboarding, surfing or climbing, the productions of visual material and the visual representation of the sports practices are interrelated. This hints at an entangled relationship between parkour and media in its various forms and aspects. In the following article, parkour will be described as a mediatized global cultural practice with a focus on established regimes of visibility. The analysis will be conducted from a local Moroccan and gendered perspective and using an ethnographic approach.

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